Top Kalimbas – Guide & Comparison
Getting a new kalimba instrument to explore your sonic personality might not be an easy thing to do, given the many products available for sale. To ease your shopping process and help you find the best kalimba model for your needs, we have examined some of the most appreciated products in this line and their features. The first option that we think you might want to consider is the Gecko 17 Keys Mahogany. The instrument features a quality mahogany body and steel bars that will help you cut a fine figure from both a sonic and visual point of view. The unit is designed to deliver superior outputs and comes with a learning booklet to help you master it. The pack also includes various accessories so you can get started right away. Should you be unable to find this product, a reliable alternative is the Unokki Beginner & Professional Kit.
Our Top Choice
Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced player, this model is an option you might want to consider as it comes with quality materials that will help you create beautiful sounds for a long time. Thanks to the various accessories included in the pack, you can use the unit as soon as you receive it.
The stickers included in the pack are not cut out, a task you will have to take care of yourself.
Boasting a quality mahogany body and steel bars, this kalimba is committed to producing soothing sounds even if you employ it frequently. It is coupled with various accessories including a study book.
Including everything you need to start playing right away, this kalimba pack is worth considering. The instrument features a mahogany body and steel keys that ensure bright and clear sounds as well as durability. The unit boasts a stylish design and is both lightweight and small for comfortable playing.
The pack does not include a learning book; it does come with tuning instructions, though.
Exploring the sonic potential of a kalimba is an enjoyable process with this model, given the product’s lightweight and compact design. The keys have numbers and letters engraved for easy learning.
In case you’re interested in superior sound quality as well as a stylish build, this product is an option that shouldn’t be ignored. The quality materials used were carefully crafted, so you can enjoy an instrument that ensures beautiful sounds and nice visuals. The unit is coupled with various accessories.
The instrument might be a better option for beginners than for more seasoned kalimba players.
Featuring a stylish body and quality materials, this kalimba will provide you with hours of beautiful and soothing sounds. Due to the accessories included, you can use it as soon as you get it.
10 Best Kalimbas (Updated Reviews) in 2020
With so many kalimbas available for sale, identifying the right one for your interests and skill level might prove to be a time-consuming task. To help you make your decision with greater ease, we have compiled below a list of kalimba reviews. Check it out to learn more about some of the most appreciated models.
- 1. Gecko 17 Keys Mahogany
- 2. Unokki Beginner & Professional Kit
- 3. Honhand 17 Keys Thumb Piano
- 4. Moozica Mahogany-K17MB
- 5. BinDor Kalimba & Tuning Hammer
- 6. UNOKKI 17 Keys Thumb Piano
- 7. TimberTunes Engraved Kalimba & Accessories
- 8. TRSCIND Kalimba & Study Guide
- 9. Helesin KOA Mbira & Protective Case
- 10. Donner DKL-17 Kalimba
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Gecko 17 Keys Mahogany
Featuring quality materials that promise to last and deliver superior sonic outputs, this kalimba from Gecko is a model both beginners and professionals will appreciate. The unit features a quality mahogany body as well as ore steel bars that together will help you give shape to your creativity and do so beautifully.
Rest assured that this is a choice you will be happy with even if you’re a beginner as the pack includes a learning book with easy-to-follow steps as well as a book with kalimba songs. Moreover, the portable note stickers included will help you master this instrument faster.
To make sure you can use the unit right away, you will also receive a tuning hammer, a cleaning fabric, a thumb piano bag, and a quality waterproof protective case that will keep your instrument safe when not in use or when you’re traveling. What’s more, this model comes tuned.
Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced kalimba player, this model is an option you might want to pay attention to as it comes with noteworthy features that promise to deliver superior sounds.
The mahogany body and the metal bars will help you explore your creativity beautifully and do so for a long time.
The instrument comes tuned; however, if it feels like it has gotten a bit out of tune during transportation, you can easily take care of that with the tuning hammer included.
The instruction book and song book provided will help you learn the basics of the instrument and gradually advance your skill.
To help you protect the instrument when traveling, the pack also includes a waterproof case as well as a cleaning fabric.
You will have to apply the note stickers yourself, a process that might be a bit tedious, especially because the sticker does not come cut out.Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.99)
2. Unokki Beginner & Professional Kit
Whether you’re a beginner or a more seasoned player, this kalimba kit might be cut out for you as it includes everything you need to start playing the instrument right away. The kalimba musical instrument included in the pack features a quality mahogany body and steel keys that will help you produce clear and bright sounds.
