Instruction manual for the Chromatic Kalimba
For users of the chromatic kalimba, here are some instructions and tips:
Included in the package is a small accessory that might be helpful when tuning: it is just a small piece of metal that you can use to push the tines that you tune from the back. I mention it so that you don’t overlook it, it is wrapped in a piece of paper.
Important: Don’t pick up the instrument from the holes in the soundboard! The soundboard rests for the most part on just a strip of rubber and is not designed to take a lot of force. This allows it to vibrate freely and generate a lot of volume for the instrument. Always use the handle in the front to pick up and carry the instrument.
The chromatic kalimba should be kept in an environment that is not too dry. If you live in an arid climate, or use permanent heating, make sure you keep the air a bit humid, by using a humidifier, or even a bowl of water in the room.
Occasionally you might have to tune a tine. This is not difficult and it takes me about 20 minutes to tune the whole instrument. You tune a tine by pushing it in to raise the tone, or pulling it out to lower it. At the same time I wiggle the tine a little bit from side to side; this makes it easier for the tine to slide in and out. I use a keyboard with a sine wave as a reference, but you could also use an app or online reference tone.
The instrument is rather sturdy and as long as you don’t drop it or knock the tines, it will stay in good shape. For the bamboo case, I use plain, reddish-colored furniture oil. Neutrally-colored oil will work fine too, perhaps something like teak oil. You only need to use a small amount.