How to play the kalimba for beginners: the basics of the instrument

The kalimba is an African musical instrument that has become very popular around the world in recent years, because of its exquisite, melodious sound and because it's easy to learn and play. This guide will help beginners learn the basics of the kalimba and start playing the instrument in no time.

Know the kalimba

The kalimba is a keyboard instrument consisting of 17 metal blades mounted on a box called a "gusli" or "toumbi". Each kalimba blade is available in different tones and intervals, producing different notes when played. A good kalimba can be expensive, but there are many affordable options that are perfect for beginners.

Learning notes

Before you start playing the kalimba, you need to learn the notes on the instrument. Kalimbas can vary in terms of the number of notes, but most models have 17 notes numbered from 1 to 17. You can find kalimba diagrams on the Internet that will tell you which notes correspond to each number.

Learning to play

Once you know the notes of the kalimba, you can start playing. It's important to remember that you should always play each note softly and slowly for best results. Use your middle and index fingers to play the notes, and remember to wiggle your arms to create accents. It's also a good idea to use a metronome to keep the rhythm and play in harmony.

Developing your skills

Once you understand the basics of the kalimba, you can start playing songs and developing your playing technique. Try playing more complex pieces and perfecting your movements and sound. You can also learn to play other instruments in conjunction with the kalimba to create unique melodies.


The kalimba is a wonderful instrument that can give you hours of enjoyment. If you're a beginner, remember to take your time and start slowly. With a little practice and patience, you'll soon be able to play beautiful melodies on the kalimba. So what are you waiting for? Start playing and have fun!