14 February 2017

The Tip Index: Archival Tips (2006-2013)

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements, Tips

They may be a bit harder to find, but they're not lost and they're still very much worth the time!

The Tip Index: Archival Tips (2006-2013)

These early tips are not part of the new Kalimba Magic website, but they are still accessible and are filled with clear and useful information on playing and caring for your kalimba, understanding music in general, and seeing how the kalimba can move people.

Several years of kalimba tips are indexed by topic. While most of the tip resources (images, tablature, sound recordings) are still accessible, other features within them, such as links to products and other pages on the old site, will not work. Sorry!

Mind / Body / Spirit Tips
These tips took a spiritual-psychological approach to teaching about the kalimba. It is a magical instrument, and there are a lot of cool things you can do with your kalimba. These tips explore some of that landscape.

Elementary Kalimba Tips
The elementary tips started out as general-purpose tips for beginners, but evolved into several series of tips focusing on topics such as thumb nail care, how to read kalimba tablature, how to set up your kalimba, melody, harmony, chords, practice and rehearsing tips. There is a lot of great material here, and you can probably find a lot to learn no matter what level you are playing at.

Advanced Kalimba Tips
The advanced kalimba tips started out using tablature right from the start. We dealt with advanced topics, such as recording your kalimba, working up a repertoire, performing on the kalimba, and learning how to improvise. We also used this as a forum to teach a number of songs, such as "First Look Inside."

Tips on Featured Kalimbas
This body of work consists of several series of tips for various kalimbas. You can find tip series for the African-tuned karimba, the pentatonic kalimba, the Sansula in several different tunings, the 8-note kalimba, modal scales on diatonic kalimbas, the chromatic kalimba, the G minor karimba, the Hotshot-11, and much more.

Physics of the Kalimba / Ian Clothier Tips
When I first started Kalimba Magic in 2005, I was coming off a 17-year stint as a radio astronomer. I initially thought I would be able to write about the physics of the kalimba for years. But even though there is enough to write about, it took me only about a year to realize that I didn't really want to be a physicist anymore! Tacked on to this archive of "Friday Tips" are the contributions of Ian Clothier who shows us a lot about building kalimbas. I still use his method of cutting spring steel almost every day of the year.

Current Kalimba Magic Tips
I don't think I will ever again be as prolific a tip writer as I was in the early days of Kalimba Magic. However, I have a keener musical insight now and I also know much more about the kalimba and its origins and evolution. I am always learning about this amazing family of instruments. What I write now is different and better in some ways. So take a look at the current set of kalimba tips!

At Kalimba Magic, we give you the tools you need to succeed on your kalimba journey.


About the Author

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway has been playing kalimba for over 30 years.  He invented his kalimba tablature in 2004, and has been writing books and instructional materials for kalimba ever since.  His business, Kalimba Magic, is based on the simple proposition that the kalimba is a real musical instrument capable of greatness.  Mark's kalimba books are a down payment on this proposition.

Comments (3)

  • Nancy Protzman

    Nancy Protzman

    08 February 2019 at 18:23 |
    I just bought a lovely Hugh Tracey alto kalimba on Etsy. The seller had had it sine the 60's, so I'm assuming it's authentic. It came with no tools, so I bought a kit which came with no instructions. I also installed a universal tuner on my smartphone. I haven't been able to find any information on how to use the tool. The youTube videos don't tell you enough, and some just use fingers. When I tap the tines I can't seen them move up or down. Is there any way to lubricate the tines so they move easily?

    Many thanks,


    • Mark


      09 February 2019 at 01:41 |
      Nancy - especially if the kalimba is very old and has not been tuned in years, the tines can get frozen in.

      If the tines are rusty, you may need to take the whole thing apart and scrub the tines with mineral oil and steel wool and reassemble. If you don't progress, you may want to send it in. The Kalimab Doctor Complete Tuneup = $25 plus return shipping fee: I take it apart, probably lightly sand the wood, clean the body, apply shea butter, clean tines, reassmble, tune - I also glue most cracks (some are not possible), and may install a post if any tines are being "eaten" by weakness in the face wood. And I will repaint tines if appropriate.

      - Mark


  • Nancy Protzman

    Nancy Protzman

    10 February 2019 at 22:10 |
    Thanks, Mark. I just saw that on the website, and will send you my Kalimba soon. It's a vintage Hugh Tracey and has a lovely sound.



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