Playing kalimba is fun, there is no doubt about it. But just buying a thumb piano might not be enough for some, and they’ll need something more. Fortunately, there are plenty of accessories you can try out as well.
Here, we will go through some of the most useful pieces of accessory you can find. One of the best things, of course, is that these are suitable for any skill level, and you can get them regardless if you are a beginner or a more experienced player.
While some of the entries on the list might not be essential for playing kalimba, getting them can significantly improve the quality of your playing and make everything a bit easier.
Since I already explained why tuning the kalimba is important, let’s proceed to the next step. In order to tune your instrument, you will also need a tuner. Most beginners are not able to distinguish the right pitch by ear, and the whole process can be complicated.
But not having a perfectly trained ear is not the end of the world. The easiest way to tune the kalimba is by using a tuner. Now, some people might already have a guitar tuner, but there is a chance that this won’t be enough.
The reason for this is due to the fact that some guitar tuners are designed for tuning the guitar only. This means that even if you play the right pitch, the tuner won’t recognize it.
To avoid having this problem, you should get a chromatic tuner instead. Of course, some guitar tuners are already chromatic, and you can use them if you have them already.
The second important thing is to find a chromatic tuner that can recognize pitches. Some tuners are created for electrical instruments, and you will need an output to plug them in.
Finally, you can always find an app that will act as a tuner, and they can do an incredible job.
There are so many brands available on the market, and you can pick anyone you like. The only important thing is that the tuner is chromatic and that it has a microphone inside to recognize the pitch.
If you didn’t get a kalimba kit, you should probably invest in getting a case. While many might think that these are only for people looking to travel with their instruments, the answer is different.
Protective cases are important for anyone who owns a kalimba. If you leave your instrument out in the open, it will be exposed to temperature changes and humidity. Since the kalimba is mostly made out of wood, it can cause damage to the instrument.
Even if you play it at home only, a protective case is a great way to keep the instrument safe. Furthermore, you can add silica bags inside the case if there is a need to regulate the moisture in the air.
The cases for kalimba you can find online are usually hard, and they will protect the instrument from any damage. You don’t need to worry about accidentally scratching the kalimba, and it’s the easiest way to avoid unnecessary repairs.
Some of the cases available online are both shockproof and waterproof, which makes them a great option. Finally, if you plan on traveling with your instrument, getting a case is something you should definitely consider.
The first item on the list is Alaska picks. If you never saw one of these, you need to check them as soon as possible. Due to the nature of kalimba, you will need to pluck the tines with your thumbs.
Furthermore, if you are looking to get a clean, sharp sound, the best option is to pluck using nails. For this, you will need to grow your nails, and ensure that they are strong enough for you to play.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for many people, due to various reasons. This is where Alaska picks shine. Instead of growing your nails, all you have to do is place the pick on your thumb, and you’ll be ready to play.
These picks are one of the best pieces of equipment you can get for kalimba, and they are compatible with any skill level. While beginners will often use these, you can try them out even if you are an experienced player.
You won’t have to worry about your fingers hurting, and not being able to play. Alaska picks come in several versions, and you can choose the color and material as well.
If you want to find out more about these picks, just follow the link below.
The next item on the agenda is tuning hammers. If you have a kalimba, you need to have a tuning hammer as well. These are some of the most essential items you’ll need for your thumb piano.
As with any other instrument, kalimba will eventually go out of tune. If you want to continue practicing or playing, you will need to re-tune it. While this seems rather simple, it is rather difficult without the proper equipment.
Tuning hammer is used to move tines, in order for them to be on the pitch. On some instruments, it is possible to move tines with your fingers, but that method is not really precise.
Each tine is logged on the bridge of kalimba, and the exposed length of the tine will dictate the pitch. If you want the note to be lower, you will need to tap it with a hammer from the top side.
On the other hand, if you want to make the note higher, you will tap it from the bottom. This will allow the tine to move slightly in the right direction, and you’ll be able to achieve fine-tuning you need.
Most kalimba kits come with a tuning hammer, but if you don’t have one, you should get it as soon as possible.
Many people often forget that maintenance is among the most important things if you want to keep your instrument healthy and functional. As I previously mentioned, leaving the kalimba in the open can lead to corrosion, cracks in the wood, and other types of damage.
But even if you have a case, you will need to clean it from time to time. Usually, deep cleaning is required every couple of months, or maybe even once a year. Of course, in the meantime, you should ensure that there isn’t a pile of dirt and grime on the instrument.
The easiest way to achieve this is by wiping it every time you finish playing. Our skin releases oils, and even if your hands are clean, you will still need to wipe the instrument once you’re done practicing.
The best way to do it is by getting a simple polishing or cleaning cloth. Now, for the regular maintenance, and removing dust and skin oils, regular polishing cloth can do. Some people use old shirts that are made of cotton, and they can be an incredible way to keep your kalimba clean.
