The 9 Best Kalimbas of 2022
Kalimba – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
Although little known, kalimbas are sweet-sounding instruments considered traditional throughout Africa. They are also called Mbiras and are made in different ways, so you can choose one that suits your musical style. A kalimba like the Gecko K17MBR comes with a series of accessories that will allow beginners to fully enjoy the instrument. Another model like the Moozica MZCA – K17MBL offers other qualities such as a curved design that gives it ergonomics and a resistant cover that will protect the kalimba from shocks, water and dust.
The 9 Best Kalimbas – Opinions 2022
This small instrument, characterized by producing a sound very similar to that of a musical box, comes in different colors and its structures depend on its respective manufacturer, therefore, getting the best kalimba for you means paying attention to the different characteristics that each model offers.
1. Gecko Kalimba 17 notes in EVA protection box
If you have never played an instrument of this type, the gecko kalimba that we analyze in this opportunity will seem very interesting to you. It comes with everything you might need to start exploring the instrument, starting with a learning guide and an access QR code, which will allow you to view a help video, with which you can check the tuning and take your first steps to play this melodious instrument.
On the other hand, a rigid transport case is also added, which will keep the kalimba safe and protected, as well as a tuner to make adjustments to the sound.
Regarding its appearance and sound performance, it should be noted that it has very good finishes, with a traditional trapezoidal design. Similarly, the kalimba is made of wood that offers a sweet and pleasant resonance, with a varnish that gives the instrument durability, as well as a comfortable touch.
If you are wondering which is the best kalimba in terms of sound and cost, find out more about this model. It could be what you are looking for.
Kit: It is a kalimba that comes with an orientation guide, access to an initiation video and what is necessary to use it correctly.
Sound: The noble wood with which it has been manufactured and its finishes allow it to offer a melodious and sweet sound.
Portability: You can take the instrument everywhere comfortably, thanks to its practical case.
Tuning: Although the kalimba is shipped in tune, you will need to make adjustments in order to achieve a balanced and correct sound.
2. Gecko Kalimba 17 camphor wood keys
Talking about Gecko kalimba is talking about one of the benchmarks in this type of instrument, as we can see in this model. This kalimba has a display of 17 keys, with which to have a good scale and capacity to perform your interpretations.
The manipulation of the keys does not require great efforts, also facilitating the modulation of the intensity of the sound as necessary. All this in a context in which the resistance of the product’s materials will offer you many hours of fun.
A resistance that is also present in the wooden base on which the instrument is built. A body that makes it easy to properly seat the kalimba and that offers an adequate sound when it comes to reflecting the sound of each key. By the way, along with the kalimba, a learning booklet and various scores are sent to start playing immediately.
Enjoy a different sound with this interesting kalimba, from a classic brand on the market.
Construction: Its construction unites high quality materials and has a high resistance during use.
Easy to use: The shape of the keys makes it easy to play any piece with light pressure on the keys.
Scale: The 17 included hammers offer a wide scale and where it is easy to play your favorite pieces.
Scratches: It is important to store the kalimba well when you are not using it, to prevent the wood or the keys from being scratched.
3. Moozica Mahogany Wood Tone 17 Keys Kalimba
With a rather peculiar dark green color, this kalimba stands out from the first moment. Its design is not only beautiful, but also practical, since the structure, made of mahogany wood, has curves on each side so that the grip is ergonomic and the hand adapts better to the instrument. This, in addition to providing comfort, will make playing the kalimba easier. Every detail has been taken care of and, in addition, the instrument has 17 professional quality metal keys with the musical notes they represent engraved on them.
With the purchase of this instrument you will also get some additional accessories that will make your experience much better. For example, the set comes with a waterproof, shockproof and dustproof case to protect the kalimba. In addition to this, you will get the tuning hammer, learning instructions, two thumb protectors that will help beginners, among other things.
Because Moozica is a company specialized in these instruments, some might consider it to be the best brand of kalimbas on the market. Learn more about your model.
Set: This set comes with various additional accessories that will facilitate its mobilization and use.
Curvature: The lateral curvatures allow an ergonomic grip, since the hands adapt comfortably.
Beginners: Beginners will be able to adapt to the kalimba better thanks to the thumb guards and the notes engraved on the metal plates.
Instructions: The instruction manual may not come in Spanish, therefore, this would complicate its reading for some people.
4.Eastrock Kalimba 17 keys
Being made of high-quality solid acacia wood, but not expensive, the Eastrock kalimba has a sound that has been well-reviewed by users. It has a natural appearance of a trapezoidal format, which allows it to be easy to hold in the hands. Its keys, on the other hand, have an ergonomic length, which can be reached comfortably with your thumbs.
