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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Great News about Thomas Bothe 2B Kalimbas!

2B/9, 2B/9B, 2B/14, and a 2B/14L are now here! These are the 2B kalimbas that will arrive early in January We’ve been waiting a long time for Thomas Bothe to send us more of his wonderful “2B Kalimbas”, and we have just received a few instruments (January 2016). They are unique in the world, nothing quite like them – check out the video below if you want to know what makes them so special. Thomas Bothe fell ill more than once from breathing the sawdust from paduak wood, out of which his beautiful kalimbas are made. After avoiding it for a while, he has been able to work again, and

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

New Kalimba Magic Tips Series

We are creating a set of Tips to help you find your way on the kalimba We have been making some very valuable tips available, that can help your playing and give you a much richer kalimba experience.  If you have any issues at all with your kalimba – if it has a buzz or it is out of tune, or you are having a hard time learning how to play it – continue reading, and the landing page will link you to the new Tips Series at Kalimba Magic.  In each tip, we will show you exactly what we are talking about, with tablature, photographs, sound recordings or video included.  Many of

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Mahororo – a Shona Mbira Song

Learn to play this traditional Mbira song on Karimba or Alto Kalimba New version features strictly alternating R-L patterns This is my favorite song from the 11 Advanced Traditional Karimba Songs Download. I think you’ll love playing this song as much as I do, and I put together a more accessible version than the original. “Mahororo” could mean “victory”, or it could mean “baboons talking”, depending on who you believe (from Ivodne Galatea’s notes in the instructional download). I recently learned this song, and I shifted the notes down a 5th. I include a video I made of Mahororo “freestyle”, and I am giving away tablature for this song on

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Introducing the Hang-9 Kalimba

Exploring the wide collection of handpan tunings on a simple kalimba The Hang-9 kalimba on a Halo handpan The handpan drums such as the Hang and the Halo are very magical instruments, in large part because of the really cool tunings they come in.   However, they have certain drawbacks – the multi-thousand dollar price tag, the waiting lists, and their inability to change tunings come to mind. The Hang-9 is a brand new kalimba offered only by Kalimba Magic that encapsulates the tunings and note layouts of the handpan drums in an inexpensive kalimba that can be retuned to any of the tunings. The Hang-9 was given this name because

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

TIP: Playing the Scale

For many kalimbas, you play the scale by alternating L-R-L-R and moving outward The alternative left-right pattern required to make a scale is one of the essential movements you can make on your kalimba, and you should learn this!  On the kalimba, scales are not the easiest thing to do because you need to cross over from one side of the kalimba to the other, and you need to do so without loosing your place.  However, there is a trick. By the way, this scale tablature is for the Alto kalimba.  Look at each block ball on the tablature, from bottom to top, and trace down to the note name

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Getting the Most out of Your Alto and Lotus

The easiest way to get the most relevant information for your kalimba Click here to view first page of the Lotus download Announcing new informational PDF downloads for the Alto and for the Lotus.  These PDF files contain live links to all the information you need to keep your kalimba or karimba operating in top order.  Furthermore, each download includes a comprehensive list of the instructional resources available for that instrument.  This download is included with each Alto or Lotus sold. Or you could just download them now! Click on the image and you can see the first page of the Lotus download, or go to the links at the

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

TIP: Stopping the tines

Usually when you pluck a tine, it sustains for about 5 seconds – but you can put a stop to that! One of the charms of the kalimba is how the tines ring clearly and slowly fade away.  You cannot control exactly how long the tone will last, it has its own natural decay, like plucking a strong on a harp.  Playing kalimba is a bit like playing piano with the damper open. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes you want a note to be staccato – ie, played very short.  Why?  Sometimes the music just calls for a short or abrupt note.  Sometimes you need to

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

TIP: Playing Patterns in DIfferent Octaves

An upper octave pattern can be shifted to the lower octave, but it’s handedness is reflected This is something important to understand.  Just because you can play a pattern in one octave doesn’t mean that it will be easy in the other octave, because it will be a mirror image of the other octave’s pattern.  Strangely, your brain may have to totally relearn the phrase in a different octave in spite of the similarities in the music. The insite in this tip – that when you shift a phrase up or down an octave, you need to learn to play the mirror image of the pattern you started with –

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

TIP: Playing the Scale – in Octaves

Because two notes separated by an octave are on opposites sides of the kalimba, you can play them at the same time! The two previous tips illustrated how to play the upper octave G major scale and the lower octave G major scale on the Alto kalimba.   This tip combines the upper and lower scales and plays them at the same time. The upper octave scale on the Alto kalimba goes left – right…. while the lower octave scale goes right – left.  This means that while your left thumb is playing the middle G, your right thumb can play the low G.  When the right thumb is playing the

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