How to care for your kalimba so that it lasts a long time

The kalimba is a musical instrument typical of African culture, and is increasingly popular with musicians and instrument collectors. Although the kalimba is a musical marvel, it does require a little maintenance to ensure it lasts a long time. In this article, learn how to care for your kalimba so it can accompany you on your musical escapades for years to come.

1. Always keep your kalimba clean and dry

The first thing to do to ensure a long life for your kalimba is to keep it clean. Take a look every time you play and make sure there's no dust, greasy fingers, dirt or the like. A fine layer of dust can climb into the key rings and build up over time, which can lead to metallic sounds and prevent the pins from performing. Use a soft cloth to clean your instrument from time to time, and make sure it's well sealed and clean inside its case. Although many kalimbas are waterproof, excess moisture or humidity can cause damage to its body and stems. If you travel a lot, make sure your instrument has a quality case and always keep your kalimba away from moisture.

2. Tighten screws and replace broken rods

Your kalimba's rods can be easily damaged by the vibrations and stress you exert while playing. After a while, you may notice that some rods are too tight or loose. Every month or quarter, check the tension of the rods and tighten or loosen the screw if necessary. Also, if a rod breaks, you'll need to replace it. If you don't want to do it yourself, you can always find an experienced luthier who will be happy to help you replace it.

3. Get a new set of steel rods

A great way to extend the life of your kalimba is to get a new 'set of steel rods. These rods are made of quality steel and have a richer, brighter metallic sound. They are more durable and can even last for years, depending on how you use them. Having a new set of steel rods can extend the life of your instrument and allow you to use it for longer.

4. Always use suitable release agents

Some instrumentalists like to have more control over their sounds. They add friction or bellows to the rods to control their speed and musical tone. This is fine, but keep in mind that if you use them, you must take care to remove any friction or bellows when you're not playing. These can build up over time and cause damage to your instrument. Be sure to remove friction and bellows after each use and keep them in a safe place to avoid losing them.

5. Store your kalimba when not in use and always use a protective case.

When you're not using your kalimba, be sure to store it in a clean, dry place, and it's best to use a case to protect it from dust and dirt. Cases are also very useful if you need to transport your kalimba, as they protect it from knocks and drops and can help extend its life. The last thing to do is to play your kalimba correctly. Try to be cautious and careful with the instrument, and not to force the rods too much, which could lead to stress and breakage.


By following these tips, you'll be able to properly maintain your kalimba so that it lasts a long time. Steel rods are harder