Tune Your Kalimba!
first step to sounding great
It is very important for your Kalimba to be in tune for it to sound good! However, there are many that struggle when tuning their Kalimba - mainly people with no musical background.
First of, you should know the basics of how the notes are arranged on a normal musical scale:
C - D - E - F - G - A - B
These are the 7 notes that constructs an octave (one round). And in-between these 7 notes are "flats/sharps". So, in simple terms, it should look something like this:
C - C# - D - D# - E - E# - F - F# - G - G# - A - A# - B - B#
On a keyboard, E# would mean F and B# would mean C. Sharps are notes that are slightly higher than the previous note, struck right between the next note and the previous note.
Flats on the other hand are slightly lower, struck between the previous note and the actual note. However, to make it easier and bite-sized for non-musicians, we will only focus on sharps for the tutorial on tuning of the Kalimba!
Now that you've understood the generic concept of the order for these notes, it's time to see WHERE these notes fall on the Kalimba:
So, to begin the tuning, you would first need a TUNER.
We would recommend a clip-on tuner so that there wouldn't be any sound interference to affect the tuning process. However, if you do not have it available to you, you can always download tuning APP on your phone - I would recommend the APP called "GStrings" and select the generic tuning option.
Now that you got your tuner ready, it's time to tune!
Flick the tine that you would like to tune - in this example, we will be trying to tune the 'D' tine.
The tuner should reflect the note that you would want to tune, with a meter of how accurately pitched the tine is - it should be very close to the 'green' bar.
These are some tuning situations that might occur & what to do with it:
- Slightly below the 'green' bar
If the note is slightly below the 'green' bar, it means that the note is flat. You would have to tune it higher by knocking the tine upwards -
2. Slightly above the 'green' bar
If the note is slightly above the 'green' bar, it means that the note is sharp. You would have to tune it lower by knocking the tine downwards -
3. A different note
If the tuner reflects a completely different note, you would need to look at the note order chart above to see if the note is before or after the note you require it to be.
If it is before, it means that the note is too low and you would need to tune it higher by knocking the tine upwards.
If it is after, it means that the note is too high and you would need to tune it lower by knocking the tine downwards.
We hope this short entry would help you understand how tuning works and make it easier for you to tune your Kalimba!
If you have any Kalimba tips/issues, do share it with us! We're constantly learning everyday and we would really love to learn more and share these useful tips with everyone else!