5 Best Kalimbas and Mbiras with Magical Sound!

Posted in Percussion | Last Updated on October 19, 2019

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The Kalimba is an African musical instrument you might not have heard about before. We are all familiar with guitars, drums, bass, keyboards and so on, but the kalimba is a unique instrument. Since you are considering giving a try is it makes a great alternative to other common instruments. It originates from Zimbabwe so it can be used to play many different types of music, including traditional as well as modern styles.

Reviews of The Best Kalimbas on The Market

Donner  DKL-17- Solid Finger Piano Mahogany Body

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The Donner 17 Key Kalimba Is made solid mahogany high-quality wood. The keys are made out of carbon steel, which gives the Kalimba a better sound. It’s tuned to a regular international standard C tuning such as what you will find on a piano. This Kalimba is easy to play and produces an excellent sound and comes with 17 keys. It’s playable by using both of your thumbs so most people should be able to pick up and play the Kalimba in a short time frame.

The advantages of this Kalimba is that it has a portable bag that makes it easy for you to carry around with you. The tuning tool makes it easy for you to tune your coming, but wherever you are. It also has a user manual so you can learn how to play this musical instrument. The disadvantages include quality control issues with the company. Some buyers were missing parts when they ordered, or their product didn't sound like the way they imagined.


The Donner 17 Key Kalimba will have you making excellent music quickly. It is built with solid wood, and you get some nice accessories such as a portable bag and tuning tool when you purchase.

GECKO Kalimba - K17MBR

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The GECKO 17 key Kalimba gives you plenty of options in one attractive package. It's handmade, and the wood is a high-quality mahogany and ore steel bars for superior craftsmanship. You get an excellent sound out of it. It's perfect for relaxation, parties, outdoor activities, recording, and performances. It comes complete with 17 keys.

One of the significant advantages is that your Kalimba will be well protected as you get a high-quality case which resists oxidation, moisture, scratches or falls. When you purchase, you get an excellent 365 days warranty, and the return guarantee is an unconditional 45 days, so you are covered when you buy. To help you learn how to play, the manufacturer has included a free learning booklet. You also get other accessories such as a tuning hammer, stickers, and a cleaning cloth. The disadvantages include the fact that it might not produce the sounds that you want. The instructions could be a little bit better and easier to understand.


Overall, the GECKO 17 key Kalimba provides a lot of value in the package you receive. The device is well put together and sounds great. You also get excellent options such as a sturdy carrying case and a booklet to help you learn. there are also some other nice accessories such as a cleaning cloth and a tuning hammer.

UNOKKI Kalimba - Chocolate Brown

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The 17 key UNOKKI kalimba features solid wood construction and tine metal. There are 17 keys which are tuned to sound amazing. It will cover a broad range of music such as rock, pop, classical, African, and other styles of music. It’s recommended for beginners to advanced players as the UNOKKI is easy to play. This kalimba is tuned to standard C piano tuning. It’s the ideal musical instrument for many settings such as parties, school performances, and more.

The advantages of this kalimba is that it’s small, portable, comes with instruction to help you play, and sounds excellent. Other benefits include the inclusion of plenty of helpful accessories. It protects your fingers as it features a finger protector and a cloth bag protects it from damage when you’re carrying it around. You also get a tuner and a polishing cloth. One disadvantage is that some buyers had quality control issues when they ordered or had problems with the keys.


The 17 key UNOKKI Kalimba is an enjoyable instrument to play. It’s built with solid construction and comes with all the accessories you need to make great music right out of the box.

JDR - 17 Keys

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This kalimba from JDR features 17 keys, handcrafted and made with 100% mahogany. You get a warm and clean sound out of your instrument. The ore metal tines are flexible and sturdy at the same time. The device is easy to play, even for beginners. It tunes to international C tuning. You have the option of downloading a tuner app to use with the kalimba. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

That advantages of this kalimba is that it’s portable and comes with a protective case which protects the instrument from the elements. It also ships with a music book and other accessories so you can begin to play music right away. The disadvantages include the fact that some users found the instructions a bit hard to understand and that the keys were a little stiff.


The JDR 17 Keys Kalimba will have you making music right away. It ships with nice accessories such as a tuning hammer, stickers, and music book to help you learn how to play. It’s well-designed, and you will be creating music in no time with it.

Moozica - with 6.35mm Audio Interface

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The Moozica 17-Key Kalimba comes complete with a pickup as well as a 6.35mm interface so you can hook it up to an amplifier and use it onstage. You get excellent sound. There are effects such as delay and echo, which further enhance the sound of this Kalimba. The instrument is made with high-quality Acacia Koa wood, which gives it more resonance and better tone. It tunes to international C, and there are 17 keys available for playing.

The advantages this instrument has over other kalimbas is the fact you can plug it into an amplifier. It comes with learning materials and a tune hummer, so it stays in tune. It tunes to international C, and there are 17 keys available for playing. Another advantage it has is that it ships with great accessories such as a wiping cloth, audio cables, and music scale stickers. One disadvantage is that some users found the Instrument a bit hard to learn on when compared traditional instruments like a guitar.

Kalimba Vs. Mbira

The kalimba is modern variations on the Mbira, which is an instrument used in traditional African music. Kalimbas are lamellophones, and they have been played in Africa for many thousands of years. Countries in Africa tend to call them by a different name depending upon the location. It’s believed that the mbira comes from southern and central Africa and appeared around 1000-700AD.

A lamellophone is an instrument that has thin plates which are called tongues. It’s often called a “tongued instrument” because of this. Another term we use is to call it a “thumb piano.” It’s essentially a wooden board, and there are metal tines attached to it. It also has s a grounding bar, and this acts as the bridge. It might look odd to you at first, but it does have a good sound.

One end of the plates is fixed while the other end remains free. The player presses down on the endplate which is free with a finger, and the finger is allowed to slip off, and this causes the plate to vibrate.

The Mbira is different as the instrument is inside a large gourd. The gourd is often has decorated edges with objects resembling metal coins or shells. This gives the gourd a bit of a “rattle” sound when the inner part is plucked. Many traditional mbiras today use a wooden board and are similar to the Kalimba. Both instruments can come in different shapes.

The kalimba uses our traditional C scale, and all the modern instruments are tuned to this scale. The mbira uses the traditional African scales, which will be different depending upon the area where the player lives and the music that is being played. The mbira is used in countries like Zimbabwe and has been used in seance style ceremonies to induce trances as well as being an instrument used when telling a story. The Kalimba is used in many styles of music today as well as Africa music.

Some consider the kalimba easy to learn, but there are masters of the instrument just like any other. Players need to be able to read sheet music as the notes are arranged an octave higher. The kalimba is a unique instrument, and it’s fun to play for beginners that want to try something a bit different.