The instrument was designed to make it comfortable for you to play; therefore, it is small and thus easy to handle and the keys are bent down for safe playing. For extra protection when practicing, the pack includes finger covers.
To make it easier for you to learn the ins and outs of this instrument, the keys are engraved with notes and letters. The instrument comes with various accessories including a polishing cloth, a tuning hammer, and a cloth bag. Moreover, the instrument is beautifully engraved and will thus add a touch of style to your performance.
Built with both beginners and professionals in mind, this kalimba kit will help you discover the sonic potential of this instrument and do so immediately upon arrival as it includes all the items you need.
The instrument sports a solid wood body and metal tines that will result in bright and clear sounds as well as remarkable resonance.
The keys are bent down to make it safe for you to place and thus protect your fingers and are engraved with notes and letters for faster learning.
The materials used promise to last whereas the accessories included in the pack will enable you to start playing as soon as you get it.
The beautifully-engraved body will also add a touch of style to your practice sessions and gigs from a visual point of view.
The unit comes with instructions regarding tuning; therefore, if you want more instructions on how to play this instrument, you might have to buy a book separately.Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.98)
3. Honhand 17 Keys Thumb Piano
If you’re on the lookout for a kalimba that sounds the way it looks, this model shouldn’t go unchecked as it comes with a stylish design and materials that promise to deliver superior sonic results. The high-quality mahogany employed is not only durable but also appreciated for its sonic properties.
Furthermore, the box design ensures strong resonance as well as full and lasting sounds. To make sure that practicing for hours will not get you tired fingers, the unit features bending keys. The engraved notes will help you learn the instrument faster whereas the curve design will further boost your comfort.
What’s great about this model is that it comes with several accessories that will help you start right away. You will thus get a tuning hammer, finger covers to protect your fingers when playing, a canvas shoulder bag with an adjustable strap for easy transportation, and an instruction book, just to name a few.
Including everything you need to start playing right away, this kit is worth adding to your list of options whether you’re a beginner interested in exploring this instrument or you want a memorable gift for your dear one.
The kalimba included sports a mahogany body and a box design that together will help you create full and lasting sounds.
The keys are not only engraved with notes to help you learn with greater ease but are also bent down so you can play for hours without your comfort being affected.
The canvas shoulder bag included in the pack has an adjustable strap so you can easily transport the instrument.
Thanks to the instruction book and the various accessories provided, you can start practicing right away.
The product is advertised as a starter kalimba; therefore, if you are a more advanced player, it might not meet your needs.Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.5)
4. Moozica Mahogany-K17MB
Creating sweet, melodious sounds while adding nice visuals to your performance is what you get to enjoy when employing this kalimba from Moozica. The solid mahogany used ensures deep yet bright and warm tones that will help you express your sonic personality whereas the steel keys will complete the beautiful sounds produced.
Thanks to the hard case included, you will get to easily transport and store the instrument. What’s more, the case is waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof. To help you discover the potential of this instrument, the pack includes an instruction book as well as music scores.
The instrument also comes with a tuning hammer, finger protectors for comfortable playing, a cloth bag, and a vibrato chain. The unit is not only committed to providing you with beautiful sounds but also to enhancing your performance from a visual point of view as it sports a stylish blue body and curved design.
If you’re looking for a kalimba that will deliver warm tones while adding a touch of style to your gigs, this unit might be right up your alley.
The instrument features quality mahogany and steel keys that will work together to produce bright and deep sounds.
The pack includes anything you need to get started right away; you will thus get a tuning hammer, an instruction book, finger protectors, a cloth bag, and a vibrato chain.
For easy transportation and enhanced protection, the instrument comes with a waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof case.
The steel keys are engraved, so you can learn to master this instrument faster and with greater ease.
The stylish blue design and high-gloss finish will add to your performance from a visual point of view as well.
The notes engraved on the tines are a bit hard to see and the blue design might have a greenish tint in reality.Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.99)
5. BinDor Kalimba & Tuning Hammer
Built with solid mahogany wood and featuring ore steel bars, this unit is committed to helping you produce clear sounds and do so comfortably. The materials used will not only create warm and full tones but will also keep up with extended use.