In relation to its acoustic qualities, we must mention its soundboard, which manages to provide a moderate echo so that the sound is projected several meters away without using amplifiers. Also, you should know that it is tuned in C major, a scale that matches many traditional melodies.
Another aspect highly valued by users is its rigid case, which helps keep the instrument in good condition and transport it safely. In addition, to make it easier for you to interpret your favorite pieces of music, it comes with note identification on each key.
For those who do not know which kalimba to buy and are looking for a balance between cost and quality, this model could be the one.
Resonance: The shape of its box and the type of materials that make up this kalimba allow it to achieve an attractive sustain effect.
Finishes: It has a beautiful appearance and a soft texture, which provides comfort.
Identification of notes: Each key is marked with its note, to be able to interpret melodies in a simple way.
Contrast of the labels: It would be convenient if the note marks had a higher color contrast, to give a quicker identification of the tones.
5. Lwzko Portable Kalimba Thumb Piano
If you want to have an instrument at hand to relax, wherever you are, this could be the best kalimba for you. It has a really compact format of 6.5 x 5 x 1.5 cm, which fits in any pocket, and its sound is very similar to that of musical boxes.
Its tonal distribution is given by 8 notes, so you will have a good variety of sounds to play some simple melodies on the instrument. On the other hand, it is made with a solid mahogany wood base and steel keys, which will allow proper use for a long time.
Regarding its ergonomics, the keys have rounded edges, to provide greater comfort during execution and, despite being a small instrument, it has a good resonance. Due to this, it will allow you to share your performances with friends and close people without any inconvenience.
Next, we invite you to know a summary of the highlights of this instrument.
Portability: Because it is a very small kalimba, you can take it with you without this meaning any inconvenience.
Uses: It could be a good opportunity for children to get interested in music and develop their skills.
Sound: Given its quality materials, it has a pleasant sound, similar to that of musical boxes.
Tuning: No tool is included to facilitate tuning, so you will have to improvise one.
6. ammoon Kalimba 10-Key Thumb Piano Hawaiian Mbira Sanza
ammoon is a brand that stands out for its cheap instruments, as is the case with this product, which could be considered the best value for money kalimba. Made for learners, this instrument comes with 10 keys that stand out for having musical notes recorded and making learning the kalimba easier.
The model is made of solid Hawaiian Koa wood and the keys are metallic; this combination provides a clear, crisp and sustained tone. In addition, its structure has been designed to give you comfort and an ergonomic touch to play without complications.
The kalimba fits in your hand and weighs only 399 grams so you can move it without making any effort; In addition, with the included transport bag, this will be much safer.
On the other hand, the brand, in addition to this accessory, also includes other accessories such as a tuning hammer and a music book that will guide you through the basic aspects of the instrument.
For a low price you can get a quality instrument like this small model ideal for beginners.
Set: The set, in addition to bringing the instrument, comes with additional accessories to learn and tune the kalimba.
Sound: The warm and soft sound of this instrument will allow you to appreciate each musical note in the best way.
Beginners: Apprentices will be able to learn the basics of the kalimba with this instrument, since the notes are visible.
Keys: Unlike other models with 17 keys, this one only has 10, making it a starter product.
7. ammoon Kalimba 17 Keys Mbira Thumb Piano Sanza
This kalimba has several positive qualities; however, what the ammoon brand wanted to highlight with this model is its exquisite design that comes with a curved pattern in the central part, a golden chain to serve as a handle and a decorative detail on one side in black to contrast. This could also be complemented with the use of stickers to mark and identify the musical notes; a feature especially relevant for apprentices.
However, not only is its design of quality, because the sound is also up to par so that you can enjoy playing the kalimba from the first moment. The product comes with 17 keys made of carbon steel that provide a harmonious, bright and clear timbre; the highs are easily recognized as well as the lows and this is due to the two additional holes located on the back.
This instrument is not among the cheapest options, but it is a beautiful and good-sounding product.
Sounds: Thanks to the rear holes, the sounds are more varied and the differences between the notes are easier to recognize.
Design: Creative decorative details provide a unique design that makes this instrument stand out.
Accessories: With a carrying bag, tuning hammer, stickers, music book and instructions, you won’t need anything else to start playing.
Bag: Unlike other models that come with a protective cover, this product only comes with a carrying bag.
