What is a “Celeste” Kalimba?

The “celeste” models are Hugh Tracey kalimbas mounted on a thin, tapered wooden block, instead of the resonant boxes that the standard Hugh Tracey kalimba models are mounted on.

There are box-mounted traditional kalimbas. The one that I saw was a solid piece of wood that had been hollowed out from the end. But most traditional African kalimbas are a bunch of tines mounted on a solid piece of wood. So the celeste models are structurally more similar to traditional kalimbas than the common box kalimbas are.

Essentially every Hugh Tracey kalimba comes in a box-mounted version and a celeste version. All celeste Hugh Tracey kalimbas have the same body shape and size. That is, the Hugh Tracey Celeste Pentatonic (11 notes), the Celeste Alto (15 notes), and the Celeste Treble (17 notes) all have the same body size. The African tuned karimba is also mounted on the celeste board.

But wait! Kalimba Magic has furthered the Hugh Tracey range of models. We also offer the African tuned karimba… on a box. (There are some important details we consider — for example, not every box is stiff enough to support the highest notes being in the middle, as they are on the African-tuned karimba… or on the SaReGaMa Lotus or Freygish or Air karimbas. So, before we rebuild an instrument as a karimba or lotus, we need to check that the box can support those high notes in the center. Pro tip.)

So: the celeste Treble has the same notes as the box Treble. This means that if you can play one, you can pick up the other and play it immediately. Also, it means that if you have a celeste Treble kalimba, you can buy a Treble book and learn from that.

Similar for celeste pentatonic and box pentatonic kalimbas.

Similar for celeste Alto and box Alto kalimbas.

 

 

 

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