How to play Kalimba?

- Apr 06, 2019 -

Kalimba is an awesome and easy to use instrument from Africa. Kalimbas is usually made of wood and has a long metal rod that gives a high pitch when pulled out. If you want to play kalimba, you need to make sure to tune first. You can then create your own melody by playing a single note and chord. Once you get used to playing the instrument, you can learn how to play the song by reading the score.


Download or purchase a tuner

Before you play kalimba, you have to make sure it is tuning or not sounding right. You can download a simple tuning app on your phone or buy a digital guitar tuner. Once you have the tuner, turn it on and place it next to your kalimba.

[1]Popular tuning applications include VITALtuner, Cleartune and iStrobosoft.

[2]You can buy a guitar tuner online or at a music store.


17 Key Koa Kalimba African Thumb Piano


See the kalimba key map to determine the correct comment

The tines are long metal pieces that extend from the top to the bottom of the kalimba. Most kalimbass will have a key chart that outlines which notes correspond to which notes, and some kalimbas even have notes engraved on them. If you don’t have a key chart, look online for a chart that matches your kalimba.

(1)For example, if your kalimba has 8 tines, look for a tuning of the kalimbas with 8 tines.

(2)Beginner kalimbas usually comes with 8 notes or 8 tines.

(3)The more advanced kalimbas has 12 notes or 12 tines.


Click on the center fork to see the notes on the tuner

Find the center fork and pull it off with your finger while looking at the tuner. The fork should vibrate and the notes should sound.

(1)Tines is like the key on the piano.

(2)On most 8-tooth kalimbass, the center tooth will be a C note.

(3)The center note is usually G or C on a 12-tone kalimba.


Turet the rest of kalimba

Repeat this process for the rest of kalimba according to the key chart to ensure that each tooth is in adjustment. Once you have positioned all the tines in the right position, your kalimba should be adjusted and ready to play.



Edit by Bonni

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