How to make a thumb piano

Thumb pianos, also known as Kalimbas, are small, melodic instruments that produce a unique sound with the use of metal tines and a wooden box. Though they are often used in African music, thumb pianos can be crafted in any style and with any materials. This guide will explain how to make a thumb piano using basic woodworking tools and techniques.


• Wood: You will need a piece of hardwood to serve as the body of your thumb piano. Mahogany, walnut, and maple are all good choices.

• Metal tines: You will need a set of metal tines to serve as the instrument’s notes. These can be purchased at music stores or online.

• Glue: You will need a good wood glue for attaching the metal tines to the wooden body.

• Sandpaper: You will need some sandpaper to sand down the wood after you have assembled it.


• Saw: You will need a saw to cut the wood into the desired shape.

• Drill: You will need a drill to make holes in the wood for the metal tines.

• Hammer: You will need a hammer to help attach the metal tines to the wood.

• File: You will need a file to smooth down any rough edges on the wood.


1. Cut the wood into the desired shape. This will be the body of your thumb piano.

2. Drill holes into the wood for the metal tines. Make sure the holes are evenly spaced and the same size.

3. Insert the metal tines into the holes. Use a hammer to tap them in place.

4. Apply wood glue to the tines and the wood to secure them in place.

5. Allow the glue to dry completely.

6. Sand down the wood to give it a smooth finish.

7. Tune your thumb piano by adjusting the tension of the metal tines.


Making a thumb piano is a great way to learn about woodworking and music. With a few simple tools and materials, you can create an instrument that will provide hours of entertainment.
1. Gather the necessary materials: wood, metal tines, hammer, drill, drill bits, scissors, glue, sandpaper, and wax.

2. Cut the wood to the desired size for the base of the thumb piano.

3. Drill holes in the wood for the metal tines.

4. Cut the metal tines to size and shape them using the hammer.

5. Insert the metal tines into the holes and attach them securely with glue.

6. Sand the wood to smooth out any rough edges.

7. Apply wax to the wood to seal and protect it.

8. Tune the metal tines to the desired notes.

9. Test the thumb piano and make any adjustments if needed.

10. Enjoy your homemade thumb piano!

How to Make a Kalimba: List of Materials Needed

Materials needed to make a kalimba include:

-Piece of hardwood (at least 5 inches long and 3 inches wide)
-One or two tines (metal or hardwood)
-Wood glue
-Drill bit
-Tuning hammer
-Tuning wrench
-String (nylon or steel)
-Bridge and bridge pins
-Metal or wood thumb picks
-Felt or foam padding (to line the bottom of the instrument)
-Tuning key

Large Kalimba: Buy Quality Kalimbas in a Variety of Sizes

A large kalimba is an African folk instrument that is similar to a thumb piano. It is a type of lamellaphone, which is a type of musical instrument made up of tuned metal tines that are plucked with the thumbs. The instrument is played on the lap or held in one hand and plucked with the other hand. It is traditionally used in folk music of African countries such as Zimbabwe and Congo.

Large kalimbas are available in a variety of sizes, from small to large. Small kalimbas are great for travel and are easy to carry around. Large kalimbas provide a deeper sound, and can be used to create a fuller sound when playing with a group.

When buying a large kalimba, it is important to consider the size and number of tines. The larger the kalimba, the more tines it will have, and the wider range of notes it will be able to produce. It is also important to consider the material that the kalimba is made out of, as this will affect the sound of the instrument. The most common material is wood, though metal and plastic kalimbas are also available.

When looking for a quality large kalimba, it is important to do research and read reviews. Look for kalimbas that are made with high-quality materials and come with a warranty. Additionally, look for kalimbas that come with a tuning tool, as this will make it easier to tune the instrument.

This guide on how to make a thumb piano is a great resource for those interested in learning how to make their own musical instrument. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to construct the instrument, along with helpful illustrations and pictures. The guide also includes a list of materials needed to build the instrument. Overall, this guide provides an excellent resource for those interested in learning how to make their own thumb piano. My recommendation would be to take the time to read through the guide carefully to ensure that all of the steps are followed correctly. Additionally, be sure to use the proper materials and tools to ensure a successful outcome.
1. Start by cutting two pieces of hardwood to the desired size and shape of the thumb piano.

2. Attach the pieces together using wood glue and clamps.

3. Cut out 8-10 small slots in each piece of wood, making sure that the slots are of equal size and evenly spaced.

4. Insert metal tines into each slot, making sure to leave enough room for them to vibrate freely.

5. Secure the tines using wood glue or other adhesive.

6. Place the two pieces of wood back together and secure them with screws.

7. Create a sound board by cutting two small holes in the top piece of wood.

8. Put a thin piece of soundboard material over the two holes and secure it using wood glue.

9. Add a few drops of oil to each tine to keep them well lubricated.

10. Finally, tune the thumb piano by adjusting the length and tension of the tines.