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Tuning a Kalimba with 8, 17 and 21 Keys

The best way to improve the sound quality of sound kalimba is to tune it !
Having an instrument that sounds good is essential for the musician.

It is now easy to tune your kalimba all alone with your smartphone, even if you've never tuned an instrument! We recommend 2 free applications for android and iphone in the tuning chapter, and which are used for any type of instrument. 

Fun (?) Fact: the Kalimbas Pawpaw are all equipped with a Starter Kit, including the small hammer to tune !

Some tips for using the hammer properly:
Avoid holding them by the tip of the handle. You will be more precise and will avoid damaging your pretty kalimba holding it towards the hammer head. 

right and wrong way to hold the tuning hammer for Kalimba


Grant his Kalimba 8, 17 and 21 keys

Easy tuning in Cmaj (standard)
No matter how many blades you have, the tuning principle remains the same. We grant our kalimbas in C major, use the engraving on the blades to match those on the app. 

Download one of these applications (depending on your smartphone)

  • gStrings on AndroidLink 
  • Tuner Lite on IOSLink

To know which way to push the blade, just follow this rule. 
On the application, the arrow is either to the left or to the right of the desired note ABCDEFG. or (in order)

The blade will be tuned once the arrow is in the center.
There is no need to be right in the center to have a good sound, what matters most is the gap between the notes, try to stay homogeneous within the margin of error or otherwise aim more or less the center . 

For the example, we will tune the blade of E (mi):
  • If the arrow is to the left of E (on the app), it's too serious (low), so we tap the blade of the Kalimba to the top.
    The sound will become more acute
  • If the arrow is to the right of E (on the app), it's too sharp (high), we tap the blade of the Kalimba down.
    The sound will be lower
tuning illustration kalimba for 17 blades 8 blades and 21 blades with application and tutorial

Then just repeat with the other blades. The diagram helps a lot if you don't have the engravings on the notes on your blades, or if you have a kalimba 8 or 21 reeds and you're lost on how to tune it. 


Tuning kalimba alternative - To change your playstyle (advanced!)

If you are advanced or adventurous, you can substitute the notes depending on the sound you want. To keep the best tone, we advise you to stick to differences of 1/2 tone to 1 full tone max.

If your blades do not have engravings or if you need to grant a kalimba with 8 or 21 keys, you can use the diagram below for a tuning standard C major

If you're still stuck and need some visual explanation, we recommend these videos:
English: Here it is
French: Here it is 

Free tuning app: 

  • gStrings on AndroidLink 
  • Tuner Lite on IOSLink


1 comment
by Lanylou on August 28, 2021

thank you!!

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