Parts of Kalimba

Parts of Kalimba
Parts of Kalimba

You might be playing Kalimba already or still thinking to buy but have you think about its parts? Maybe you already know some parts of it but mostly don’t. So for everyone’s knowledge, let us discuss them one by one.

Kalimba Parts
Kalimba Parts

Soundboard / Body

Let us start with the biggest part, the body. It is mostly made of wood of different kind depending on the brands and model, though there is a new model which made of acrylic glass. They usually called it box but due to the new models, the flat board and the acrylic, they are not limited to box type (hollow) anymore. So it is better if we call it soundboard since this where the sounds crawl, vibrate and give a resonating sounds.

Sound Hole

This is the parts of Kalimba that may or may not exist depending on the model. This part is only available in wooden Hollow box type. The typical sound hole is located just below the tines in the front of the body and 2 small sound holes at the back. There are newer Kalimba now which the sound hole is placed at the foot of the body. It is the part where the sounds exit like a speaker. This is where we could do the effect they called “wah-wah”, by covering and uncovering the holes.


Some called these keys or tongue but the most popular is tines. This are metal parts which which are different in length, the shorter the higher the tone. Kalimba Tablature users usually uses the painted color or stickers on the tine as a guide when playing. It can played by plucking each tines or slide you fingers on it. The number of tines may vary depending on the models from 8 up to 21 since the time of this article. Most of the Kalimba tines nowadays have the note engraved in the tines.

Bridge and Backstop

Bridge and Backstop are the 2 half-round wood. The backstop is located the upper part where the upper part of tines are resting. The Bridge is on the lower part of the Kalimba which holds the saddle. Their are some sources that called this two woods are nut.

Saddle and Z-Bracket

These are the 2 long strips of metals parts. The Z-Bracket (Z shape) holds the tines unto the body and it is between the Bridge and Backstop. It is important that this part should be tightly screwed so the sound would be full. While the Saddle is preventing the tines to touch the Bridge to make it produce sounds and located between the tines and bridge.

Head and Foot

Basically head located at the top and Foot at the bottom. There is brand called Dual which is an electronic Kalimba, which is chargeable. It is designed by April Yang that uses the head part to plug in your earphones or speaker. There are also new models of Kalimba which we discuss before the has sound hole at the bottom like the Hluru brand Kalimba. Although commonly, the foot is normally where the pick-ups are located.

That is the end of the short list of our Kalimba Parts. We hope you learned something from it. If there will be some new kinds of Kalimba with new parts, we will surely add them to this list.

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