26 June 2016

Kalimba Magic.Com - A Primer

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

A guide to the Kalimba Magic website

Kalimba Magic.Com - A Primer
Just a few of the models we offer at Kalimba Magic, from left to right: Catania 6-Note, Goshen 9-Note Student Karimba, Hugh Tracey Hotshot-11, Hugh Tracey Alto with unpainted tines, and Hugh Tracey Box Karimba

Kalimba Magic is the premier website for information about playing, tuning, and taking care of a wide variety of kalimbas. We also have the largest variety of kalimbas available for purchase anywhere. What follows is an overview of KalimbaMagic.com which describes its major categories, gives some description of each one, and has links so you can get there instantly. Kalimba fundamentals, FAQs, history, how-to-play, the buyer's guide, and a great deal more await you!

Frequently Asked Questions

We have tabulated some of the questions we get the most and put them into a FAQ page. This is a good place to look if you have a burning question, because you might get the answer faster than if you contacted me. Furthermore, you might see some questions that you hadn't even thought of asking that might help you understand the kalimba a bit better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Kalimba Buyer's Guide

Kalimba Buyer's Guide

The Buyer's Guide introduces you to the types of kalimbas we sell and the features they can have. Kalimba Magic sells so many different types of kalimba, it can be a bit confusing if you are new to the game and you don't know what kalimba you want. While there are no hard and fast rules, the guide looks at what you want to do with the kalimba and suggests some kalimbas that are well matched to your desires and skill level.

Kalimba Buyer's Guide

"How to Play" pages for different kalimbas

If you want to learn more about these kalimbas before purchasing - or if you have already purchased one of them, but you need to know more about how to play it or you would like to get a book - check out the Learning Zone pages with tons of detailed information for the following kalimbas:

Kalimba Tablature

Kalimba Tablature

Mark Holdaway, founder and director of Kalimba Magic, has written dozens of kalimba books and instructional downloads, covering most of the kalimbas he sells. These books and downloads can be found in the "How to Play" pages listed above, organized by kalimba. Almost every book and download utilizes kalimba tablature.

What is kalimba tablature? How do you read it, write it, or even make sense of it? The tablature is a map of the kalimba, showing you which tines you need to play to accomplish a particular song. It's intuitive and easy!

Learn about kalimba tablature
KTabS Tablature Software
Kalimba Books
Kalimba Downloads

Fundamentals of the Kalimba

Fundamentals of the Kalimba

One of the most useful pages on the Kalimba Magic website is the Kalimba Fundamentals page. Almost everyone knows that guitars have strings - usually six of them. They know what frets are called, and they may know, in rough terms, how to tune a guitar. But what about kalimbas? Do they have strings or frets, and how do you tune them? This page is a great place to start, because it gets everyone on board with the same concepts (no, the kalimba does not have strings, it has tines - like the tines of a fork or a rake).

But the MOST important information you will find on this page is five methods, presented in detail, for how to fix the dreaded kalimba buzz - an unexpected, unpleasant sound that one or more of your kalimba tines will eventually make. The buzz may be provoked by banging, dropping, or otherwise disturbing your kalimba, but sometimes the buzz seems to appear out of nowhere. Fortunately, once you learn how to fix the buzz, it can disappear just as quickly as it arrived.

Fundamentals of the Kalimba

History of the Kalimba

History of the Kalimba

The kalimba is a very interesting instrument. While most people's kalimbas are relatively modern designs, the instrument actually has a 3,000 year history. And while most music played on them now is somewhere between yoga or New Age music, rock or folk music, there is an extensive repertoire of traditional African kalimba music that was created and evolved sometime during the kalimba's illustrious past.

If you want to learn exactly where the kalimba came from and how ancient and modern kalimbas are related, this is a good place for you to visit.

History of the Kalimba

Thumbnail Care

Thumbnail Care

Some people play the kalimba with pencils or sticks - and I do encourage you to have an open mind and to experiment. But most people play with their thumbs, and most thumb players play with their nails. If you play several hours a day, that is enough to wear your thumbnails down to the skin. If you are experiencing any pain, or even if you are only apprehensive about thumbnails and pain, this is an excellent place to go to read about thumbnail care and protection, based on the experience I have built up over my 30 years of kalimba playing.

Care for Thumb Nails

Keeping Your Kalimba In Tune

Keeping Your Kalimba In Tune

When all is said and done, when my spirit leaves my body behind, I think my most important legacy I leave will be all the kalimbas in the world that are in tune that would have been out of tune had I never walked the earth. A well-tuned kalimba is a beautiful thing that inspires and almost plays itself, while an out-of-tune kalimba can be so bad that you don't even want to touch it.

Tuning is something that most new kalimba owners don't even think about. A well-played kalimba will start going out of tune after a few weeks, and can be badly out of tune after several months - unless you drop it, in which case it can be instantly out of tune. Fortunately, we give you all the help you need to keep your kalimba in tune yourself. We empower and embolden you to take care of this essential kalimba need.

Tuning Your Kalimba

Once you have gained some experience with tuning kalimba, you might even want to explore some alternative tunings, some of which only require retuning a few tines by a half step, yet open up entire new worlds of sound possibilities.

