Learn to Play “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” on Kalimba

Get Free Tablature for 17-Note Kalimba in C

Click for free 4-page PDF tablature download for this song

You may very well know that right now, the most popular kalimba video in the world is by Acoustic Trench, playing “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” (made most famous by Elvis Presley in 1961) on an alternatively-tuned 17-Note kalimba. Trench’s tuning made a bass scale, going from the center to the far left – and a treble scale, going from the center to the far right. He played melody on the right and accompaniment on the left.

Well now – let’s just say that right now you are sitting in the catbird seat, because you have choices. You can learn to play the song in this alternative tuning; or you could learn to play it in the generic tuning for the 17-note kalimba, where both thumbs are involved in playing the melody.


This hard copy book serves as a great overarching introduction to playing the 17-Note kalimba. It includes discussion about your kalimba’s tuning, how your tines should be painted, your kalimba’s parts, thumb nail care, fixing buzzes, special playing techniques, kalimba tablature, several helpful playing strategies, chords and arpeggios, a few songs, how to add harmonies and accompaniment to simple melodies, alternative tunings, the history of the kalimba, additional kalimba resources, and blank tablature. Sound files are accessible by a special URL or a QR code. 32 pages.

Book: 44 Beginner Songs for the 17-Note Kalimba in C

Finally! A hard copy 62-page book with downloadable MP3 files for each song! This is the exact same material as the 44 Songs download. This is a great way to learn to play the 17-Note Kalimba in C. Contains children’s songs, “Shenandoah,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Ode to Joy,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “God Bless America,” “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and much more.

Visit Product Page

The video that is playing automatically when you load this page is me, on a standard C-tuned 17-Note kalimba. In 2018, this kalimba type (minus the painted tines, and minus the heart-shaped sound hole – both are my additions) will be the most-sold kalimba in the world. You don’t need the heart-shaped sound hole, but you might want to consider marking your tines to assist you in learning this song. I use protective enamel paint, but Sharpie markers are a convenient, non-permanent way to mark the tines.

I Cant Help TABIf you click on the tab (tablature) image to the left, you will get the free 4-page PDF download of tablature for my version of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” for the 17 Note kalimba in C.

By the way, this tab will also work for the ALTO kalimba (ignore the note names and the outer two tines on the tab) and the Bb Treble Kalimba.

The tablature download’s first verse is “melody only” – most of the busy notes you see in the example tab to the left are accompaniment notes. The “melody only” tab means that even if you are a beginner, you should have fair success with the melody. That will better prepare you for the version of the music in the video, which is reproduced pretty well by the tablature.

There are two big differences between my version of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and the one that has had over 10 million views. First, mine is in 6/8 time, which I think has a much sweeter feeling; and my version plays not just the verse, but also the break.

But hey!  If you want to play that version, and you want a kalimba in the alternative tuning like the one used by Acoustic Trench, we can accommodate that request. We sell a kalimba in a setup very similar to Trench’s alternative kalimba – called the Mbira-Style kalimba. And “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” is already in the download that comes with it for free. Links to these products can be found at the bottom of this article, or click on the photo below to get the download.

So, which way do you want to go?

Click to get the Mbira Style Treble Kalimba’s 50 page download ($10).


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