Hokema B17 Mini Kalimba


17 top quality German-made tines mounted on a sturdy wood body. All the notes have an even sound, and the notes sustain for several seconds. And while many 17-Note kalimbas have muffled sounds on the top few tines, the B17 and B17 Mini have the clearest sound on the top notes of any kalimbas I have played. Like playing golden honey on a sun-shiney day.

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The Hokema B17 Mini Kalimba is much smaller than the B17 Kalimba. The tine spacing is almost the same as the typical 17-Note Kalimbas in C, but there are two slight gaps in the tines where the pressure bar is held down by the screws. Slightly wider than the typical C/17, but shorter. BTW, the body of the B17 Mini is the same body as the B15… but with all narrow tines, and all on one level (at least in the standard tuning).

But here is the main pitch: the Mini-17 Kalimba feels and sounds great, as sweet and as resonant an instrument as you will find. But when the Mini-17 is tuned to one of the alternative two-level tunings – like one of the karimba tunings, or one of the SaReGaMa tunings – those two slight gaps between the tines just go away!

The B17 Mini has 17 narrow top quality tines mounted on a sturdy wood body. All the notes have an even sound, and the notes sustain for several seconds. And while many 17-Note kalimbas have muffled sounds on the top few tines, the B17 Mini has a very clear sound on the top notes. Like playing golden honey on a sun-shiney day.

The 17 notes start on middle C and cover just over 2 octaves in the standard key of C major. This is the same tuning as the ubiquitous 17-Note Kalimbas in C that have been coming out of China since 2017… meaning that all the instructional resources available for the other 17-Note kalimbas are also available for this kalimba, if painted in the 6-tine painting system.

Also available in alternative tunings, including Karimba and SaReGaMa tunings. If your desired tuning isn’t available, request that tuning in the customer notes form during checkout.

These kalimbas arrive from Germany with unpainted tines. The three C tines are marked with a single dark etched line about 1 cm from the playing tip, and the two tines with the leading tone B are marked with a double etched line. By default, this kalimba will ship to you unpainted. You can opt to get it with 6 painted tines just as we suggest in th eKalimba Magic books. OR you could choose to get the 5-painted tine system to use other instructional materials online. These painted tines will assist you in reading the tablature in the books and ebooks, but if you don’t want to get the tines painted, you can color the relevant tines with Sharpie marker, nail polish, or with decals… all removable options.

If you are more adventurous, you may want to get the B17 Kalimba in an alternative tuning. The Middle Eastern tuning has an excellent instructional manual, and you will most likely be able to accomplish the Middle Eastern tuning on your own (three tines are retuned by just a half step – should be easy?).

Playing-wise? This kalimba will last your entire life. The tine mounting system is solid and these kalimbas will hold their tune longer. The tines will last also, and the solid American cherry wood body is massive. Smooth with superior sound. It does not have access to the wah-wah affect as it is a solid body, but the even frequency response makes this sound more like a celeste or music box.

Additional information

Weight 1.6 lbs
Dimensions 6.9 × 6.9 × 1.8 in


The Hokema B17 Mini Kalimba has the same 17 notes as most common kalimbas… so you can read any book for the “17-Note Kalimba in C”… but here, I show you what Kalimba Magic can do with these kalimbas – turn them into karimbas!

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. See answered questions.