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Blog
Mark Holdaway

TIP: Using the How-to-Play Pages

Each kalimba we sell has its own How-to-Play page. What can you expect from these pages? Inside the “How-to-Play” category, there are 20 sub-categories.  Several of these are general subjects that are applicable to all kalimbas, such as “Fundamentals of the Kalimba”, “Thumbnail Care”, and “Tuning”.   We also have 13 categories dedicated to information about different kalimbas.  This tip tells you what information you will find on these pages. We have a great series of resource pages for many kalimbas, including the Alto, Treble, Chromatic, 6-Note, 8-Note, 12-Note, Sansulas, Pentatonics, African-tuned Karimba, Student Karimba, SaReGaMa-tuned Karimbas, and more, and you can see all of these in the How to Play pages. While the structure of each instrument’s

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

TIP: Learn KTabS – Kalimba Tablature Software

KTabS is a powerful Windows program that takes a lot of the guesswork out of writing tablature Writing down music for kalimba can be tricky, and for a newbie to music, overwhelming.  A fabulous alternative to writing out a song by hand on blank tablature involves simply clicking the notes into a tablature template, using Windows software program KTabS (Kalimba Tablature Software). One key advantage of KTabS is that when you click on a tine to add a note, you will immediately hear the note that tine is tuned to, so you know immediately if it is the right note or the wrong note. Similarly, once you have clicked five

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

TIP: Free Blank Kalimba Tablature

Kalimba Tablature is a powerful way to save your kalimba ideas Tablature is an alternative to staff notation. Kalimba tablature is intuitive and easy to read.  We provide blank tablature PDFs for 8-Note, 11-Note Pentatonic, 15-Note Alto, 17-Note Treble, and 17-Note Karimba.  You can download them for free, print them out, and write notes on them detailing the kalimba riffs you make up.  And if you don’t understand the rules for tablature, we can help with that too! Before we get into the blank tablature, you might want to brush up on the rules of tablature. The tablature is a map of the kalimba’s tines, stretched out from the bottom

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

TIP: Know your kalimba’s tuning

A kalimba’s “tuning” is the set of notes the tines are tuned to In order to keep your kalimba tuned correctly, you need to know what its notes are supposed to sound like.  An experienced player will know the sound of each note on their kalimba by heart, and will either know which note each tine should be tuned to, or will be able to figure this out quickly.  What if you are not an experienced player? This tip connects you with dozens of possible tunings for a dozen different kalimbas. Your tuning is probably here. The rest – becoming an expert – is up to you!  To maintain the tuning

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Using the 6-Note Songbook on Any Kalimba

If you are having difficulty finding your way around a big kalimba, step back and simplify Left: numbers for “C tuning” songs. Right: numbers for “5-tuning” songs. If you would like to play specific songs on your kalimba but you don’t know where to start, or if you feel you haven’t really connected well with your kalimba, you might want to consider getting the 6-Note Pentatonic Song Book. Here is a remarkable fact: if you have a big kalimba with lots of notes, you may very well be able to use the instructional material from a kalimba with fewer notes, but you need to know which tines map into the

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Playing SaReGaMa’s Lotus and Freygish Karimbas Together

Three tines need to be retuned on the Freygish Karimba The SaReGaMa-tuned Karimbas are one of the coolest developments in the kalimba world in recent years.  This article shows you how to make the Lotus-tuned Karimba and the Freygish-tuned Karimba sing together! You are listening to a Box Lotus-tuned Karimba on the left and a Freygish-tuned Karimba on the right, with a guitar in the middle.  The Freygish Karimba is playing mostly lower notes and supporting harmonies and rhythms, while The Lotus Karimba is playing higher, the box gives it a brighter tone, and the playing is more melodic. I was walking through the Arizona desert last summer with my

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

TIP: Straight Left-Right Playing and Syncopation

You can syncopate by leaving out notes The easiest thing to do when you play kalimba is to set up a regular rhythmic pattern, alternating right-left-right-left (or the opposite), but this will not result in syncopation.  Here is a quick changeup you can make to this regular pattern to create some great syncopation. This tablature shows a sample pattern on the Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba, but you can do this sort of pattern on any kalimba at all. Feel free to change the exact notes. In Measures 1-3, we establish the alternating right-left pattern, and Measure 4 changes the pattern to make a “bookend”, indicating both that the pattern is over, and that the whole

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Learn to play the “Kalimba Solo for Lotus”

Tablature and Staff Notation for the Entire Song Click to go to the Lotus Solo product page Thousands of people have been wanting to learn to play SaReGaMa’s “Kalimba Solo for Lotus” on the Lotus Karimba, and if you are one of those people, I’ve got good news for you. In 2009, New Age musician SaReGaMa celebrated the birth of his daughter, Lotus.  At night he would play her to sleep with improvisations on his Hugh Tracey Karimba.  The Karimba had started out its life in a traditional African tuning, but by the time it got to SaReGaMa it had fallen out of its original tuning, and he began to invent new tunings.  After

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