To make it easier for you to master this instrument, the phonetic symbols are laser-engraved. Furthermore, the unit has a groove design for comfortable playing as well as triple sound holes that will help you express your sonic creativity with greater ease. The beautifully-carved pattern around the front sound hole will add nice visuals to your performance.
The kalimba comes with several accessories that will enable you to start using it immediately upon arrival. You will receive the instrument, a tuning hammer, a cleaning cloth, finger protectors, red and green stickers, and an instruction manual. What’s more, the pack includes a cloth bag for easy carrying.
Designed with quality materials that ensure durability, this kalimba is an option you might want to consider if you want to give shape to your personality through its warm and full tones.
The instrument boasts high-quality mahogany and steel keys that promise to help you employ this unit for a long time.
The engraved phonetic symbols and the instruction book included will make sure that learning to play this instrument is an easy task.
To make sure that extended practice sessions won’t affect your comfort, the unit sports a groove design and comes with silicone finger protectors.
Thanks to the various accessories included in the pack, you can start using the instrument right away; moreover, you won’t have to buy them separately, which makes the bundle a convenient option.
Given the product’s dimensions, it might be a bit difficult for someone with large hands to use it; it is thus a better option for users with small or thin fingers.Buy from Amazon.com for ($31.99)
6. UNOKKI 17 Keys Thumb Piano
Ideal for beginners and advanced players alike, this kalimba from Unokki is a model you might want to take into account before hitting the order button. The product was built with high-quality materials that promise to create beautiful sounds and do so for a long time.
The instrument thus features a quality mahogany body and metal keys that together will help you express your creativity beautifully. The keys are bent down in order to ensure comfortable playing and protect your fingers. What’s more, the keys come with engraved notes, so you can learn to play your favorite songs with greater ease. However, you will also receive red and green stickers.
Thanks to the various accessories included, you can start playing right away. You will get a tuning hammer, silicone finger protectors to keep you comfortable even when practicing for hours, a cloth bag for easy transportation, a cleaning cloth as well as instructions.
Whether you’re new to this instrument or you’ve already gained some experience, this model is an option you might want to pay attention to as it comes with quality materials that promise to last and create beautiful sounds.
The mahogany body and metal keys are committed to creating warm and full tones for a long time.
The keys are bent down in order to ensure comfortable playing and the notes are engraved on the keys for easier and faster learning.
Due to the various accessories included in the pack, you can start using the product immediately.
The bag provided ensures easy transportation and the instructions included will make sure that the learning process won’t be difficult.
To further boost your comfort when playing and protect your fingers, the instrument comes with finger protectors.
The bag provided is a cloth model; therefore, it might not protect the instrument fully during transportation.Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.98)
7. TimberTunes Engraved Kalimba & Accessories
Producing harmonic or rhythmic sounds is a pleasant and comfortable experience with this model from TimberTunes as the instrument was designed to deliver superior sound quality without hurting your fingers. The keys are bent down and feature engraved letters and numbers for easy learning.
The kalimba boasts a mahogany body that will help you create soothing and clear sounds for a long time. The compact and lightweight build makes it ideal even for kids or when traveling as it won’t take too much space. What’s more, the pack includes a velvet bag for easy transportation.
If this is your first kalimba, then this bundle is ideal as it includes the accessories you need to start using it as soon as you receive it. You will thus get a tuning hammer, thumb protectors, a cleaning cloth, and an instruction booklet to help you discover the potential of this instrument with greater ease.
Including a quality and stylish kalimba as well as several accessories for a complete experience, this kit is worth taking into account if you want to explore the sonic potential of this instrument.
The unit comes with a mahogany body and metal keys that will help you produce soothing and warm tones.
For easy learning, the keys sport engraved letters and numbers; moreover, they are bent down to make sure your fingers don’t get hurt when you’re playing.
The unit measures 6 x 7 x 2 inches and weighs only 1.15 pounds, which makes it ideal even for kids and easy to add to your travel gear.
To make it even more comfortable for you to transport the instrument, the pack includes a stylish black velvet bag.
The unit requires tuning and, if you have no previous tuning experience, the process might be a bit tedious at first.Click to see the price on Amazon!
8. TRSCIND Kalimba & Study Guide
Designed with ease of use in mind, this kalimba model is committed to helping you create soothing sounds comfortably and do so for a long time. Thanks to the quality mahogany employed for the instrument’s body and the metal keys featured, the item will help you produce clear sounds.
