How to Make a Mbira From a Fish Tape

- Mar 22, 2019-

Making the Tines

Use the wire cutter to cut seven lengths of steel fish tape, each about 3 1/2 inch long. These will be the tines for the mbira.Put on the safety glasses. Grasping the end of one of the tines with pliers, heat the other end with the butane torch so that the last 1/4 inch is cherry red.Place the red hot end of the tine on the anvil and pound it with the hammer until it is flat. Allow the tine to cool. Repeat this process with the other six tines.

Smooth and round the rough edges of the flattened tines with a grinding wheel.

Insert the tines over the two pieces of wood glued to the top and under the piece of wood with the screws. The flattened ends of the tines should point toward the sound hole. Tighten the screws until the wood piece they're attached to holds the tines firmly in place.

Arrange the tines in a fan shape, with the wide side of the fan facing the sound hole. Tune each tine by pushing it in toward or pulling it away from the wooden holder. The longer the overhanging portion of the time, the lower the note; the shorter the overhanging tine, the higher the note. Mbira tines are traditionally arranged with the longest tine in the center, the shortest tines on the outside, and the four other tines at intermediate lengths.

17 Key Koa Kalimba African Thumb Piano


The heated tines will grow very hot; always handle them with pliers until they have completely cooled. The red-hot ends of the tines may throw sparks as you beat them flat. They will also throw sparks as you smooth them on the grinding wheel. Always wear eye protection for these steps. Operation of a butane torch is a fire hazard. Use extreme care while heating the tines and extinguish the torch as soon as you are finished.

Edit by Hodor

Height Musical Instrument Co.,ltd