Alternative Kalimba Tunings

The Kalimba Magic Shop

The Kalimba Magic Shop

Put quite simply: Kalimba Magic offers the largest collection of quality kalimbas and kalimba instructional materials ever assembled on this planet, and it is growing and being updated all the time. Yes, this is my life's work and my life's mission - to share the kalimba and its wonders with the world. And the Kalimba Shop is where it all comes together.

If you are not happy with your newly-purchased kalimba, please return it within 30 days and the full price, excluding shipping, will be refunded to you. If you don't like your kalimba and think a different instrument might be better for you, 100% of the money you paid for the kalimba (excluding shipping) can be applied to a different kalimba that you think you might like better.

Kalimba Magic Shop

Coupon Codes for Kalimba Savings

Coupon Codes for Kalimba Savings

I often share my profits with my customers, and the easiest, most pleasant way to do this is by offering coupon codes to give you between 10 and 30 percent off on kalimbas, books, and more. If you click below, you will go to a page with all of the active Kalimba Magic coupons. We try to keep this list of coupon codes up to date. When you are ready to purchase a kalimba, book, or download, make this page with all the current coupon codes your first stop.

Kalimba Coupon Codes

The Kalimba Magic Blog

The Kalimba Magic Blog

About once or twice a month, I put out a series of blog articles focused on the kalimba and how to play it. When each new series comes out, all Kalimba Magic newsletter subscribers will receive an email that provides links to the new blog posts.

The Kalimba Magic blog is all original content, written by the staff of Kalimba Magic, or by kalimba friends and customers whose thoughts, ideas, and experiences are interesting and inspiring. Basically, there is nowhere else on earth that shares this kind of detailed and insightful kalimba information. If you are into the kalimba, this is one of the places on the web you should be coming back to again and again.

Kalimba Magic Blog

If you are really inspired, you will probably want to peruse the archival newsletters, which contain many years' worth of a variety of great information:

Newsletters 2006-2015

Kalimba Magic Tips

Kalimba Magic Tips

I have learned a lot about the kalimba over the years. By now, you understand that I am not just trying to sell you a kalimba - I am trying to sell you on the experiences I have had playing the kalimba. I am trying to make it easier for you to get into a place of joy and wonder and ecstatic music and understanding. I am reaching out to help you get the most out of your kalimba experience.

One of the tools available to you that can greatly heighten and enrich your kalimba experience is the Kalimba Tips, a blog we started at the end of 2015. This Tips blog is like a free kalimba instructional book, often complete with tablature, sound recordings, and video. And even if a particular series of tips is geared toward a kalimba that you don't have, you will always find general principles therein that will increase your understanding and can be applied to your specific kalimba.

Kalimba Magic Tips

Archival Kalimba Tips

Archival Kalimba Tips

Between 2006 and 2012, Kalimba Magic had a "Tip of the Day" and we created a few thousand pages of premium kalimba content.

While the old tips pages were just too numerous to transfer into the new website, they do still exist. All of the great information in the tips - images, mp3 files, or PDF files - should still be there, although some of the internal links in these pages will be dead because our old website is now extinct. The archival tips is a quiet and secluded place to study about the kalimba. It is a fantastic resource.

Archival Mind/Body/Spirit Tips Kalimba Tips for Beginners Kalimba Tips for Advanced Players Various Featured Kalimbas Science Friday and Ian Clothier Tips

Sign Up for the Kalimba Magic Newsletter

Sign Up for the Kalimba Magic Newsletter

Kalimba Magic is the source for cutting edge kalimba ingenuity. We are always creating new tips, new tunings, writing new books and even inventing new kalimbas. Keep up with all these innovations, and read fascinating historical kalimba lore, stories by and interviews of kalimba trailblazers, and find out about kalimba greats and even hear their music by subscribing to the Kalimba Magic newsletter. Once or twice a month, we will send out a lightweight email newsletter with links to the newest blog articles and any special deals and coupon codes that might be available. Have you been waiting for the Chromatic kalimba book to finally be published? Do you want to save 20% on a kalimba? Would you like to keep abreast of the coolest new kalimba models? If so, you know what to do:

Sign up for the Kalimba Magic Newsletter

About the Author

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway has been playing kalimba for over 30 years.  He invented his kalimba tablature in 2004, and has been writing books and instructional materials for kalimba ever since.  His business, Kalimba Magic, is based on the simple proposition that the kalimba is a real musical instrument capable of greatness.  Mark's kalimba books are a down payment on this proposition.

Comments (3)

  • Oman Ken

    Oman Ken

    14 January 2017 at 17:57 |
    Thanks for sharing the music!

    reply

  • Ken

    Ken

    07 February 2017 at 12:11 |
    I received my first kalimba yesterday. While tuning the tines, I pulled one out. How do I put it back in place?

    reply

  • Mark

    Mark

    07 February 2017 at 18:47 |
    Hello - can you go to the CONTACT page and send me your issue there? I will get an email from you, and can reply and ask you for a photo of the issue, and then I'll be able to help you.

    reply

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