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Blog
Mark Holdaway

What is the difference between Alto Kalimba, Treble Kalimba, 17-Note Kalimba in C?

In the beginning, there was the Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba. That is true if you only go back to 1954, when Hugh Tracey started to make the 17-Note Treble Kalimba commercially. When I asked son Paul Tracey about it in 2005, he told me that the Alto kalimba was an afterthought, and that the true Hugh Tracey Kalimba was the 17-Note Treble. If you look at the tuning chart below, you will see that the Alto Kalimba actually has a much more logical note layout. In the key of G, it has G on the lowest note (longest tine), and also G on the highest note (shortest tine). It is

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Classical Alto Available as a Download

This collection of 20 well-known classical tunes transcribed for Alto Kalimba has been available as a book for 12 years. Now it is available as a PDF download. The original book did not come with any sound recordings via CD or download. This PDF download has live links to web resident sound files. Click on them, and your web browser will play the song for you to hear how it goes. Once you learn to play the song, you can even play along, Our classical alto ebook includes: New World Symphony (Version 1) Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (Version 1) New World Symphony (Version 2) Brahm’s Lullaby (Version 1) Brahm’s

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Lotus Tuning on the M17 and B17 Kalimbas

What is the Lotus tuning about? This tuning has its own music. Its own musical landscape. You don’t try to learn “I’m Blue” on this tuning. you give yourself to the logic of the tuning and swim within the oceans this kalimba tuning provides to you automatically and for free. Well, not quite for free, because the retuning process takes us about half an hour, and we do charge a small fee for that. But it is worth it – we are experts at rearranging kalimbas, and we will make sure your Lotus-tuned B17 or M17 kalimba is playing at the top of its game.   “Lotus Tuning” was invented

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Pop Music on the Kalimba 17/C

Coming soon! Over 100 pages of tablature, tips, and learning exercises for 11 of my favorite kalimba pop songs, 1973 – 2019.   “I’m Blue” by Eiffel 65.   “Senorita”, by Shawn Mendes.

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

The Magadi Kalimba Jam Set

Buy this set of great, innovative kalimbas for under $200. Great workmanship, great sound, different musical tendencies… but all with compatible scales. Improvising A fantastic way to use kalimbas is to improvise on them. Just make stuff up. The kalimba is like a special playing field that is tilted in the direction of success by removing all the “bad” notes. The remain notes define some space of coherent musical possibilities. Your job as an improvisor is to explore what is possible. If you look on YouTube, you will see thousands of people working on learning specific songs. I am actually one of them. But working on specific songs is to

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

New! The Magadi Star-13 Kalimba

The Star-13 Kalimba is a great blend of cool magic tricks and shear capability. Magic tricks? Try the “wah wah” technique, and the very useful note layout. Do you want to just wave your thumbs around and have cool-sounding music pop out as if by magic? CHECK! Do you want to be able to play the tines with precision and have beautiful arrangements come forth through your careful practice and work? CHECK. Heads up  – I don’t have a book for this kalimba YET, but I will have in about a month’s time. You will be able to find the book and other instructional resources for this kalimba here at

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

New! The Magadi M17 Kalimba

The Magadi M17 Kalimba is tuned the same way as the recent flood of Chinese kalimbas. This means it can play all the same music and read the same books and download. But this kalimba has so much more to give! First of all is the sound quality. Each individual note seems to bask in perfection. Every note is equally loud. The high notes ring clear and true, and so far, every single M17 kalimba has been seemingly perfect, on every note. The next thing to notice is the distance between the tines. It is way more spacious than your typical 17-Note kalimba, which means that it is much easier

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Easter Hymns for the 17-Note Kalimba in C

Beautiful hymns on the kalimba – what more can I say? Heaven! To me, holidays have always been, at their core, about music. The music pervades the essence of the celebration and the ceremony. The music deepens our experience of the numinous moment. And it gives you a great gift that you can bestow on any around you when you can create such beautiful and moving music. That is why I study Christmas carols, and that is also why I learn Easter hymns. This book of Easter hymns is excellent for beginning kalimba players as well as those with more skill, because each of the 12 songs here has both

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

What About the “D Treble Kalimba”? What Book does it use?

  The short answer: the D Treble Kalimba, modified from the Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba, is modeled after the Alto Kalimba, and it “reads” Alto Tablature. Get an Alto Book or Download, and it will work for this kalimba. What do you notice about the kalimba above? The richly grained kiaat wood is an exceptional example of the Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba. It has a 1/4 inch jack and a pickup. And look at the painted tines – the far left and right tines are painted, and three unpainted tines congregate at the low central tines… and one of those tines has a dot on it! Why? Whats up with

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