“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?
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!
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.
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!
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?
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.