8. True-Ying Kalimba 17 EQ clés gecko
Among the best kalimbas of 2022, you can find this beautiful instrument that balances good design with the sound quality you are looking for. With the sun’s rays engraved in the central area, this kalimba made of acacia wood shows a beautiful contrast between the silver of the mineral steel sheets and the purple of the structure. Its dimensions of 18.5 x 13.5 x 3.5 cm and its light weight also contribute positively, as they make it easier to use and move.
Suitable for beginners and professionals of all ages, the kalimba comes with 17 keys and provides a clear yet harmonic sound for playing all kinds of melodies. This is not only due to the quality of the materials, but also to the extra holes located in the back. To complement the instrument, the brand has included in the purchase a bag, a cleaning cloth, a tuning hammer, stickers, gloves and instructions.
With this instrument you can enjoy a good sound, as well as a creative, outstanding design that you will surely love.
Set: With different additional accessories included in the purchase you will have everything you need to start.
Design: The color chosen for the kalimba stands out and, additionally, the sun that forms with the central hole is a nice and creative detail.
Sound: Quality materials and back holes deliver clear sound.
Instructions: The manual is written in Mandarin and English only, so it will be difficult for someone who has no experience and does not know the languages to understand the instrument.
9. ClothHouse 17 Keys Clear Crystal Kalimba
It is difficult to choose the best kalimba among so many options, however, those who want something unique will be able to obtain it with this completely transparent instrument. It is a kalimba made of ABS plastic that has 17 metal keys that, when played, provide a resonant and quality sound. This is complemented by its patented sound structure that provides a natural vibration, a clean sound due to the triple hole system and a wide musical range for playing different genres.
The product is suitable for both children and adults, and an outstanding aspect is that, regardless of who the musician is, they will be able to benefit from the curved structure on the sides that allow a better, more comfortable and practical grip. The dimensions of 13 x 18.4 x 3.2 cm and its light weight provide easy mobility so you can play the instrument anywhere.
This kalimba will not go unnoticed anywhere, as both its design and its sound will stand out due to its quality. In fact, some might consider it the best kalimba of the moment.
Design: The transparent design is something that makes this instrument stand out from many other models on the market.
Sound: The patented structure provides a very good sound that can also bring to life melodies of different genres with the same quality.
Keys: The 17 keys allow you to experiment with different musical tones. In addition, these are identified to facilitate learning.
Accessories: This instrument does not come with any additional accessories, which differentiates it from other more complete models that come with important accessories.
Mbira, thumb piano or kalimba; no matter what you want to call the instrument, the things you should keep in mind before buying it are the same. In any case, taking the time to look at each option before making a decision will give you the chance to get the instrument that is truly right for you.
Like any instrument, the most important thing is the sound it can provide, because if the product does not produce good music, then it cannot be considered an instrument worth buying. For that reason, when making a guide to buying the best kalimba, sound quality should be the most important aspect.
In the market you can find different models and although they look similar, this does not mean that they all sound the same. In fact, slight changes like key length, material and quantity will make the sounds different.
The longer the plates, the higher the tones, and depending on the manufacturer, this can cause the pitch and musical notes to vary. Most of the time, the notes are tuned below standard C or C major; however, there are other models that have tuning in B or Si, and G or Sol.
Another thing to keep in mind, regarding the keys, is how many come with the instrument. This is because, while some kalimbas suitable for professionals have at least 17 keys, other models made for beginners have 15 keys or less, even reaching 6. This limits their use and, for that reason, they are considered beginner models.
Finally, never neglect the key materials. The main element is metal, however, this is divided into different variations such as stainless steel, unplated and silver mineral, and spring steel. The former is usually correct for basic models, while the latter is best suited for instruments designed for experienced players.
In a comparison of kalimbas, the structure should play a very important role in your purchase decision. Like the keys, the material used by the body of the kalimba also influences the musical quality; however, this design affects not only that aspect, but also the comfort of use and practicality of the instrument.
Although some models use plastic, the main element most used and considered common is wood; however, like the metal of the keys, this too has variations. The most used and recommended is mahogany, although there are others who prefer kalimbas with greater resonance and for this it is necessary to buy a model made of curly maple or Koa wood.
When choosing the desired material, you can look at other design features such as how ergonomic the structure is. In this case, those models that include a curvature on the sides stand out, as this simple detail makes it easier for your hands to adapt to the instrument. If you are more comfortable playing, then it will be easier to do it correctly.
