What types of kalimbas are available on the market?

The kalimba is an African musical instrument that has become rapidly popular throughout the world in recent years. It's a relatively simple instrument to learn and play, and can produce some very melodious sounds. There are different types of kalimbas, each offering a variety of different tones and styles for the player.

Single-row kalimba

The single-row kalimba is the most popular and widespread type of kalimba. Its design is very simple: it has 8 to 17 metal plates mounted on a wooden box. The metal plates are arranged in rows or circles around the edge of the box, so that each note is on a different plate. An 8-note row is sufficient for playing simple, high-pitched songs, while a 17-note row offers a wider range of notes.

Double-row kalimba

The double-row kalimba is a little more complicated than the single-row kalimba, but offers more possibilities in terms of playing. The double row has a series of 16 metal plates per row, making a total of 32 notes possible at any one time. This allows the player to play a fuller range of tones and melodies, as well as multiple notes and even chords simultaneously.

Kalimba without rats

The ratchetless kalimba is designed to be lightweight, so the instrument is easier to handle. It is built with a plastic case and a series of 8 to 17 metal plates that are placed directly in the case. This instrument is often used by beginners, as it is simple and does not require sturdy wooden boards to mount the metal plates.

Kalimba with board

The kalimba with board is built to be more durable and stable than a kalimba without boards. This enables the player to play complex melodies and deeper rhythms. It comprises a wooden body and metal plates mounted on sturdy wooden boards. These boards are arranged in a U-shape around the edge of the case and can hold up to 17 metal plates.

Kalimba in various styles

The Varied Style Kalimba is a kalimba made from metal plates mounted on elongated wooden boxes. It has 17 metal plates and provides a full range of tones and melodies. It is considered one of the most versatile of African musical instruments, enabling players to play a variety of styles, from traditional African tunes to more modern melodies.

Kalimba with diversified sets

The multi-set kalimba is one of the most versatile of African musical instruments. It is usually made from a wooden case with metal plates that are arranged in a U-shape around the edge of the case. These metal plates can be interchanged to produce different tones and melody sets. This makes the multi-set kalimba highly versatile and suitable for both professional and occasional players.


The kalimba is one of the most versatile and entertaining instruments in African music, and is easy to learn and play. There are several types of kalimba, offering a variety of sounds and different approaches for players. Each type of kalimba offers its own variety of tones and musical styles, and can be used to produce interesting and original songs. The different types of kalimbas available on the market today enable players to find the instrument that suits them best and start experimenting with different styles of music.