Naturally, if you want something more, you can always order cleaning cloth online. These are usually made of microfiber, but you can also find cotton ones.
While some kalimbas come with everything you need to start playing, other kits are not as impressive. This doesn’t mean that the instrument is bad, it just means that you might need additional accessories.
One of the things that might help you learn your way around the instrument better is stickers. There are two types of stickers you can find on the kalimba, and both are placed on the tines.
The first type is used to help you identify the notes easier, and you will put them on each tine. Let’s say that your kalimba is in the key of C. The longest tine will be the root note or the C.
But to visualize everything better, you will put a sticker on that tine with the letter C. Similarly, you will mark each of the tines with the appropriate letter.
The second type of stickers is used for easier navigation between the tines, and there are either five or six of them. Usually, you will put a sticker on every third tine, and it will make playing significantly easier.
Of course, you don’t need to put stickers at all on your instrument, but it will help you learn songs better and faster.
The point of these stickers is the same as with little dots you might have seen on the guitar.
Saying the pickup on the kalimba is necessary would be an overstatement. But it can be an interesting way to upgrade your instrument. If you want to record music, this might be the simplest solution.
While you can just record everything using a microphone, the pickup method is a lot less limiting. Putting a piezo pickup on your kalimba will allow you to plug it into the amp or a speaker.
Furthermore, you can also record your music, and add various effects that might make everything even more exciting.
Naturally, you can find kalimbas with a stock pickup as well. But if you already bought the instrument, you can easily upgrade it.
It is also a great way to ensure that everyone can hear you if you plan on playing the kalimba live on stage.
Piezo pickups come with an output jack, which means that you will get everything you need to make your instrument electric.
Needless to say, if you play the instrument at your home only, this might not be the necessary upgrade. However, you can still do it since it will give you an opportunity to experiment with the kalimba even further.
Based on the type of kalimba you have, there is a chance that you’ll need cable if you want to play live.
Some kalimbas come with a preinstalled pickup, and to be able to simply plug it into the amp or a speaker, you will need a cable.
While there is a chance that you already have one, you can never have too much cables.
The best thing about cables is that you can buy one for the guitar, and they can be pretty cheap. Of course, it also depends on the quality of the product and length.
However, not every kalimba needs a cable, and you should get one only if you have a pickup in your instrument. If you don’t have a pickup, or don’t plan on installing one, there is no need to buy a cable.
Finally, the weight of the cable is around seven ounces, which is something you should consider if you plan on carrying your instrument with you, or ordering everything online.
Maintenance Oils Or Butters
Even though the popularity of the instrument is rising, it is still not as popular and common as a guitar. As a result, you will need to create your own maintenance kit instead of just buying one.
There are several things you will need to fully maintain your kalimba. Furthermore, there are two main materials on the thumb piano, and you will need to get something for both.
Based on the type of wood your kalimba is made of, you should find the appropriate substance. For example, kalimbas made of camphor wood can use camphor oil for cleaning and maintenance.
On the other hand, if you have something like mahogany or maple, using camphor might not be the best choice.
Usually, the safest option is shea butter or sweet almond oil. These will protect your instrument, and keep the wood fed and clean.
Other products like bitter almond oil or olive oil can be either toxic or promote rotting. Moreover, some oils might also cause an allergic reaction, which is something you should avoid.
For cleaning metal, you can use an ink eraser, steel wool, or mineral oil. Just be sure that oil stays on the tines, and nowhere near wood.
Portable Kalimba Stand
If you love your kalimba, and you want to put it on the display, the easiest way to do it is by getting a portable kalimba stand. This will allow you to always admire your instrument when you’re not playing it.
The stand is easy to use, and you’ll need two seconds to “install” it. This is one of the rare accessories that can be used on kalimba only, and that’s created especially for this instrument.
Unlike chromatic tuners, for example, which you can use on any instrument, the only one you can display on the stand is kalimba.
When it comes to material, this stand is made of wood, and it keeps the color and texture of the wood as well. The design of the stand is impeccable, and it can be a really nice addition to your room.
The best thing about the stand is that it has a layer of rubber, which means that it won’t damage the finish of the kalimba. You won’t need to worry about scratches and potential damage.
Of course, if you get this stand, you will need to regularly clean the kalimba if you want to avoid seeing a layer of dust.
There are so many useful and beautiful accessories for kalimba you can find, and there is no doubt that even more will appear.
The popularity of the thumb piano is only rising, and we can expect more incredible products to appear on the market.
While some of the items on this list are almost essential, others, that are less important, can still be a nice addition to your collection.
Most of the products are designed to help you learn better, navigate the instrument, and keep it safe. Hopefully, more incredible things will be available soon, and more people will discover this amazing instrument.
If you found this article useful you may want to save this pin below to your Kalimba board