March 18, 2012
Vol. 7, Num. 2
Kalimba Magic NEWS
introducing new models!
My son Tim Holdaway recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a 4.0 GPA and a double major in Mathematics and Philosophy. Let's just say that he has chosen an interesting career path since graduation, and Kalimba Magic is benefiting from his sharp mind. He has set up the Kalimba Magic Wood Shop, and has produced about 30 kalimbas. Eleven of those kalimbas are little baby Alto Kalimbas - he calls them the Pocket Alto - but please don't put them in your pocket!
These little kalimbas are 3 3/4 inches wide, 4 1/2 inches "tall", and the box is 1 1/2 inches deep. The tines are made from the 3mm stock spring steel we sell. The sides are oak, the front and back are baltic plywood, and the bridge system uses African paduak. The 15 tines are tuned to two octaves of the G major scale, just as the Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba is.
This kalimba is about half as loud as the Hugh Tracey kalimba. The tines are soft and narrow, just like the Goshen kalimbas, though the tines seem to be fastened down better than the Goshen tines, which tend to move around if you bump into them. The Tim Holdaway Pocket Alto Kalimba has a pretty even response over its two octave range - I was surprised that the low notes resonante as well as they do. The smaller hole makes for an easy "wah wah" sound, even for small thumbs. The "wah wah" affects the lower nine notes, and has the biggest effect on the lower E and F#.
The Tim Holdaway Pocket Alto Kalimba can read all the tablature written for the Alto kalimba, so all of the Alto books and downloads are good for this kalimba.
Who would want this kalimba? Probably not a performing artist, as they would want more volume, perhaps a pickup, and perhaps a larger instrument to hold on to. A traveler who has only a small space for their instrument? A child with smaller hands who has progressed remarkably on the 8-Note or 11-Note or 12-Note kalimba and is looking to do even better things? Someone who wants a sweet little kalimba companion as they reflect on their day by candle light? O perhaps someone who wants to play their child a little bed time melody.
In addition to the Pocket Alto, Tim is also offering the Tim Holdaway Big Kalimba, shown here in this video in an 11-note "extended student karimba" setup. These kalimbas have tines made from the 5mm spring steel, and can be set up with between 11 and 18 tines. As to the range, I was surprised to discover that these kalimbas can actually go down to C3 - a 5th lower than the Alto's low note - and can go up to D6. We have five standard tunings, but really, we can put these instruments in any key or scale you desire. We expect to have a few more of the standard tunings on YouTube in a bit.
Oh, and when I said that a performing artist probably wouldn't want the Pocket Alto? That statement doesn't apply to this kalimba. It is about as loud as the Hugh Tracey, though the sound is not quite as good. I myself have started performing on the Tim Holdaway Big Kalimba and am looking forward to writing songs on it.
According to Paul Tracey, when his father Hugh Tracey started making kalimbas, he made over 100 different prototype and experimental instruments before he settled on a design. When my son Tim Holdaway started making kalimbas, he made fewer than 10 prototypes. What does this mean? Mainly that the whole world of kalimba makers is standing on the shoulders of Hugh Tracey: the work he did benefits us all!