03 August 2016

2B/9 Kalimbas Available in Sansula Tunings

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements, Tips

Instructional books and downloads are available for: Standard A minor, Heavenly A, Beautiful E, and C Major tunings

While the Thomas Bothe "2B" kalimbas are charming and delightful, they have one major drawback - there is a dearth of instructional materials for them.  This is mainly because each kalimba Thomas makes is an individual, tuned to its own unique tuning, and so it's not really possible to write a book for each one.

I had a great idea about making it possible for people to be taught how to play 2/B kalimbas. The idea came about this way: Over the last 10 years I produced several instructional books/downloads for four different Hokema sansula tunings (a sansula is a special kind of kalimba). While pondering how to make 2/B's teachable, it hit me: why not offer the 2B/9 kalimbas tuned to these four sansula tunings so people could use the sansula books to learn their 2B instruments? So that is what we have done, and below I describe each of the books which can be used with our new "alt" 2B kalimbas.


The largest instructional book of the three belongs to the standard A minor sansula tuning, which sounds like the Japanese Ake Bono scale. When Playing the Sansula was published, it redefined what "book" meant on the Kalimba Magic shelf of instructional materials; it comes highly recommended.   Each year, Peter Hokema orders several hundred of these books to sell with the sansulas he ships worldwide.  And, of course, the 2B/9 can be tuned just this same way - request "standard sansula tuning". 

The first alternative sansula tuning I made was the Beautiful E Tuning.  The Beautiful E Sansula Music Book is a thin book that packs a punch with very beautiful, mostly original music created just for this 9-note kalimba tuning.

The Heavenly A tuning can play a great many well-known songs, and the Heavenly A Sansula Song Book is a good place to study this tuning.

I recently went bonkers for the C Major Sansula tuning (usually a necessary condition for the generation of a book!) and started writing music for it like crazy. Hence the creation of the C Major Sansula Download.

We also have some limited instructional material for "A dur" (A major) and "Bluesy E" tunings.

The 2B/9 can be easily arranged into any of these tunings. What a great way to both learn new music and become conversant with the marvelous 2/B's! See Related Articles, below, for links to the kalimbas, the books, and more.

The media player below plays one of my favorite unique Thomas Bothe 2B/9 tunings - one for which I still need to write some instructional material!  Isn't this tuning charming?  As with most good tunings, the instrument seems to play itself.

About the Author

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway has been playing kalimba for over 30 years.  He invented his kalimba tablature in 2004, and has been writing books and instructional materials for kalimba ever since.  His business, Kalimba Magic, is based on the simple proposition that the kalimba is a real musical instrument capable of greatness.  Mark's kalimba books are a down payment on this proposition.

Comments (2)

  • luc martin

    luc martin

    15 August 2016 at 16:09 |
    i recently bought a Thomas Bothe 2B/9 Kalimbas and i ask you to tune it in Heavenly A Sansula .wonderful....i bought a cheap tam-tam in a flea market an i cut it with a small tilt,i use it with the magnet i also bought the Heavenly A (YOU GIVE ME).the book.i have three more kalimba but this one is my favorite.and in the same time i want to thank you a lot because you open my mind and my soul to african music.
    now i understand why you like this music.
    thank you.


  • Patrick Dezothez

    Patrick Dezothez

    04 November 2016 at 17:35 |

    Just wanted to confirm that I received my Student Karimba today and I was nicely surprised by the quality of the instrument. I was worried because I did not received any email confirming that my order was received, obviously it was well received and processed. Thank you for the prompt delivery.


Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.