The product was designed for beginners and advanced players alike; therefore, it comes with engraved numbers and letters on the keys for easy learning in case you’re new to this instrument. Furthermore, the pack includes a study guide to make sure that exploring this instrument is an enjoyable task.
The unit also promises to appeal from a visual point of view as well and thus features a stylish finish and a nice elephant and rhino carving. The product is lightweight and small, which translates into easy transportation and storage. The various accessories included in the pack will help you use it immediately upon arrival.
Boasting a stylish design and nice carving, this kalimba was built to create soothing and warm tones and withstand extended practice sessions.
The solid wood body and metal keys promise to produce beautiful sounds and provide you with a comfortable experience even if you play for hours as the finish is soft to touch and the keys are bent down.
To further simplify your learning process, the pack includes a study guide as well as letter and number stickers.
The instrument measures 8.2 x 6.7 x 2.7 inches and weighs only 11.4 ounces, which means that adding it to your travel gear won’t be difficult; moreover, it can be used even by kids.
The bundle also includes a tuning hammer as well as a linen bag for easy transportation.
The wood might have an unpleasant smell at first but it should vanish gradually.Click to see the price on Amazon!
9. Helesin KOA Mbira & Protective Case
Whether you need a new kalimba for kids or adults, this model is worth paying attention to as it was built with quality materials that will help you create warm and clear sounds. The instrument features quality koa wood and steel keys, which means that you will get to produce high-quality sounds and employ the unit for a long time.
The keys feature engraved numbers and letters for easier and faster learning. However, the pack includes note stickers to further simplify the learning process. The small yet lightweight design allows for easy transportation and comfortable playing.
To make sure the instrument is safe during transportation, the pack also includes a waterproof case that will protect the kalimba from moisture, scratches, and impacts. You will also receive various accessories for a complete experience such as a tuning hammer, a cleaning cloth, and a manual.
Paired with various accessories, this kalimba model is committed to helping you express your personality through bright, clear, and warm sounds.
The unit features quality koa wood that will contribute to the beautiful tones and resonance delivered as well as steel keys that will keep up with extended use.
The keys feature engraved numbers and letters to help beginners learn the instrument with greater ease; however, stickers are also included in the pack.
Thanks to the hard protective case, you can safely and easily transport the instrument from one place to another.
The unit is also lightweight and small, which means that you can handle and carry it comfortably and that it can be used by kids as well.
The pack includes several accessories that will enable you to start practicing right away.
The unit needs to be tuned before use as it might get easily detuned after transportation.Buy from Amazon.com for ($24.98)
10. Donner DKL-17 Kalimba
If what you want when it comes to your new kalimba is a comfortable and durable instrument that will help you create soothing sounds, this unit is worth adding to your list of options. It was built to deliver high sound quality and withstand countless practice sessions and gigs.
To deliver such benefits, the instrument features solid mahogany, a type of wood that is often used for such products thanks to its sonic properties and durability. The item also comes with steel keys that are bent down in order to make playing safe and comfortable. What’s more, this model has triple sound holes, which means that you can get even more creative.
The DKL-17 kalimba comes paired with a tuning tool, a user manual to ease your learning process, and a bag for comfortable transportation. The item weighs only 1.05 pounds and measures 9.1 x 7.4 x 3.1 inches, which makes it easy to handle and carry.
Built to last and deliver soothing sounds, the DKL-17 is a kalimba model you might want to consider whether you’re new to this instrument or you’ve already gained some experience in playing it.
Thanks to the solid mahogany employed for its body and the metal keys featured, you can rest assured that using this instrument for a long time won’t be a problem.
To ease your learning process, the keys come with numbers and letters and the pack also includes a user manual.
Ease of storage and transportation is ensured not only by the product’s lightweight and compact build but also by the bag included in the pack.
The keys are bent down to make your playing experience safe and comfortable even if you use the item for hours.
This kalimba model has only one scale, which limits the player’s possibilities and requires frequent tuning.Buy from Amazon.com for ($29.5)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
Also known as thumb pianos, kalimbas are small musical instruments that create warm and soothing sounds. If you’ve decided to test your musical capacities with such an instrument, yet you don’t know where to start, this buying guide might be of help.
Since there are many affordable kalimba models available for sale, it might be a good idea to keep the following key features in mind to ease your shopping process. Reading a kalimba review of the product you’d like to purchase before hitting the button order is also recommended.
