An article second understand “thumb piano”

The thumb harp, which originated in Africa 3,000 years ago, is a kind of tin-plucked vocal instrument.The English name is Kalimba. The Chinese translation of Kalimba is usually played at religious ceremonies or social events in Africa.

It is said to be one of the most popular Musical Instruments in Zimbabwe, as its music is said to drive away evil spirits from the sick and pray for rain.

Sound principle:

The earliest versions were made of bamboo or wood, starting with iron bars about 1,000 years ago.

In modern development, high quality steel has been used to make metal plates, which are shrapnel pieces of different length on the body. The more the shrapnel, the wider the range of sound, and the difference between the quantity and length.

Will make the thumb the range and the high is different, different pieces of metal fixed length on the front panel, the longest in the middle of the instrument, usually shorter is high, in the length of the order placed on both sides, play, with both hands holding a harp, then use two thumbs up to play, when the thumb press release will be vibration and noise of the steel.

17 keys kalimba


The metal shrapnel above kalimba represented his range, and the more shrapnel there was, the wider the range. The range was 5, 8, 10, 15, 17, 20.

Of course, the price is more expensive than other styles. Now 17 notes have become the mainstream, and 5 and 8 notes are almost impossible to find.

As more and more people begin to like the thumb piano, now the keys are basically engraved with phonetic symbols, convenient for beginners to quickly get started.

The scale of the thumb piano is all manually tuned, and the general business will tune it and then release it, but there may be bumps in the road transportation, or you have special requirements on the timbre, you can also use a small hammer to tune out your favorite tone.


Sound box material:

The thumb piano USES wood as sound box, mahogany and acacia wood are more common.

Mahogany: it is a common kind of wood. It has clear wood texture, rich timbre, and good sustain.

Acacia wood: higher density than mahogany, playing sound clear and thorough, sound transmission, more balanced range.

Black walnut: very high density, heavy body, is a relatively high-end thumb piano wood, the price is also relatively expensive.

Non-mainstream wood, such as: red sandalwood, gold nanmu, rosewood, camphor wood, hedgehog mahogany, okuman and so on, not much here



The thumb piano mainly has the box type or the board type.

The box type has a sound box. When the piano keys are plucked, the sound resonates strongly. When the fingers move around the vibrato hole, the sound effect can be wah-wah.The board resonates less, but each note is clearer and brighter, and can be placed inside or above the resonator to increase the volume.

The production process of thumb piano is divided into veneer and board, veneer is a sound box each side is a separate piece of complete wood composition, sound transmission is more complete.Plywood is the panel, side plate and bottom plate from different wood splicing, timbre relative to the full veneer almost.

Full veneer body, made of a natural solid forest.

With people’s demand for playing, the market also began to launch the electric box, which can be connected to the speakers to increase the volume.More suitable for performance or do the thumb piano teaching use.

The thumb piano is small and easy to carry, so you can take it with you when you travel.After entering China in the past two years, it quickly became popular on various social platforms. With lovely appearance and ethereal and beautiful voice, it is easy to learn and not easy to frustrate. It is a very simple entry-level musical instrument.


Post time: Aug-27-2019
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