Whether you’re looking for an additional unique instrument to add to your collection, or you need the perfect charming tone for your new track, the kalimba is an all around great instrument for the task. Before we get started, you should know that kalimbas are known by many names including thumb pianos & mbira. Adding kalimba to your new track could mean the difference between an outstanding hit, or just another b-side. Traditionally, kalimbas are gripped with two hands, and each thumb is used to pluck with the metal tines attached to the surface. Now that we’ve got a better understanding of the instrument, let’s take a look at the 5 best kalimba for beginners and kalimba buying guide on the market today, but first.
Developed in ancient Africa, the kalimba is a well known instrument that continues to be played today. When used properly, the kalimba can add an otherwordly charm, the likes of which your audience may have never heard.
kalimba buying guide
If you are in the market for a kalimba, you need to know what to look for. There are a few key qualities every beginning kalimba player looks for including:
- A deep and resonant sound
- Rich sustain & durable wood
- A comfortable & sturdy feel
- An affordable price
Now that you know what to look for in a kalimba, it is time to go shopping. Here are five of our favorite kalimbas for beginners.
Best Kalimba For Beginners
M Y Fly Young Finger Piano (Kalimba Mbira Likembe Sanza) Thumb Piano 10 Key Light Yellow
The M Y Fly Young 10 Key Finger Piano – Kalimba is a perfect instrument for anyone. Due to the simplistic design of the kalimba in general, almost anyone can pick it up, and start making great sounds right away. The wood itself is pine, with aluminum bars and rods used to generate sounds. The M Y Fly Young 10 Key Finger Piano – Kalimba is a highly affordable, and highly sought after kalimba because of it’s design and sound quality. The natural raw wood look makes this kalimba fit in with any collection of instruments.
In general, this is a fantastic instrument for singing accompaniment or during story telling to empathize a certain passage. It’s also a great kalimba for traveling because it is so easy to carry, since it was designed this way.
Luvay 10 keys Finger Thumb Piano African Instrument Mbira Kalimba
This portable palm sized Kalimba can be taken almost anywhere, whether it’s the staple of a new musical group you’re forming, or you need to use it from time to time during your band jams sessions. The Luvay 10 keys Finger Thumb Piano is affordably priced, making it ideal for someone who is wondering what the Kalimba can do for their sound, but doesn’t want to break the bank.
The body is made of pine wood, and the keys are aluminum, so you know this little instrument will stand the tests of time. If you don’t like the red that’s pictured here, the device also comes in beige, and in our opinion both variations look fantastic.
It’s easy to see why so many people choose the Luvay kalimba over some alternatives. However, if the Luvay 10 keys Finger Thumb Piano African Instrument is not exactly your style, keep reading because we’ve got many more options below.
Andoer 10 Keys Birch Finger Thumb Piano Mbira
The Andoer 10 Keys Birch Finger Thumb Piano Mbira is another excellently priced mini thumb piano. For the price you get an easy to carry, smooth surfaced, nicely polished, and a very beautifully elegantly designed product from Andoer.
The best thing about this kalimba, and so many others, is that you can pick it up and create beautiful melodies in no time. Kalimba’s are a beautiful aid when it comes to melody creation on a new project.
Customers on amazon have reviewed it as a ‘great kalimba for the price’, and ‘adequate for their needs.’ There are several 5 star reviews, which as you know, is no easy task with modern customers, so I’d take their word for it. Simply put, we want the best!
Thumb Piano, Large by Mid-East
First up is the Thumb Piano, Large by Mid-East. This is a great authentic looking kalimba option including 17 steel keys, and two vibrato holes on the back of the instrument to add extra depth and nuance to your playing. The best thing about this kalimba is that you’ll never need to buy another one, this instrument has it all.
When played alone, the size of the kalimba creates a very nice ambiance sound, something that is harder for smaller kalimbas to achieve. Also, if you want to jam in a group with this kalimba, you can adjust the tuning by moving the steel keys closer, or farther away from you. For one thing, this kalimba has a beautiful aesthetic, and looks about as traditional as any kalimba can look.
In our opinion this is well worth the price for the steel keys and real rosewood.
X8 Drums X8-CT-KLB Coconut Kalimba Thumb Piano
The X8 Drums X8-CT-KLB Coconut Kalimba Thumb Piano is probably the most unique kalimba on our list, which is why we saved it for last. If you’re looking for a truly one of a kind instrument, then this coconut kalimba is the way to go. It even features a gecko carving right on the front of the mahogany wood, so you won’t have to worry about mixing up your kalimba with a friends.
The unique thing about X8-CT-KLB is that it is made of an actual coconut, so you’re getting a wonderful sound that resonates in a special way compared to other kalimbas on the market. The outside keys play higher notes, and the longer inside keys play the lower. Like other kalimbas, you can adjust the sound by tightening or loosening the two screws found atop the kalimba.
This highly portable, highly fun instrument will have you creating melodies you never knew existed.
Kalimba’s are a beautiful ancient instrument that should be preserved as we move forward into the all digital era. If you need that extra unique sound to push your recordings to the next level, then the beautiful analog tone of a kalimba might be exactly what you’re missing.