The Leader in Djembe, Cajon & Hand Drums for Beginners and Pros.

X8 Drums Blog

Incorporating the Thumb Piano into Modern Music Production

Incorporating the Thumb Piano into Modern Music Production

Introduction to the Thumb Piano The thumb piano, also known as the Kalimba or Mbira, is a small handheld instrument that produces melodic sounds when plucked with the thumbs. It has African origins and is gaining popularity in modern music production for its unique and soothing tones. The thumb piano consists of metal tines of varying lengths attached to a wooden board or a resonating chamber. Its portability and easy learning curve make it a versatile instrument suitable for various music …
16th Apr 2024

Why a Kalimba is Not an Mbira

“Kalimba” and “mbira” are often used interchangeably to describe a kalimba or an mbira. It can be pretty confusing when learning about either of these African instruments and even more confusing when you’re trying to buy one. To ensure you have the best experience when shopping for your new kalimba at X8 Drums, we thought we’d talk a bit about why a kalimba is not an mbira.The kalimba looks pretty similar to an mbira, and both instruments consist of a wooden soundboard with steel keys that pl …
20th Nov 2021 Kaitlin Meilert

Introduction to the High Tuned Kalimba at X8 Drums

In addition to mbiras, X8 Drums now offers kalimbas, so we brought Joel Laviolette back to talk about this other traditional African percussion instrument. Like the mbira you saw in our last video, this kalimba was made by Joel’s instructor in Zimbabwe. A new design, this kalimba is also built in tune with the regular high-tuned mbiras. A traditional instrument of the Shona people in Zimbabwe, kalimbas usually have only 15 keys, so they don’t have the full seven-note scale of a …
15th May 2014

Introduction to the Kalimba Tuned Mbira at X8 Drums

We recently introduced you to the traditional African mbira, a small instrument with a powerful tranquility. We think this unique percussion instrument is pretty cool and we'll soon be offering it at X8 Drums, so we asked percussionist Joel Laviolette to tell us more about the mbira. In the last  mbira video we shared with you, Joel demoed the mbira. (By the way, the song Joel played in that video was “Nhemamusasa,” one of the first songs people usually learn on the mbira.) In this …
14th May 2014