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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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