How To Play

How To Play
Mark Holdaway

How to Play the Moon-10 Kalimba

The Moon-10 Kalimba is new sort of Sansula made by Magadi in China. They are high quality instruments, the playing experience ranges from fun to meditative to exhilarating. Available in several tunings, ranging from capable to exotic.

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How To Play
Mark Holdaway

Starting the Journey

“Learning to play kalimba,” says Andrew Tracey, son of Hugh Tracey, who in the 1950’s created and gave the world a kalimba that the western ear could understand, “is best done by learning from someone who knows how to play kalimba.”  But what if you don’t know anyone who plays the kalimba?

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How To Play
Mark Holdaway

The Intuitive Approach

The kalimba is one of those rare instruments that you can play without really knowing anything about music or anything about the instrument.  There are certain “rules of thumb” you can learn, and you can sound really good armed with those and a bit of confidence.

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How To Play
Mark Holdaway

Fundamentals of the Kalimba

If you know very little about the kalimba, start here! We’ll introduce you to  some important things to know about the kalimba, including how to tune it, how to fix a buzz, and what the different parts are called. This is your crash course on all things kalimba!

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How To Play
Mark Holdaway

How to Read and Write Kalimba Tablature

If it matters to you what notes you are going to play – that is, if you want to learn specific songs and want to achieve specific learning, Kalimba Tablature is a very good way to go.  Tablature is a map of the kalimba that shows you which tines to play.

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How To Play
Mark Holdaway

How to Tune the Kalimba

The most important thing you can do to sound good is to keep your kalimba in tune. If anyone tells you that kalimba tuning doesn’t matter, don’t believe them! Tunings were passed down in African villages from generation to generation. Of course, it is easier if you use an electronic tuner!

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How To Play
Mark Holdaway

How to Care for Thumbnails

For centuries, kalimba players have grown their thumbnails long to help them play for hours without pain.  But what if you don’t have that kind of thumbnail?  Read and learn! Alaska piks are an easy pain free alternative… or have you tried super glue on your nails?

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How To Play
Mark Holdaway

How to Play 17-Note Kalimbas in C

The most popular kalimba in the world right now is the 17-Note Kalimba in C, made by several brands in China. We don’t have the full “How to Play” page for this kalimba, but I can point you to our extensive collection of books and downloads.

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Hugh Tracey 8-Note Kalimba
How To Play
Mark Holdaway

How to Play the 8-Note Kalimba

Are you a beginner who wants to play western music?  This kalimba is a great place to start, and works well for kids as young as 6 years old, but is also a reasonable place for an adult to start.  There are also alternative tunings from around the world available for the 8-Note.

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