I was around at a freinds house a couple of months ago and picked up a Kalimba and loved the sound. It was a in a pretty obscure tuning but sounded great. Have since discovered that odd (to the uninitiated westerner) tunings are common place and so have been making myself a mbira with a mixolydian tuning as that seems the most accessible. Im about 3/4 of the way through making the tines and have learnt a fair bit but, as is always the case, have learnt that there is a shed-load that I dont know!

It looks pretty simple from the outset but getting a good tine spacing for the scale is hard. Ive resorted to putting some lead solder on the backs just to pull the lower note range of the right thumb range within reasonable distance from the octave up.

To an african musician I know this probably sounds ridiculously anal already. Still the home brew mbira is sounding pretty good so far and I'm wondering if I can play some of my favourite tunes soon! I've added a couple of bottle caps that are buzzing nicely but am having some trouble with the ends of the 'bridge bar?' which seems to deaden the tone more than in the middle - stronger wire maybe?

Rickoradmin 22:58, February 29, 2012 (UTC)