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Buyer's guide: how to choose what African Kalimba or Mbira suits you

When you are purchasing a kalimba or mbira it can sometimes be overwhelming to make a choice between all the different types of instruments. Every instrument has its own qualities and level of playing that is most suitable for their type and model.

We made this guide to help you decide what instrument might be suitable for you. Eventually, buying an instrument is a choice you make with your heart, so it is important that you listen carefully to yourself when you ask yourself this question: Which instrument suits my level and style of making music best?

If you have any questions or in need of advice, feel free to contact us.

Kalimba Small in C major

You are looking for an instrument to play now and then that sounds good and ideal to travel with:

When you're on the road a lot and do not play every day, this is a good model to have a nice sound while the Kalimba fits well in your bag or suitcase. With the small kalimba in C major, you always have a nice sound on the go.

15-key Kalimba Small in C major
Kalimba in G major tuning

You would like to learn how to play the 15-key kalimba / nyunga nyunga thumb piano:

Starting to play an African Kalimba with 15 keys? Then this is a good option for you: the kalimba in G, with an audiobook with clear explanations and examples of how to make the most beautiful African sounds.

15-key Kalimba in G major + Learn to Play Kalimba book.

You are starting to play the Zimbabwean mbira dza vadzimu:

Then there are two good options for you, the Mbira in B-flat and the Mbira in G. These options are ideal for the beginner because they are not too big and lightweight so you can get your practice hours going nicely.

      Mbira Medium in Bflat           Mbira Medium in G

 Mbira dza Vadimu in B-flat      Mbira dza Vadimu in G

Large mbira mavembe in G

You are an mbira player and are ready for an extra challenge:

The mbira mavembe is an mbira tuned in a minor key. They are played in a different way and with different songs than the major tuned mbira.

Large mbira mavembe in G
Kalimba Medium 19 key F major

You would like play the kalimba but have extra keys to play with:

You like a challenge? How would you like to play on a Kalimba with extra keys and get creative with your songs and solos? For you, we have the 19-key kalimba.

Kalimba 19-key in F major

You are looking for a good sounding, professional kalimba to play with your band, record in the studio or perform on stage:

These kalimbas are perfectly suited for professional use on stage or in a studio. They are solidly made and are comfortable for longer playing hours due to their bigger size and professional construction . Check out the following kalimbas:

            Kalimba Medium/Large in F-sharp                     Kalimba Large in E-flat

Kalimba Large in F-sharp major     Kalimba Large in E-flat major


We at Kalimbashop are dedicated to making and selling quality African lamellophones. All instruments and bags are handmade with love and care.... Read More

Kalimbashop is part of the musical company Juma Drums. More info about our drumming workshops, team building drumming, performance services and drum repair & sales visit the Juma Drums Website