KALIMBAS

Kalimbas (Tenor, Bass, and Contra-Bass)

KalimbaTrio1.jpg

Left to Right: Bass Kalimba, Tenor Kalimba, ContraBass Kalimba

 

The Kalimba originated in Africa and fits into a category of musical instruments known as lamellophones.  It consists of a number of tines (or tongues) suspended over a wooden box resonator.  The tines are held in position by a down-bearing lateral bar that causes one end of the tine to be free for plucking.  Plucking is usually performed with the thumbs - a distinction that has lead to the kalimba also being referred to as a thumb piano.  The other ethnic names for this instrument are mbira and sansa.

 

In maintaining the ethnic flavor of the original African instrument, a five-tone (pentatonic) scale is used that is centered on the tonality of D-Minor which consists of the following notes: D, F, G, A, and C.  The pentatonic scale has an amazing property in that there are no wrong notes.  Any combinations of notes or pairs of notes can be played and the music always sounds melodic and pleasant.

 

These modern day kalimbas are high quality, pitch accurate, professional instruments available in standard natural wood or black hammered finish. Optional finishes are available (see samples below), and sport yellow. The tines are buffed aluminum and the resonators are finished with a durable coating.

CCBANTA - Kalimba Keyboard (close-up)

Tenor Kalimba

Specifications

Number of Notes: 11

Range: 2-Octave / D3 to D5 (Middle C = C4)

Scale: D minor pentatonic scale

Tine Width: 3/8"

Height: 2-3/8"

Length: 9"

Width: Tapered from 7-1/2" to 5-1/2"

Amplification:  High-Impedance disc piezo transducer

Connection: 1/4" jack

Weight: 1.3 lbs.

Finish: Natural birch with semi-gloss clear coat*

Cost: $175 plus packaging and shipping

*Inquire about different color and finish options.  Additional charge may apply

TenorKalimba-FrontView.jpg

Audio

CCBANTA-Tenor Kalimba - Scale - Chris Banta
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CCBANTA-Tenor Kalimba - Sample Plucking - Chris Banta
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CCBANTA Tenor Kalimba - Playing by plucking

Playing by Plucking

CCBANTA-Tenor Kalimba - Sample Tapping - Chris Banta
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CCBANTA-Tenor Kalimba - Tapping Resonator Box - Chris Banta
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CCBANTA Tenor Kalimba - Playing by tapping with the finger tips

Playing by Tapping

Amplification

KalimbaPluggedIntoAmp.jpg

Each kalimba comes with a built-in piezo-electric transducer pick-up and standard 1/4-inch jack that allows for the instrument to be connected to an instrument amp, powered mixer, or a studio mixing console.

The amp and instrument cord are not included with the kalimba.

Finishes - Standard and Special Finish Options

1/1

Aluminum Carrying Case Option

A foam-lined aluminum carrying case is available that contains cut outs for two kalimbas.  If two kalimbas are purchased, the case is included at no extra charge.  (The cost for only the case with the foam cut-outs is $75 plus packaging and shipping.)

 

CCBANTA - Two Kalimba Carrying Case

Bass Kalimba

The tenor kalimba now has a companion bass kalimba, typically known as a marimbula.  It is a single octave with the 6-note pentatonic scale (D, F, G, A, C, and D). The lowest note is one octave lower than the low D on the tenor instrument.

Its larger size may be cumbersome to hold and pluck at the same time.  Therefore, marimbulas 

are usually sat upon and plucked.  The box acts like a cajon drum and can be tapped and slapped to add a rhythmic component to the plucking. 

Specifications

Number of Notes: 6

Range: 1-Octave / D2 to D3

Scale: D minor pentatonic scale

Tine Width: 1"

Height: 16"

Depth: 11.5"

Width: Tapered - Top 12" / Bottom 16"

Amplification:  High-Impedance disc piezo transducer

Connection: 1/4" jack

Finish: Natural Birch with Semi-Gloss Clear Coat or Black Hammertone

Weight: 8.5 lbs.

Cost: $275 plus packaging and shipping

Audio

Bass Kalimba - Scale - Chris Banta
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Bass Kalimba - Improv - Chris Banta
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Bass Kalimba - Scale with Mallets - Chris Banta
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Bass Kalimba - Mallets Improv - Chris Banta
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CCBANTA - Size Comparison: Tenor and Bass Kalimbas

Size Comparison:

(L) Bass Kalimba

(R) Tenor Kalimba

BassKalimba-FrontView.jpg

Shown in Natural Finish

Bass Kalimba (Marimbula)

Shown in Black Hammertone Finish

Performing on a Bass Kalimba
Playing the Bass Kalimba with Rubber Mallets

ContraBass Kalimba

Further experimentation has lead to the design of a contrabass version kalimba

The lowest note on the bass unit is D2.  The lowest not on the contrabass is G1 (48.9Hz).  It has 8 pitches: G, A, C, D, F, G, C, D.  This unit is also sat upon to pluck the tines.

Specifications

Number of Notes: 8

Range: 1-1/2-Octaves / G1 to C3

Scale: D minor pentatonic scale

Tine Width: 1"

Height: 16"

Depth: 11.5"

Width: Tapered - Top 16" / Bottom 24"

Amplification:  High-Impedance disc piezo transducer

Connection: 1/4" jack

Finish: Natural Birch with Semi-Gloss Clear Coat or Black Hammertone

Weight: 12.5 lbs.

Cost: $375 plus packaging and shipping

ContraBassKalimba-FrontView.jpg

Shown in Natural Finish

Audio

ContraBass Kalimba Scale - Chris Banta
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CCBANTA Tenor Kalimba | Product Sheet

CCBANTA Tenor Kalimba | Users Guide

© 2018 by Chris Banta
 

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T: (818) 599-8410

CCBANTA - Kalimba Keyboard (close-up)