Hugh Tracey African Karimba


The two rows of tines on the Karimba are layed out in a centuries-old traditional African system that makes beautiful African melodies pop out easily. This is a close relative to the mbira.

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If you don't select, we'll ship "African A Tuning".  You can learn more about the alternative tunings on the karimba tuning page.
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Do you want an African sound? The layout, the tuning, and the buzzers make this a modern version of a centuries-old instrument. Play this if you want to connect to the genius of ancient Africa.

The karimba is similar to the mbira from Zimbabwe. It has 17 tines organized in two rows, but at first glance the organization isn’t logical. However, as you begin to learn how to play this instrument, you will discover its inherent logic, which especially lends itself to a traditional African sound.

Hugh Tracey African-tuned Karimba.


By the way, Andrew Tracey says that this is closely related to THE ORIGINAL metal-tined kalimba from 1300 years ago.

Listen to these sound clips:

Karimba in African A

Karimba in Western A

Karimba in A Minor

There are numerous instructional books and downloads available for the Karimba.

Learn more about the African-tuned Karimba in the “How to Play” pages.

Additional information

Weight 1.2 lbs
Dimensions 5.5 × 8 × 1.9 in


G minor retuning of trad. African layout.

Yekermo Sew, G minor retuning of trad. African layout.

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.