Dave BellingerBellinger Electric F-15 Karimba (Nyunga)The F15 Bellinger Nyunga is a high end electric kalimba. The notes are the same as the mbira nyunga ..
Product #: BELL_F15_Nyunga
Regular price: $399.00
The F15 Bellinger Nyunga is a high end electric kalimba. The notes are the same as the mbira nyunga nyunga, making this an instrument that plays traditional African music. The design features make this instrument a joy to hold and play.
Sound Clips of the Bellinger F-15 Nyunga
How do the acoustic and electric sounds of the F-15 Bellinger Nyunga compare?
The acoustic sound has much more treble, but also seems to be a bit brittle. The sound through the pickup is a little darker with a bit less of the buzz.
This track includes 3 short clips: acoustic, electric (pickup), and combined acoustic and pickup
Acoustic sound of the F-15 Bellinger Nyunga.
Sound of the F-15 Bellinger Nyunga's Pickup
The tuning of the Bellinger F-15 Nyunga
Design Features of the Bellinger F-15 Nyunga
Superbly designed Tine Attachment Mechanism
One of the most important aspects of any kalimba design is: how well are the tines attached to the resonant kalimba body? Tines on traditional mbiras are attached with several wires twisted tight to hold the bridge down. Hugh Tracey patented his design for the "Z" bracket method of attaching the tines firmly. In the photo you can see the sturdy and elegantly simple tine-attaching hardware on the Bellinger eKalimba. It is very tight, and will reduce the need to adjust tine tuning. Also, note how the tines have been very accurately cut to length, so the top ends of the tines neatly line up. Any tightening or loosening of tine hardware bolts must be accomplished with a metric hex wrench.
The tines on the Bellinger kalimbas are very smooth and are a pleasure to play.
Check this out! That "L" bracket is firmly attached to the bridge, and it transmits the vibrations directly from the bridge to the electronic pickup.
By the way, after playing my personal Bellinger Nyunga for a few months, I noticed an unpleasant buzzing sound when I played acoustically - it was because the bolt that attaches the "L" bracket to the black disc of the pickup had come a bit loose. I tightened it about 1/4 of a turn with a metric hex wrench, and the acoustic buzzing went away.
Jack on the Back
The series of dashes at the top of the photo here is actually the top ends of the karimba's tines. The top of the instrument is also where you plug a 1/4 inch guitar cord into your kalimba. Note that this pickup does not need any phantom power, so you can just plug this into a guitar amplifier, effects processor pedal, looper, or your PA system.
The first thing to note about the Bellinger F-15's buzzers is how light, gentle, and warm they sound. In large part, this is because the buzzers are little tiny bits of metal, hardly any larger than a staple. The buzzers are kept on the tines with a bit of tight, clear plastic tubing. If you want to remove the buzzers, remove the tubing and they'll come off. But if you just want less buzzing, choke up: push these plastic tubing bits closer to the bridge. If you want more buzzing, pull the tubing down to allow the buzzers to travel more on the tine. (So you see that Dave Bellinger's word play on "graphic equalizer" here is accurate - these little stoppers can make some big changes in the sound of your instrument.)
If you want to quickly reduce the amount of buzzing as you are playing, play with the head of your kalimba tilted down, and the buzzers will not travel much away from the bridge, giving a purer sound to the instrument.
Gorgeous Cherry Wood Body
The lovely cherry board on Bellinger karimbas is also heavy. This instrument weighs 19 ounces as compared to the Hugh Tracey African-tuned karimba which comes in at 10 ounces.
See the Bellinger F-15 Nyunga In Action
I have been enjoying looping many songs from the Nyunga repertoire on my personal Bellinger F-15 Nyunga.
In the video below, I create a loop with a single repitition of the basic part of the traditional song Shumba Panzira. This music stays on the lower row notes. Next, I play and record a second nyunga part that interlocks with the first layer I recorded. With the two interlocking parts playing in the looper, I solo on the upper notes of the F-15 Nyunga. This sort of African karimba music gave rise to an African guitar style ubiquitous in modern African pop music.
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