11 Best Kalimba with Buying Guide 2021

Posted: 2021-10-17

Best Kalimba Poster

Kalimba, also thumb piano, comes from Africa and gets fairly popular nowadays. It usually consists of a body in either resonant box or flat board with several tines fixed on one end. Lots of people like it because it is really easy to learn for beginners with a pleasant sound. Plus, the price for kalimba instrument is almost affordable to anyone.

As an experienced kalimba player, I am keen to share some of my favorite kalimbas for the ones who is planning to buy. There is no best for all. So, I pick great kalimbas aiming at different players with several key number options.

Here we go and see which type impressed you most.

17 Key Kalimba – For Beginners 


GECKO Kalimba

GECKO Kalimba offers this kalimba value for the price. It is made up of mahogany in maroon with quality engraved tines. Coming together with an EVA case and tuning hammer, it is possible to take this adorable instrument to anywhere I like and play whenever I want. Additionally, the learning guide is also available for those who never play kalimba before.

Pro:

  • Gorgeous design
  • Bright and warm sound
  • Trustworthy manufacture with quality guarantee

Jozo Kalimba

Jozo Kalimba has a name for the design. Featured in curved design on both edges, it brings a more comfortable feeling when holding kalimba. In the meanwhile, the natural aid-dried mahogany made up the body in resonant box which enable to apply Wah-Wah sound technique during playing. A carry case is also available for me to take this instrument around.

Pro:

  • Curved design on both edges for a better holding experience
  • Delightful and heavenly sound
  • Digital songbook available upon request

HONHAND Kalimba

HONHAND Kalimba is cool for the price. Again, in mahogany with curved design on both edges, this kalimba is also embossed with letter and number on the tines which helps to navigate among notes. There is a carry case and tuning hammer as well to stretch the fun of playing kalimba outside home. Any beginner can learn to play very quickly with the help of learning guide.

Pro:

  • Cheaper option
  • Classical and beautiful
  • Digital songbook and Online tutorial available upon request

Solid Board Kalimba

Solid board kalimba is unique for the body. Consist of black walnut, it comes with a flat board as the body of the instrument. Due to the variance of the wood, the body can be very gorgeous and classical as a home décor. Given a different vibration mechanism compared with resonant box, the experience of playing this sort is somehow different with a brighter and purer sound. Engraved letters and numbers are also there for beginners to learn quickly.

Pro:

  • Flat board in black walnut wood
  • Gorgeous and classical as a home décor
  • Different playing experience

Acrylic Kalimba

Adorable and beautiful. Shaped in a transparent kitty head, it has become more than an instrument. Every time when I am not that happy, I usually pick this kalimba up and play the melodies that bring me back to a happy mode. It works as if the cute kitty is talking to me through the melodies. lol.

Pro:

  • Flat board in acrylic
  • Adorable and beautiful
  • More than an instrument sometimes

21+ Key Kalimba – For Advanced Players


MOOZICA Kalimba

Best buy for 21 Keys Kalimba given a budget within $50. The well-constructed flat board is from Acacia with a very warm and touching sound that dives into my heart. Fixed with 21 tines starting from F4 to E3 in C major enables me to explore more songs and chords, classical or modern. Sophisticated design on both size and curved edges brings more comfortableness in terms of holding and playing. Plus, there is also a case available to protect the instrument and let me enjoy playing kalimba on the go.

Pro:

  • Flat board in Acacia
  • 21 Keys with more options for songs and chords
  • Care case available to protect kalimba and easy to take anywhere

LingTing Kalimba

Ideal one for a budget a bit over $50. By reputed manufacturer of thumb piano and ukuleles, it understands the music instrument. From black walnut as flat board with carbon steel tines, every single kalimba is unique in wood texture and amazing at the sound. Lightweight and portable, I extraordinarily like to play this in autumn in the backyard. I can feel I am connected to the mother nature. What’s more, an EVA case is also available for this kalimba.

Pro:

  • Flat board in black walnut wood
  • 21 Keys with more options for songs and chords
  • EVA case available

Acrylic Kalimba

I love this for the simple yet everlasting design. Shaped in UFO, it feels like talking to the alien through the 21 well processed tines. Though the heavenly sound fades away quickly, the alien friend may still be able to get this. Packed with tuning hammer and EVA case, it is easy to take this on a trip with family members and friends. By the way, this is also a great stuff for home décor.

Pro:

  • Flat board in acrylic shaped in UFO
  • 21 Keys with more options for songs and chords
  • EVA case available

Oak Kalimba

This kalimba features for 25 keys with the readiness of more diversified songs and chords. Different from other kalimbas, this one fixes 25 tines into 2 layers to ensure the best holding and playing experience. With more notes, I am able to try out lots of new songs and music. It is really a feast for ears though this is also more difficult due to the layout type. At the end of the day, an entirely new experience with kalimba comes from this one. This is highly recommended to those advanced players.

Pro:

  • Flat board in oak
  • 25 Keys with even more options for songs and chords
  • New experience with kalimba

10 Key Kalimba – For Kids


Flexzion Kalimba

The ideal one for kid, for sure. Small and lightweight, kids are more likely to play with zero music knowledge. There are engraved letters and numbers to navigate the sheet music. Less tines means easier learning. The sound is pretty bright and appealing with less efforts to pluck due to the length of the keys. Even the tines on both ends are clear and amazing. Kid definitely will like this as a good starter of instruments.

Pro:

  • 10 Keys for kids and very easy to learn
  • Small and lightweight
  • Fairly good sound

DIY Kalimba

If your kid not only likes instrument but also DIY, this is the perfect match. The DIY Kit has everything ready for making a kalimba. This is a one stop experience from making a traditional African instrument to self-tuning and finally playing. Kid will be better to understand how sound is produced. In the meanwhile, it is also a great time for parents and kids getting together and making a magic happen.

Pro:

  • Making a kalimba by kids
  • Family time and sharing happiness together

Buying Tips


Before you place any order, here are some tips.

  • Right key number for the right one

Given the different ages and levels for the players, the key numbers take an important role.

It could be a big challenge for a 7-year-old kid to play a 25 key kalimba, even under a supervision of the parents.

Normally, less than 10 keys will be fine for kids to start. Adults as kalimba novice or intermediate can pick 15-17 keys while more advanced player is advised to choose 21+ Keys.

  • Pick an appropriate pattern

There are generally two patterns, one as resonant box and the other as flat board.

For the resonant box, it has a louder sound due to amplified effect. We are also able to apply more techniques, e.g. buzzing effect or “Wah-Wah Sound”.

On the other side, the flat board, is more connected to original mbira and has more pure notes, bringing inner peace and fulfillment during play.

  • Get a sort of material you like

Different materials as body of kalimba have great impact on both style and sounds. Wood and acrylic are most widely used.

For wood, there are bulks of options, such as mahogany, acacia, black walnut and etc. They have various styles and produce sounds with respective features. Some woods requests additional cares under certain climates. For example, acacia prefers somewhere less dry.

Acrylic kalimba has a more adorable style while the sound is slightly lighter.

Conclusions


Kalimba is a great gift for kid and adult alike.

When buying this instrument, the core principle takeaway is to pick the right one for the right person.

A fabulous kalimba journey starts from there.

Disclosures

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