09 January 2016

TIP: Fixing the BUZZ

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

Do any of your tines make a sound that annoys you? Learn to fix that!

TIP: Fixing the BUZZ

To keep your kalimba sounding good, learning to tune is the most important thing. After that comes learning to fix the odd buzzy tine so that each note on the instrument can ring true. This tip points out the resources for removing the buzz and returning your kalimba to sounding clear.

When I  listen to other people's kalimba recordings, I am often annoyed by nasty buzzing sounds.  I think "If only they knew how easy it is to fix those buzzes!"

Before I record a kalimba, I touch up on the tuning and make sure none of the tines are buzzing.  And what if some of the tines are buzzing?  I use one of the five main buzz fixing techniques.  

First I try to scoot the tine to the left or the right - does that simple trick remove the buzz?  It often does.  

My old standby method is to insert a sliver of paper between the offending tine and the cylindrical metal bridge piece.  This works well on all but the highest notes, where the paper tends to damp the tine's natural sound too much.  

On rare occasions the paper sliver needs to be applied between the offending tine and the "Z-bracket".

The torque method, in which you twist the tine clockwise or counterclockwise, is desirable in that you aren't left with an unsightly sliver of paper sticking out from under the tine.

And last, the sand paper method in an important way to remove the buzz from one of the high notes.

You can learn more about how to apply these buzz fixes by following the link below.

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 (5)

  • Liz Smith

    Liz Smith

    12 June 2018 at 15:46 |
    Just got a gecko kalimba
    Top several "notes" on each side very tight..not getting good sound on these
    How do I adjust.


    • Mika


      30 August 2019 at 07:27 |
      Hi! Did you ever find an answer? I have the same problem.


      • Kathy


        06 October 2019 at 22:42 |
        I just got my kalimba today from amazon and it’s adm brand. The last 3 tines at the end on both sides are stiff:/


      • Kristen


        16 November 2019 at 23:10 |
        This is common with a lot of resonator box kalimbas. There is great resonance at the lower notes, but not the upper ones.


  • Dennis Lamy

    Dennis Lamy

    19 July 2019 at 08:40 |
    Hi mister holdaway .

    I thank you for the site and for the tips on all instruments .However , you have nohing about a 5 or even a 7 tines (Kalimba ) ! :(


Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.