the Linear Kalimba – a modern, tuneable Mbira
Starting in 2015, I have developed this new type of kalimba, which I call a Linear Kalimba because the notes are ordered ascending from left to right, with the tips of the tines all in one line. My aim was to give it more musical possiblities than traditional kalimbas.
- left to right ordering of the notes makes it easy to play melodies or chords – you are no longer just guessing which notes to play
- playable with the fingers (as well as thumbs)
- fast and easy retuning of the tones makes it possible to play in any scale
- more volume and bass sound
It has 17 notes, 2 and 1/3 octaves from C3 – E5. The layout of the notes is similar to a piano keyboard, and the standard tuning is like the white keys on a piano. But each tone can be re-tuned individually in a few seconds, without losing the linear layout. So you can play in any scale you want; traditional major or minor scales, arabic scales, pentatonic or more exotic ones. And re-tuning is very easy and fast: you lift the tine and simply slide the support of the tine in or out (as shown in the video).
It has a sound box with a semi-floating soundboard and is much louder than the older chromatic kalimba. On top of that, it has a piezo microphone built-in, so it can be hooked up to an amplifier or effects.
The soundbox is constructed from bamboo; the tines are made of spring-tempered steel. The instrument is 47 cm wide and weighs around 6 kg. The instrument comes in a sturdy box.
Here’s some playing on the instrument. More videos on my YouTube channel.
The price of the linear kalimba is 478 Euro for customers in the EU. Shipping in the EU costs around 25 Euro. The price for customers outside of the European Union is 435 USD plus 64 USD shipping. Please send me a message if you are interested in this instrument.