1. Construction.
  2. Construction karimba.
  3. Technique of the game.
  4. Methods of tuning.


Karimba is a musical instrument in the lamellophone family. It comes from Africa and more specifically from Zimbabwe. The instrument is quite small and handy, you can take it with yourself when travelling or going for a walk in the park, etc. It has a distinctive tuning that creates melodies almost by itself, and its gentle sounds are relaxing and soothing. Owing to these virtues, the karimba will quickly enchant the player and is a very good first instrument to introduce someone into playing. Well suited for leisure and long journeys, it is a perfect gift for everyone.


The photo shows two karimbas, a 15-key and a 19-key. Click here to hear the sounds!

1. Construction

Like the mbira, karimba consists of a wooden board equipped with 15 to 19 keys in the form of tuned metal "tongues" that are usually made from steel rods hammered flat on the free end. The keys are arranged in two rows in a certain order. The distinctive layout and tuning of the keys, as well as the right timbre which depends on the quality of metalworking, is the secret of karimba's unique and beautiful sound. In Pracownia Promyk karimbas are made using proven traditional designs to ensure the best quality of sound and durability of the instrument. Karimba is significantly smaller than mbira which makes it very portable. The name karimba should only be used for instruments with this particular arrangement of keys and sounds. Note, sometimes a kalimba may have two rows of keys and even though it is similar to the karimba, it isn't one if the sequence of sounds is different.

Karimba is known by two other names. The first is ndimba, a small version of karimba, described as a women's instrument. Its has a more rounded shape and the keys are tuned higher. It is worth noting that currently karimbas may have different shapes, depending on the preferences of the maker and players. The second name is nyunga nyunga, a relatively new development where a karimba is attached with screws to a plywood resonator that looks like a frame drum – a strip of plywood is bent into a ring and glued to a flat base. This is an interesting solution which makes it possible to replace the gourds and use generally available materials. More information on resonators can be found on the amplification page.

Currently i am doing karimba in various sizes:

  • Small or mini - is the size indicated for children and all those who have small fingers and like to have. Extremely small size makes it karimba is lightweight and can easily become a pocket-sized musical instrument. Its width is from 8 cm to 12 cm.
  • Average - standard, comfortable for an adult player, sometimes suitable for children. Karimba has dimension: of 12 to 15 cm in width.
  • Large - often very noisy (even without resonators) having a rigid lamella. Large karimba ideal for inclusion in the large resonator, it is sometimes very heavy (thick wire and a large thick planks.) Musical instrument for all those who have strong hands and fingers and want to be audible in very adverse conditions. The width from: 16 or 17 cm.

Of course, there are no hard rules oreślających exact proportions in centimeters. trzy karimby i ich trzy rozmiary Quite an important dimension is the width the karimba, it affects the comfort of playing and decides whether to comfortably reaching for the lamellae in middle.

The above picture shows three different sizes karimba, boards and sheets. The largest is 16 inches wide, the average is 12 cm and the smal only 8 cm.


2. Construction karimba.

Construction of a musical instrument having in its construction and mounted on board the 15 or 19 plaques is deceptively simple. The first step is to prepare materials to enable the execution of the instrument, so you will need: boards, wires on the plaque, on the threshold of the rod, tape or wire for mounting the threshold. The tools you will need: vise, anvil, hammer, pliers, nail file, metal and wood, drill for wood, a hacksaw and wood chisel, sandpaper, paint or other substances for wood preservatives, etc.

3. Technique of the game.

It is simple and consists to press of lamina fingers, mostly thumbs of both hands. In this way, to press the top and bottom of the lamina. Many musicians use the thumb and index finger (right hand), it usually pulls up four or five lamina of the upper row. This style of game karimba favors, especially when there is a significant difference between the lower and upper length of the lamina (right side of the instrument). Such a method allows for faster game play and the use of lamina of the lower and upper row at the same time. All lamina lint from top to bottom.

Traditional music played on mbira and karimba relies heavily on rhythm. This is because the music in this part of the world is used for all kinds of events (there are also used other instruments: drums, balaphones, stringed instruments, flutes, rattles), which is often accompanied by dancing, singing.


4. Methods of tuning.

They are different, which allows you to select the ones that we most likes. Karimba having 15 tones have a lamina tuned as follows:

e" d" c" f" c" d" e" – laminas in the top row
a' g' f' a f c' d' e' – laminas in the bottom row

This outfit is the most versatile and frequently used. He makes it to playing the so-tuned karimba you can play to almost at every a instrument. Yes tuned karimba is quite common, sometimes with slightly shifted scale. A slight shift that makes the sound stand out more.

Another possibility is:

g#" f#" e" a" e" f#" g#" – laminas in the top row
c#" h' a' c#' a e' f#' g#' – laminas in the bottom row
Another possibility is:
h'' a'' g'' c''' g'' a'' h'' – laminas in the top row
e'' d'' c'' e' c' g' a' h' – laminas in the bottom row

The system sounds karimba, which has 19 laminas are as follows:

c#" h' a' f#" e" d" a' h' c#" – laminas in the top row
f#' g' e' d' f# d g a h c#' – laminas in the bottom row

This outfit was designed by Tschak Chawasarira. Although karimba 19 lamellar varies from 15 lamellar game on it is fascinating, especially if you have previously played at karimbie with fifteen plates. It gives you the possible play new compositions significantly different from those offered karimba having 15 lamellae.

g e d c f h c d e – laminas in the top row
a g f a g f h c d e – laminas in the bottom row


Technic  shifting  and    is described in the section "strojenie blaszek".

Melody (song) on karimba are available from: "tabulatury".

If you want to buy invite you to it "galery&shop", placed in her pictures and descriptions will help you decide.