Top Kalimba Brands

Top Kalimba Brands

There are many kalimba makers out there making beautiful instruments that sound great and feel good to play. Many manufacturers of kalimbas also offer custom-made instruments, with options like more/fewer notes, different scales (equal-tempered or non-equal tempered; western or non-western), wood types, color schemes, etc. There is no “best” manufacturer; the best choice varies from person to person depending on their musical taste and style, what kinds of sounds they like and want in an instrument, how fussy they are about craftsmanship details such as perfect tuning and clean finishing inside the note slots.

The top kalimba brands listed below have been chosen because they have a reputation for high quality and excellent sound in a kalimba.

1. AKLOT:

The Aklot’s are made in Chile, and they are the most affordable kalimba brand on this list of 16 kalimbas. These instruments are very loud, so they are priced low because it takes a lot of metal to make one of these bad boys. They are out of tune with each other, but you can fix that by oiling the tines with some silicone-based lubricant spray. Watch out for rusting if you live in a humid or tropical climate.

2. APRIL YANG:

These are also sold directly from the maker, made in Thailand. They have a great sound quality and nice woodwork with an African motif, and they usually come tuned to a diatonic scale! They’re beautiful instruments that are great for running long distances because of their low weight. The downside is that they can be expensive if you want more than one octave on your instrument.

3. CEGA:

This Korean company is starting to make waves throughout the kalimba community by providing high-quality instruments for very low prices. The CEGA kalimba has a great bass tone and is very easy to play. They also make the only 3 sided Kalimba (with 88 tines) and huge, double octave diatonic instruments.

4. DONNER:

The Donners are handmade in South Africa by master craftsman Andy Donner himself. The instruments are beautifully crafted out of high-quality hardwood, often with a nice inlaid border. However, it is hard to get your hands on one of these kalimbas. You have to contact Andy directly and place a custom order, so you’ll have a wait a while for your instrument in addition to paying quite a bit. But if you’re interested, they are worth the wait.

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5. GECKO:

This is true for the Geckos too. Again you will be placing an order with each seller, who manufactures them in their garage by hand according to customer specifications ranging from simple pentatonic up through 36-tine diatonic with multiple scales and modes. The Geckos are great because they have a nice soft tone so that you can play them with your fingers.

6. HLURU:

Hluru’s come in all shapes and sizes. They’re affordable kalimbas with speakers built into them that go straight into an mp3 player or computer via USB cable.

7. HUGH TRACEY:

Hugh Tracey is the inventor of the Kalimba. This South African company is where it all started, starting in 1929 when Hugh Tracey set out to create a new instrument that would teach thousands of Africans how to play music. That’s not what these are used for now, but the company still makes traditional diatonic kalimbas with tines placed into wood or metal resonators attached underneath them. All of their instruments are beautiful works of functional art crafted out of hardwoods by local Zulu workers. There are left-handed models available too.

8. KERUS:

HLURU has recently purchased the Keras brand, so they have changed their name to the same. They are still being made in China by a company called LiuQin Musical Instruments Factory, making many of the cheaper kalimba models today. The main “brand” difference right now is that you can find Kerus for sale at Guitar Center etc., which you cannot do with HLURU or any other non-mainstream brands online yet. That said, they have a decent tone and an attractive style.

9. KIMI:

KIMI stands for Kalimba Innovation Music Instruments (or something like that). These kalimbas are beautiful handmade instruments made in Davao City, Philippines, by local artists. Each instrument is unique because they are all handmade one at a time, even though some models have been repeated slightly.

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10. LINGTING:

This brand is based out of Taiwan, but South Africans started the company. They make amazing diatonic ten-hole kalimbas with great tone and durability, which are sold all over the world. The Taiwanese company that makes them (LingTing Musical Instrument Manufacturing Co. Ltd.) is very serious and precise about their process. Each instrument comes with a one-year warranty to ensure you are satisfied.

11. MEINL:

These ten-hole diatonic instruments are made by Meinl Percussion Instruments GmbH based in Germany. They have been around for at least 10 years, and their products seem to be widely distributed all over the world. These Kalimba have great sound, and they’re well built and designed – everything feels solid and sturdy as far as their design goes.

13. MOOZICA:

This is an example of a brand that’s not specific to kalimbas but makes amazing hand drums and other instruments in general. Monica also makes amazing djembes, conga drums, dunun (bass drums), etc., all handmade in Africa by local artisans.

14. PURM:

Purm kalimbas are handmade in Canada by local artisans working with wood and other materials. They come in several different diatonic scales, which you can choose from when you order one. They have a great old-timey visual aesthetic to the design of the instruments. The tone is full and bright as well.

15. SEEDS:

Stefan Sobell created these beautiful ten-hole kalimbas up in Scotland, which was then bought out by their distributor located in NYC called Musical Keys, where they now sell them exclusively at this time. They have very beautiful woodworking craftsmanship and design to them.

CONCLUSION:

The best kalimba brands are the ones that allow you to choose from a variety of options. If you prefer electric, there’s one for sale at this brand. Or if acoustic is more your style, they have those too! It’s really up to what kind of experience and sound quality you’re looking for in a kalimbas company.

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