What Colors Are Available for Painting Kalimba Tines?

a profusion of possible colors!

A Box Lotus and a Regular Lotus Karimba

Come with me for a moment, to stand behind Hugh Tracey, circa 1952. For years before he began selling his kalimbas, Dr. Tracey worked at perfecting a new kalimba invention, creating over 100 prototypes, experimenting with various design features. When he finally settled on what worked and sounded best for his Treble kalimba, he had really accomplished a tremendous feat. Hugh Tracey kalimbas still look almost exactly as they did in 1954, when he started selling them to the world, and many kalimba makers across the globe copy the Hugh Tracey Treble design. Hugh Tracey’s work is the standard by which modern kalimbas are judged.

One very significant change that Dr.Tracey made to traditional African instruments was to paint every third tine on his kalimba. Why? To help you find your way on its 17 otherwise indistinguishable tines.

Hugh Tracey kalimbas generally come with just RED or BLUE painted tines. But Kalimba Magic offers you LOTS MORE CHOICES...  including BLACK and _______.


Kalimba Magic offers stock colors as well as various custom colors, some available on request. The colors we mix up for individual requests stay around for a while, but eventually that paint will solidify and become unusable. So there is an evolving variety of colors around the shop.  

Of course, we always have the firetruck red and deep blue colors that echo the colors currently being used on Hugh Tracey kalimbas. But we also have white, black, green, yellow, mauve, and sky blue (which was the original blue used on Hugh Tracey kalimbas in the 1960s and 1970s).

Many kalimbas in the Kalimba Magic Shop have a drop-down menu from which you can select the painted-tine color for your kalimba. If you don’t see the color you want, tell us what you’d like in the COMMENTS field in the checkout process. We’ll let you know if we can do that color or not.

And we don’t paint JUST Hugh Tracey kalimbas – we also paint the relevant tines on the new 10-Note and 17-Note Heart kalimbas. Or on Goshen kalimbas when appropriate.

If you are wondering why are some kalimba tines painted (and some not) we have everything you need to know – a couple months back we addressed this in another blog post. Follow the link below to learn the top five reasons why we paint kalimba tines. (And being pretty is not one of them.)

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