Cedar Thumb Pianos

Paul and Sue Bergstrom's modern take on a traditional African thumb piano boasts an amp-compatible design.

$30.00 - 50.00

Paul and Sue Bergstrom created by

Paul and Sue Bergstrom

read more about the maker

All Thumbs

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, cedar plank 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 instrument in your hands and pluck the tines with your thumbs. This modern version is also amp-compatible, so it's ready for band play-alongs and to satisfy all your sampling needs! Handmade in Blairsville, Georgia.

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

Click here to see how to connect electric version to an amplifier

US_GA

Made in Georgia

Paul and Sue Bergstrom

created by

Paul and Sue Bergstrom

location

Georgia

Nothing brings Paul and Sue Bergstrom more joy than sharing their love of music. The couple, who live in the mountains of north Georgia, craft Kalimbas—a type of thumb piano that originated in Africa—out of gourds and wood. When Paul creates an instrument, he works to "feel" the sound. "Only after my wife has installed the key set and tuned it do I get to hear the end result of my work," he says.

Aesthetic beauty is just as important, even when it can't be seen. A few years ago, Paul recalls a show where a young blind girl chose her own Kalimba. When she found her match, a cannonball gourd, she knew instantly. "She said, 'It's beautiful, I can feel it,'" shares Paul. "In that moment, my wife and I realized that what we were doing was very right."

Handmade Made in the USA
Made from
brass, nickel plated steel, baltic birch wood, steel stamped metal, Western red cedar
Measurements
6" L x 3" W x 2" D
Care
Use furniture polish to bring back wood luster
Notes
Acoustic and Electric versions function the same way - electric will simply be louder if connected to an amplifier
Please note, the Electric Thumb Piano does not come with an amp cord. Connection is a standard .25" jack.
Item ID
23519

Still haven't found the details you're looking for? Check out our Product Q&A!

Most of our items are in stock and will ship quickly. Orders for in-stock items placed before 5pm ET Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays, will ship:
Economy shipping:
within 8 days, arriving no later than the 9th business day after the order was placed.
Standard shipping:
within 4 days, arriving 5 business days after the order was placed.
Preferred shipping:
within 2 days, arriving 3 business days after the order was placed.
Expedited shipping:
within 1 day, arriving 2 business days after the order was placed.
Express shipping:
will ship the same day and arrive 1 business day later.


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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
UncommonGoodsCedar Thumb Pianos
 
4.8

(based on 283 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (222)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (56)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

99%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fun (213)
  • Easy to use (200)
  • Promotes learning (133)
  • Interactive (113)
  • Effective demonstration (62)

Cons

  • No cons (3)

Best Uses

  • Gift (198)
  • Home (110)
  • School (52)
  • Office (32)
  • Jam sessions (19)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Parent (102), Enthusiast (55), Teacher (36), Collector (30), Experienced (15)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes (332), No (32)
    • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
    • Christmas or hanukkah (188), Birthday (43), Other (25), Father’s day (4), Anniversary (3)

Reviewed by 283 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Ok - he's having too much fun...

By 

from Detroit, MI

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Excellent Craftsmanship
  • Great Intonation
  • Great Sound

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Performance

    Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

    My husband is a professional guitarist who loves to play around with different instruments. I picked the one that could be plugged into a sound system and he's been playing around with it quite a bit. Amazing sound from such a tiny thing.

     
    5.0

    Very nice product

    By 

    from Daytona beach, fl

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Excellent Craftsmanship
    • Great Intonation
    • Great Sound

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • As a toy
      • Jam Sessions
      • Practice

      Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

      I sent this to my 9 year old music product nephew. Extremely well received

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Unique musical addition

      By 

      from Mount Pleasant, MI

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Durable
      • Excellent Craftsmanship
      • Great Intonation
      • Great Sound

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Jam Sessions
        • Performance

        Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

        My boyfriend writes, records, and mixes his own music. I wanted to gift him something that would add a unique sound to some of his songs. I went with he electric version so he could easily connect it up for recording. He loves it! He also loves to do little mini acoustic jam outs while we are burning time.

         
        5.0

        Awesome

        By 

        from Los Angeles

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Excellent Craftsmanship
        • Great Intonation
        • Great Sound
        • Highly Responsive

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Jam Sessions
          • Performance
          • Practice

          Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

          Love this thumb piano! Great craftsmanship which produces an awesome sound.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          Did not receive any music

          By 

          from Conifer, CO

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

          She seems very interested but we did not receive any music or instruction with it so she doesn't know what to do with it. Can we get some guidance on how to enjoy this product, please?

          Thank you

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          What a Hit!

          By 

          from Fly over state

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Affordable
          • Excellent Craftsmanship
          • Fun!
          • Great Intonation
          • Great Sound

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Group Fun
            • Performance
            • Practice

            Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

            I got this thumb piano for my SIL for Christmas because he is a percussionist and is always tapping out a beat on any inanimate (or even animate) object. I thought he'd enjoy playing w it at work while thinking, etc. He loved it, and everyone under 40 who came over for the holidays immediately picked it up and played it. There was a line developing to use it!

             
            5.0

            Great Kalimba

            By 

            from NYC

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Durable
            • Excellent Craftsmanship
            • Great Intonation
            • Great Sound
            • Highly Responsive

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Jam Sessions
              • Performance
              • Practice

              Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

              It sounds great, and adding effects to it makes it very versatile.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No
              • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
              • Other

              (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great value and works well

              By 

              from DFW, Texas

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Durable
              • Excellent Craftsmanship
              • Great Sound

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Practice

                Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                Very good quality for the price. My son really has enjoyed learning about the kalimba.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • Yes

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Well made product

                By 

                from Sunnyvale

                About Me Novice

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Excellent Craftsmanship

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Great beginner musical instrument

                  Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                  Fun to play. Not as loud as xylophones. Okay for kids to have in the house.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • Yes

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great product

                  By 

                  from Swansea, Ma

                  About Me Novice

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Excellent Craftsmanship
                  • Great Sound

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • As a toy
                    • Performance

                    Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                    Beautiful craftsmanship and sound. Fun and easy to learn.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • Yes

                    Displaying reviews 1-10

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