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cannonball gourd thumb piano

by Paul and Sue Bergstrom $40.00
Handmade
Community Voted

As actual gourds are used to make this product, each one may vary slightly in size

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  • the story

Thumbs Up!

This petite instrument carries with it thousands of years of African musical tradition. Called a kalimba, mbira, mbila, or marímbula depending on the region in which it's played, the first version of this handheld thumb piano originated in Africa over 3,000 years ago! Lightweight and portable, the thumb piano was the chosen instrument of traveling troubadours, who would retell the history of their tribe in song.

Whether you use it to strike up your own story or to teach little ones about music, Paul and Sue Bergstrom's handcrafted thumb piano is the ideal instrument to carry a tune. Atop a beautiful, hollowed-out gourd are 8 numbered tines that correspond with traditional notes on the diatonic scale. The tines, or keys, are made of tempered spring steel that is hand-cut and rounded. To play, simply cradle the gourd in your hands and pluck the tines with your thumbs. Handmade in Blairsville, Georgia.

Includes easy-to-follow songbook filled with traditional melodies like "You are my sunshine," "Kumbaya," and "Happy Birthday."

  • details
Handmade
Community Voted
Item ID
23520
Made from
gourd, acrylic paint, nickel plated steel, baltic birch wood, steel stamped metal
Measurements
5" Diameter
Notes
Wipe with soft cloth as needed
  • the maker
Paul and Sue Bergstrom

Paul and Sue Bergstrom

Paul and Sue Bergstrom live in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia, at the foot of Cooks Mountain. Music was not initially in the picture as Paul cannot sing very well and Sue just enjoyed the radio. But a fateful trip to the Pension Mountain range and a chance meeting with Glenda Allison of Berryville, Arkansas brought both Paul and Sue to their mission of music making. Kalimbas, or Thumb Pianos, became their obsession along with teaching young and old alike the simple joys of making music.

When not building or designing something that makes sweet sounds, Paul can be found with a good book and Sue in her "Happy Place" creating necklaces and earrings from the leftover pieces of gourds and coconuts used in their musical instruments. collection

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  • reviews
  • q & a
  • voting

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO
 
4.8

(based on 62 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (52)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

97%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (47)
  • Lasting fun (42)
  • Stores easily (25)
  • Long lasting (18)
  • Good variety (15)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Art (16)
  • Long term use (11)
  • School (8)
  • Music (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Parent (23), Quality oriented (17), Educator (8), Budget shopper (7)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes (95), No (10)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (54)
    • Who was the recipient of this product?:
    • Other (27), Child (17), Husband (5), Self (5), Mother (3)
    • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
    • Christmas or hanukkah (29), Birthday (18), Other (8), Mother’s day (3)

Reviewed by 62 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Unique and it works!

By 

from Haymarket VA

About Me Quality Oriented

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Arrived Quickly
  • Attractive design
  • Great Sound

Cons

  • NONE

Best Uses

  • Display
  • Gifting
  • Party

Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

This was a going away gift for a coworker who plays guitar and piano. He loved it and immediately started playing a tune. I wanted something that would not be put on a shelf and forgotten. This hit a home run! Plus it is made right here in the USA.

  • Primary use:
  • Business
  • Was this a gift?:
  • Yes, Yes
  • Who was the recipient of this product?:
  • Other
  • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
  • Other

Comment on this review

 
4.0

Unique gift

By 

from Harlan, IN

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Unique gift
  • Unique Gift Nice Sound

Cons

  • No Solid Base

Best Uses

  • Musical instrument

Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

This was a gift for my grandson's birthday. It is unique and has a nice sound. It is a nice addition to his collection of musical instruments. That being said, I have a wish list:
I wish the ring stand or some kind of base was attached so it stood on its own without being wobbly. A flat base would make it more stable and easier to store.
And I wish the little metal bar displaying the numbers was more lined-up with the tines. It would be easier for little ones (and older non-musicians, too) to learn the fingering.

  • Primary use:
  • Personal
  • Was this a gift?:
  • Yes, Yes
  • Who was the recipient of this product?:
  • Child
  • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
  • Birthday

Comment on this review

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Unusual, but beautiful and fun gift

By 

from Ohio

About Me Educator

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Creative
  • Unusual
  • Unusual Creative

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Art
    • Conversation Piece

    Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

    I chose this gift for a music teacher who is leaving and going back to his own country. We wanted the gift to be "made in America" and also something to do with music. This turned out to be a wonderful gift for him. He loved it!

    • Primary use:
    • Personal
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes, Yes
    • Who was the recipient of this product?:
    • Other
    • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
    • Other

    Comment on this review

     
    4.0

    Ok looking fun little gift....

    By 

    from Houston tx

    About Me Quality Oriented

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Not Impressed With Look

      Best Uses

        Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

        Nice unusual gift, but quite dissappointed with the finish of the body, might have kept it for my children if i had more time to buy another birthday gift for my adult friend

        • Primary use:
        • Personal
        • Was this a gift?:
        • Yes, Yes
        • Who was the recipient of this product?:
        • Other
        • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
        • Birthday

        Comment on this review

         
        5.0

        So cool1

        By 

        from Colorado Springs, Co

        About Me Value Oriented

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Lasting Fun
        • Stores Easily

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Art

          Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

          Got as a gif for my brother in law. Might have played with it a little before I actually gave it too him. Hard to resist, good fun!(;

          • Primary use:
          • Personal
          • Was this a gift?:
          • Yes, Yes
          • Who was the recipient of this product?:
          • Other
          • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
          • Birthday

          Comment on this review

           
          5.0

          Very excited!