Types of kalimbas
One of the first things that divide kalimbas into different categories is their body type. You will thus find kalimbas that come with a solid body or a resonator box. This aspect will impact the way the instrument sounds. While kalimbas that feature a resonator box deliver more volume, solid-box kalimbas are quieter, yet the volume they ensure is more even across all notes.
Solid-box kalimbas are also lighter and smaller but the ones featuring a resonator box are usually smoother and varnished. You will also see that kalimbas are further divided into several categories depending on their shape. You will find a variety of shapes ranging from parabolic to coconut shapes.
Also, the market offers both acoustic and electric kalimbas. If you intend to be serious about playing this instrument and you want to use it for live gigs, an electric kalimba might be a better option.
Body and tine materials
Since kalimbas are musical instruments, the materials used and the way they were crafted will have a final word to say when it comes to the sounds produced. The most common material used for tines is steel, yet you may see that there are variations of steel in the product’s description.
Then, some kalimbas come with aluminum alloy tines since this material is softer than steel. The choice of material here counts a lot as far as the sound, tonality, volume, and ease of playability are concerned; therefore, it is always best to try out a kalimba before you buy it. You can thus hear the sounds it produces and find out if it’s what you want.
The wood used for the body of this musical instrument holds great importance as it has a significant effect on the resonance. The most common types of wood used for kalimbas include mahogany, koa wood, maple, and bamboo. Think of how much resonance you want and choose accordingly. As a general rule, the harder the wood used, the greater the resonance delivered.
Tuning and accessories
Another highly important feature you need to consider when it comes to your next kalimba is the tuning. A kalimba requires frequent tuning, especially if you use it daily. Plus, if you want to experiment more and put the instrument into a different tuning to try different sounds, you will need to tune it even more frequently.
Make sure that the kalimba you want to buy includes a tuning hammer and a tuning chart to help you with that. Also, consider the accessories provided with the instrument. Some bundles are more affordable than if buying all the required accessories separately.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What type of instrument is a kalimba?
Also known as an African thumb piano, a kalimba is a musical instrument that features a body usually made of wood and metal tines. The number of metal blades ranges from 7 to 17. However, the most common models come with 15 or 17 keys.
These thin metal keys are mounted on a soundboard and have various lengths to create different notes. The player needs to hold the instrument with the fingers and strike the end of the metal keys with the thumbs in order to produce the desired sounds and songs.
Q: Is Kalimba easy to learn?
Besides the soothing sounds a kalimba produces, another reason why this musical instrument is so popular is related to how easy it is to learn to play it. Creating sounds that are similar to the ones produced by a traditional music box, the African thumb piano features a simple design that allows for people of all ages to learn how to play it with ease.
The players hold the soundboard and cover the vibrato holes with their fingers while plucking the keys with their thumbs. What’s more, kalimbas are generally lightweight and small and thus easy to handle.
Q: How do you tune a Kalimba?
To tune a kalimba you will need a tuning tool, yet even cheap kalimba models come with a tuning hammer. Also, if you’re new to this instrument, you will need a simple tuning app to make sure you tune it properly.
If you want to lower the pitch, attach the slotted end of the hammer to the tine of interest on the side that is facing away from you and tap lightly. In case you want to raise a note, just place the tuning hammer on the playing side of that tine and tap it lightly.
Q: How many keys are on a kalimba?
Most kalimbas available for sale these days feature 17 tines. However, some models can have 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, or 15 keys. The difference between 15-tine and 17-tine models is not that significant, yet the extra keys make a great addition if you want to experiment more.
Beginners usually go for a 12-tine or 15-tine kalimba. Models that have fewer tines such as the ones with 7 or 8 keys are mainly used for relaxation and creating soothing sounds rather than for playing songs. If you’re interested in getting more creative and play various songs, then a kalimba sporting 15 or 17 keys is ideal.
Q: How do you play the kalimba?
Use both your hands to hold the kalimba and place it with its tines facing you. Keep your thumbs on its top side and wrap the other fingers behind the instrument. The kalimba can also be placed on a flat surface. Use your thumbs to hit the tines and thus play different notes.
For a progression of notes, just alternate between your thumbs. To produce a chord, hit 2 adjacent tines with a thumb. You can then combine chords and single notes to produce songs or even create new music.