As another highlight, don’t minimize the importance of a good spacing between the keys, because if they are slightly separated, it may be easier for an adult to play the kalimba. To finish, remember that some models come with a soundboard, while others are smooth. The former tend to have a stronger volume, while the latter instruments provide more uniformity. Deciding between one and the other depends entirely on your tastes.
If you focus only on looking for a good and cheap kalimba, you could miss out on higher priced offers, but with more accessories to complement the use of the instrument.
There is nothing wrong with taking into account how much a kalimba costs, however, it is preferable to consider each small element and make a decision based on quantity and quality, before cost. For example, you may find some instruments that are priced a little higher, but come with a tuning hammer and a carrying case.
These accessories automatically give additional value to the product, since they are pieces that you will eventually have to acquire if you do not do so with the initial purchase. At some point you will have to tune the kalimba or take it somewhere, and it is better to be prepared.
In addition to this, if you are a beginner, then it is worth analyzing the options carefully, as you could find some attractive offers, such as instruments that come with music books, stickers to identify the notes and even thumb guards to get your fingers used to. These small but necessary details will make your experience more comfortable and your learning will happen naturally and easily.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to use a kalimba?
Using the kalimba is as simple as pressing each sheet with your fingers to produce the sound. With some time of practice, you will be able to master the art of the instrument, as its operation is one of the easiest.
Q2: How to change the key to a kalimba?
If for some reason it is damaged, then you just need to buy another sheet of metal to replace it. Loosen the screw, take out the old blade and replace it, and retighten.
If you want it to have a different musical note, then you will have to adjust its position and try a tuner until you get the desired sound.
Q3: What is the wired kalimba for?
The kalimba, like most instruments, works without the need to be connected to anywhere. However, if you want to get a resonant sound that can be heard even from a distance, you need to take the help of an amplifier.
Due to this and the progressive fame that kalimbas are gaining, some manufacturers have decided to add a space in the lower part of the instrument to connect a cable and be able to adapt the kalimba to a suitable amplifier for it.
Q4: How to tune a kalimba?
Unlike some instruments that require nothing more than your ability to tune, kalimbas need a small hammer designed for them; that way, you can tune the instrument.
This usually scares some, because it seems that it is difficult; however, tuning a kalimba is really easy and can take less than 15 minutes. To begin with, you must have a kalimba hammer and a tuner; this last element can simply be a mobile application that fits the instrument.
The metal plates of the kalimbas can get out of adjustment over time and, for that reason, with taps you have to take them to the original place to, in this way, achieve the correct tone. The longest plates indicate low tones and the shortest ones high tones.
Play some sheet and check on the tuner that it is in the correct note. If it isn’t, proceed to tap on one end to move the key. Try again until you find the ideal tone and repeat with each key. With this method it is also possible to change the notes of each key completely; that way, you can experiment with other tones and melodies.
At the end, if you feel that any key produces a buzz that interferes with the harmony of the melodies, you can also reduce this effect; For this you have three options: sand the key carefully, add a special paper on it and, if the kalimba is a screw model, you can also adjust or loosen them depending on the case.
Q5: How to make a kalimba?
The kalimba is a small instrument and, fortunately, not very difficult to make at home.
If you want to get started in the world of the kalimba, you just have to get a few cheap materials and you can easily get a homemade version of the instrument to have fun.
To get started, you will need a wooden box that is at least 5mm thick, a drill bit to make a hole, a drill, a saw, bamboo sticks, glue, and some screws.
As a first step, separate the box and work with the lid only; after the whole process you will be able to join the pieces.
Using the drill bit, proceed to open a hole at the bottom. This will serve to give the instrument resonance and the possibility of it sounding correctly.
Use a walnut bar to mark 9 spaces, equally spaced apart. When you are sure it is the correct measurement, drill the holes.
Using a thin saw, cut the bar in two by going through the 9 holes exactly in the middle. Each strip should be thinner and with 9 lines where the toothpicks will go.
At each end of the bars, drill two larger holes for the screws.
Make an identical strip using MDF and place it on the inside. Use glue and nuts to position it. On the other side of the box, you will place the original bars, one on top of the other, and use screws to fasten them.
As a next step, you will need to glue the lid to the box and wait for it to dry.
Loosen the screws to let the sticks through and adjust them to the length needed to get the right pitch. Having them in the proper position, screw them back in to tighten them.
Finally, just try out your new kalimba and enjoy.
Q6: Is it essential to use a hammer to play a kalimba?
No, you just need to have strength in your fingers.
Q7: Where does the kalimba come from?
The kalimba, or mbira, is an instrument that originated in Zimbabwe. However, currently, it is a popular element in different cultures of the African continent.