Kalimba / thumb piano

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Project by Eddie G posted 157 days ago 686 views 2 times favorited 7 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 Robert Renick thank you for providing a quality base for a special gift for my baby sunshine.

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

7 comments so far

View BigDaddyO's profile


101 posts in 1362 days

#1 posted 157 days ago

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.


View PaulDoug's profile


496 posts in 288 days

#2 posted 157 days ago

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


547 posts in 2647 days

#3 posted 157 days ago

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 2333 days

#4 posted 157 days ago

Looks good. Did you dye the wood green?

-- Roger Gaborski,

View Eddie G's profile

Eddie G

24 posts in 159 days

#5 posted 156 days ago

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: 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 and tell Robert Ed sent you… Thank you all for the kind words.

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

View tefinn's profile


1197 posts in 1022 days

#6 posted 156 days ago

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


6456 posts in 1618 days

#7 posted 156 days ago

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


-- COMMON SENSE Is Like Deodorant. The People Who need It Most, Never Use It.

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