Bernard Kanowsky's Electric Kalimba Setup

Bernard is a great example of someone who has jumped into the kalimba world and is figuring out his own path - including electronic effects on the kalimba and even his own beautiful kalimba creations. And he is willing to share what he has figured out with the rest of us!

Several months ago I purchased from Kalimba Magic a Premium Hugh Tracy Treble kalimba with an electric pickup, and I love it. It sounds very beautiful all by itself with no special effects or amplification, but a pickup opens up a world of possibilities.

I am not an accomplished musician, I play music as meditation and for personal entertainment. I have been playing the kalimba for about two years. For most of that time I have been improvising by finding a rhythm and just exploring. Last December I purchased an "AXL Thin Amp" from someone on "Craigs List." This amp has 16 effects built in and once I learned how to operate it I had quite a lot of fun playing my Treble kalimba through it.

Thin samp

I now use a "Line 6 Floor Pod Plus" plugged into my "Thin Amp" and my Treble kalimba plugged into the "Floor Pod Plus." I am impressed with the quality of the sound it produces and the versatility of the creative options it has opened up for me. This device can emulate 32 diferent Amp/cabinet models and has 120 presets or "channels" that mix various amp model/effect combinations. It has 16 effects such as phaser, chorus, flanger etc., 6 delay modes and reverb. It is primarily designed for guitar applications and many of the presets have more distortion than I like, yet the Floor Pod Plus is so versatile that am always exploring and discovering new sounds with it.

Currently I am using several presets that I have adjusted to my liking. Two I especially like are "High Vibes"(18C) and one called "A Delay" (18D). Even with no experience I found it simple to modify a "preset" and then save it.

I have modified preset 18c caled "High Vibes" by adjusting the delay setting, tempo, reverb, gate and compressor to achieve the best sound for the Treble kalimba and then saved it to memory. Now when I turn the unit on I can select preset 18c and I am ready to play. I like the analog delay volume set fairly high as it helps me establish a rhythm and tempo, enabling me to explore different melodies and "phrases" easily. Lightly tapping the box with my thumb nail, together with the digital delay echoing that sound, sets up a rhythm from which I can launch into new or different territory.

I have modified preset 18d called "A Delay" which uses a flanger effect that I have modified to a somewhat psychedelic ambiance and has the WAH pedal activated (the pedal either controls volume or WAH). I can wander around this mode for a long time but I have to be careful not to get lost somewhere in the ether.

I have special settings saved to the device for three different kalimbas and room for more. I may just have to get a Hugh Tracy karimba with a pickup now that I have heard you playing one on Youtube.

Mark, thank you again for all your help and for creating Kalimba Magic. The kalimba has truly brought a special kind of magic into my life and has made a difference that is difficult to fully express. I am grateful.

Bernard A. Kanowsky

Do you have a special signal path for your kalimba that you'd like to share? Just contact us!

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