How To Take Care Of Your Kalimba (Cleaning & Maintenance)

Every instrument requires a gentle care to perform good and sound good as always. There are proper ways to keep them neat and clean. For percussion instruments, tuning is required before performing. And for some, an additional attention should be given to keep it a reliable music buddy.

The simple and handy kalimba also requires special care to remain good performing. Although it can fit one’s pocket, the instrument still needs some special steps to maintain its lovely sound. Here are some that you should take into consideration:

1.) Avoid exposing and storing your kalimba in humid temperature

Most kalimba, especially the authentic ones, are made from wood. Like guitar and other wooden instruments, we should always monitor the temperature of the places where we store our kalimba. Woods react to humid temperature, especially some types of wood. Although manufacturers usually do not disclose the kind of wood they use in making the instrument, there are some general guidelines that you can follow.

Always make sure that before you store you kalimba inside a cabinet or storage, the instrument is dry and free from any stain of fluid. This impurity can react to humid temperature and may result to damaging your kalimba. It also advisable to check every now and then if your kalimba is free from dust so that the wood can ‘breathe’ well and will not get more brittle that may affect the sound of your kalimba.

2.) Tune your kalimba every once in a while

Although kalimba’s tines look fixed, sometimes, they can be misaligned and will create a ‘buzzing’ sound instead of the signature sweet sound of the instrument. This problem requires “tuning” your kalimba again.

First, you can try to slide the buzzing tines of the kalimba. This could help the tine to be re-tuned o realigned and eventually ditch the buzzing sound. If this doesn’t work, you can use a paper and slide it between the tine and bridge. Let the tine settle and tear off the remaining paper.

3.) Moisturize the wood

Again, wood is the main material to make a kalimba. And as we all know, wood is more susceptible to some damages. However, you can make sure that the wood of your kalimba remains healthy through moisturizing it.

You can apply shea butter oil or wood conditioner to wooden part of the kalimba and let it sit for half an hour. Then, wipe off the moisturizer you applied and should be repeated after every month to avoid cracks and to maintain the glow of the wood.

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