          By 

          from Los Angeles, CA

          About Me Parent

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Good Variety
          • Unique

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Music

            Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

            This is a gift for my son's friend who is very musical. He's a teen and loves video games and social media but I know he will be excited to spend time mastering this instrument. As with all of Uncommon Goods' products, it is well made and has a unique look.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • Yes
            • Primary use:
            • Personal
            • Who was the recipient of this product?:
            • Other
            • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
            • Birthday

            Comment on this review

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Fun musical gift

            By 

            from Manhattan, KS

            About Me Quality Oriented

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Lasting Fun

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

                Wonderful reaction from the recipient of this gift. She looked forward to playing it!

                • Primary use:
                • Personal
                • Was this a gift?:
                • Yes, Yes
                • Who was the recipient of this product?:
                • Other
                • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
                • Birthday

                Comment on this review

                 
                5.0

                Fun from the start

                By 

                from Chicago, il

                About Me Parent

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Easy To Use

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

                    Up and playing a tune within a few minutes. Fun

                    • Primary use:
                    • Personal
                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • Yes, Yes
                    • Who was the recipient of this product?:
                    • Child
                    • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
                    • Christmas or Hanukkah

                    Comment on this review

                     
                    5.0

                    Fun musical instrument

                    By 

                    from San Diego

                    About Me Value Oriented

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy To Use
                    • Lasting Fun

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Music

                      Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

                      Fun product

                      • Primary use:
                      • Personal
                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • Yes, Yes
                      • Who was the recipient of this product?:
                      • Father
                      • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
                      • Christmas or Hanukkah

                      Comment on this review

                       
                      5.0

                      Great Item and Perfect Gift

                      By 

                      from Omaha, NE

                      About Me Parent

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Easy To Use
                      • Lasting Fun
                      • Long Lasting
                      • Stores Easily

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about CANTEEN GOURD THUMB PIANO:

                          A lovely item - well made, fun to use, and a unique gift. Highly recommended.

                          • Primary use:
                          • Personal
                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • Yes, Yes
                          • Who was the recipient of this product?:
                          • Child
                          • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
                          • Christmas or Hanukkah

                          Comment on this review

                          Displaying reviews 1-10

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                          Q and A

                          When our community voted on this product, some also shared comments - read them below:

                          303votes, 35 comments

                          Cassie, UncommonGoods Community Moderator

                          Our buyers have been having a blast product testing this pretty little piano. If you'd love to put your thumbs to work playing this petite percussion instrument, give this design a thumbs up here first!

                          Adrienne
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          I would love to own one of these for my daughter who has a growing collection of African instruments.

                          karen
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Love it!

                          Nancy
                          Vote: Thumbs down!

                          I'm sure this is really cool....for a few minutes. Would it be enjoyed every day? Probably not. Whether or not I'd have it on hand for kids to play with would definitely depend upon the price as there are inexpensive, safe alternatives made just for kids.

                          Matthew
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          This looks interesting but it would be helpful to have a card on how it works!

                          Barbara
                          Vote: Thumbs down!

                          Unnecessary fluff--interesting for a minute

                          stephanie
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          This l

                          Joyce
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          For anyone interested in music

                          Allen
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Hope to see this real soon.

                          Rebecca
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Looks cool

                          Lef
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          This would be great in my classroom.

                          Liz
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          I want one now

                          BR
                          Vote: Thumbs down!

                          I like that it is made in the US but I would rather support people in the area where the instrument originates.

                          Juliane
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          I would love to buy this for my "band" of kids I work with!

                          Shay
                          Vote: Thumbs down!

                          I just can't imagine that this would be fun for long, just like someone else mentioned. I also agree that unless it is really inexpensive, it is probably not something I would let my kids play with.

                          Faye

                          Though not musically inclined, I think I could pluck out some interesting tunes without having to take lessons.

                          Linda
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Love to buy this for birthday gift for friend who just visited Africa!

                          Noel
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          I would buy this as a gift for my musical friends.

                          Shanna
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Hope it's reasonably priced!

                          lyndell
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          i'd love to have one if it is affordable. many of your items are lovely but pricey.

                          Scott
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          I already have a song from Zimbabwe called Taireva to learn on a thumb piano.

                          Sally
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          I love the look of this instrument and would definitely buy it for my family.

                          Virginia
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          This is cute, great design and would be appealing to grown ups and kids.

                          Pamela
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          very cool!

                          Amy
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Sounds really interesting. Would be a good gift for someone interested in music.

                          Steve
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Musical instruments are always a good idea.

                          Ann
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          I think music is an integral part of life. This would be a neat way to introduce little ones to it.

                          Roger
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Neat and interesting. When was the first time you've ever seen anything like this, nevermind the last time!

                          Susan
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Absolutely. In fact, please seek out more of these kinds of world instruments. I think people would enjoy.

                          Leslie
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          I'd love to own this. Had one a long time ago and it was fun. I miss t, it got lost in moving.

                          Lorraine
                          Vote: Thumbs up!

                          Would be really fun to get or give

                          Rhea

                          This looks great and really fun to use!

                          Abbie

                          I think this is dumb.

                          Debbie

                          Very Unique I would buy this for a myself or gift it if the price was right.

                          judy

                          Love this!! I would buy in a heartbeat!!

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