Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Building a Gourd Resonator or a Gourd Kalimba:
Tuning Up

After the gourd and face have set together, and the glue has dried for about a day, you need to get the tines in.

This is an experimental process. Try to see how short you can make a tine and have it still sound good. Also consider the longest tine. You don't have to span that entire range, but you can. If you have room for lots of tines, then you could use a diatonic scale. If not, try a pentatonic or a scale where the intervals between adjacent notes in the scale are larger.

BE INTUITIVE. Listen to the notes that the kalimba is telling you to tune it to. Trust your own deep inner wisdom, and that you will be able to hear what the kalimba wants and doesn't want.

Tine material? Always a problem! Bobby pins are cheap and actually work better than a lot of things. You can order industrial spring steel at McMaster Carr. They also are a source of T-nuts, bolts, whatever hardware you need for your kalimba. But your search for the right spring steel for the kalimba may take you to more exotic solutions.