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Kalimba / thumb piano

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Project by Eddie G posted 02-04-2014 03:01 PM 976 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are pics of the latest project I made. It’s a kalimba or thumb piano. I made it out of flamed maple. The rosette is a broach I found at goodwill and cut the clasp off the back. I installed a simple piezo pickup with volume and tone making it electric. I went to the local music shop and got an old clarinet case for $8. Took out the guts, cut some scraps to fit the kalimba and covered it with new felt from jo-Ann’s fabric. This I made for my daughter Isabella’s 13th birthday present. I took it in to the music shop to show the owner and he held it up and said “if Fender made KALIMBAS”. Turned out pretty good. Sounds beautiful. And Bella liked it. Enjoy. The wood and keys came as a kit from www.kalimbakit.com Robert Renick thank you for providing a quality base for a special gift for my baby sunshine.

-- Ed G., Hillsboro, Oregon, U.S.A.





8 comments so far

View BigDaddyO's profile

BigDaddyO

118 posts in 1522 days


#1 posted 02-04-2014 03:22 PM

wow, very nice. I have been thinking about making one of those for my kids for a while. Though, i don’t think mine will look that nice.

-- www.bigdaddyoworkshop.com

View PaulDoug's profile

PaulDoug

620 posts in 448 days


#2 posted 02-04-2014 03:59 PM

Beautiful! Can you post w video of it being played? I’ve never seen an electric on before.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View drbyte's profile

drbyte

587 posts in 2807 days


#3 posted 02-04-2014 04:00 PM

Beautiful job on a beautiful instrument. Love these things. I may have to electrify my next one. Broach was a great idea!. What kind of wood did you use for your bridges? Keep them coming!!

-- Dennis, WV

View Roger Gaborski's profile

Roger Gaborski

144 posts in 2493 days


#4 posted 02-04-2014 09:50 PM

Looks good. Did you dye the wood green?
Roger

-- Roger Gaborski, http://www.gaborski.com

View Eddie G's profile

Eddie G

37 posts in 319 days


#5 posted 02-05-2014 11:37 AM

The bridge wood was just pine dyed black. There is a brass rod imbedded in the bridge so the wood is really inconsequential. I did dye the green with the first coat blue then lightly sanded to give the grain depth. Here is a video of an electric kalimba: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4y_vf_tbdnI My daughter has the one I made and I will take a video of it played when I can. As I stated previously, go to www.kalimbakit.com and tell Robert Ed sent you… Thank you all for the kind words.

-- Ed G., Hillsboro, Oregon, U.S.A.

View tefinn's profile

tefinn

1220 posts in 1182 days


#6 posted 02-05-2014 09:55 PM

Very, very nice! Sure beats any others I’ve seen before.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View Rick's profile

Rick

7279 posts in 1777 days


#7 posted 02-05-2014 10:51 PM

Very Nice Project Indeed! Beautiful Work! Thanks For Posting!

Rick

-- How long is a Minute? That depends on which side of the Bathroom Door You're On!

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1743 posts in 1172 days


#8 posted 12-11-2014 08:29 AM

A very popular instrument in Northern Rhodesia, almost every fifth person walking about had one of these Kalimba’s only thing they were made with ‘bush materials’ a hard gourd was usually the sound box with roughly carved wood key holders and the metal keys tightly lashed on with telephone wire. The people would play them constantly as they walked along their journey through the winding paths from one village to the next.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

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