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.


also by Paul and Sue Bergstrom

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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
UncommonGoodsCedar Thumb Pianos
 
4.8

(based on 268 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (208)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (56)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 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 (13)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Parent (102), Enthusiast (55), Teacher (36), Collector (30), Student (15)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes (324), No (31)
    • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
    • Christmas or hanukkah (185), Birthday (43), Other (24), Father’s day (4), Anniversary (3)

Reviewed by 268 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Loved it! Exactly what I was looking for!

By 

from Modesto, Ca

About Me Novice

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Durable
  • Excellent Craftsmanship
  • Great Sound
  • Highly Responsive

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Jam Sessions
    • Practice

    Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

    He loved it! He has an assortment of different instruments and was excited to add this one. He loved that he could plug it into his amp and loop it over his guitar.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes
    • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
    • Christmas or Hanukkah

    Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

     
    5.0

    It is a beautiful piece and is actually in tune!

    By 

    from Homewood, IL

    About Me Novice

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

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

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Jam Sessions
      • Practice

      Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

      It's a beautiful piece and is already tuned.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • Yes
      • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
      • Christmas or Hanukkah

      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

       
      5.0

      Love this!

      By 

      from New york

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Excellent Craftsmanship
      • Great Sound

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

          Bought this for my husband and he loved it! If you're torn between the acoustic and electric, go with the electric, for an extra $15 it's worth it to have the option. Super fun to play around with, I'm considering getting one for myself too!

          • Was this a gift?:
          • Yes
          • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
          • Christmas or Hanukkah

          Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

           
          5.0

          Excellently tuned instrument

          By 

          from Alabama

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Durable
          • Excellent Craftsmanship
          • Great Sound

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • As a toy
            • Performance

            Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

            I played a thumb piano as a child but my husband had never seen one. Aside from its uniqueness,it has very high quality sound and workmanship.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • Yes
            • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
            • Christmas or Hanukkah

            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

             
            5.0

            Uncommon goods always has the best and most unique prosucra

            By 

            from Groton cr

            About Me Novice

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Excellent Craftsmanship
            • Great Sound
            • Unique

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Performance
              • Practice

              Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

              This gift was a prize for a game we play at Christmas It's a Traditon to hide a small green pickle in the Christmas tree and whomever finds it gets an extra gift The gift this year was your thumb harp I was pleased when eric won it as he is an African drummer and dancer and the instruments background was African

              • Was this a gift?:
              • Yes
              • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
              • Christmas or Hanukkah

              Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

               
              5.0

              Awesome Gift!!

              By 

              from Long Island NY

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Excellent Craftsmanship
              • Great Intonation

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Jam Sessions

                Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                beautifully made!

                • Was this a gift?:
                • Yes
                • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
                • Christmas or Hanukkah

                Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                 
                5.0

                Wonderful gift for any age or gender!

                By 

                from Woodstock, Ga.

                About Me Experienced

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Durable
                • Excellent Craftsmanship
                • Great Intonation
                • Great Sound

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • As a toy
                  • Jam Sessions
                  • Just another way to make music!

                  Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                  My son and a friend of his are both amateur but dedicated musicians. They both love anything that makes musical sounds. They didn't put them down for hours when they got them. A simple, well made piece that is very reasonably priced. Makes a great gift for any age or gender.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • Yes
                  • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
                  • Christmas or Hanukkah

                  Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                   
                  5.0

                  Love it!

                  By 

                  from Sunnyvale, CA

                  About Me Novice

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Durable
                  • Excellent Craftsmanship
                  • Great Sound

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                      This gift was given to a musician, and he was impressed. He also appreciated the high quality craftsmanship - and the amazing aroma of cedar! This is definitely a good gift for yourself or someone else.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • Yes
                      • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
                      • Christmas or Hanukkah

                      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                       
                      4.0

                      Fun Gift

                      By 

                      from North Grafton, Ma

                      About Me Experienced

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Durable
                      • Excellent Craftsmanship
                      • Highly Responsive

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                          My Husband loves the addition to our music collection. It is fun to use but the sound is similar to a high pitched doorbell when plugged into an amp. If you have a amp with multiple sounds then you will have fun playing with this. It is good quality and pretty to look at.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • Yes
                          • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
                          • Christmas or Hanukkah

                          Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                           
                          5.0

                          well crafted and fun to play!

                          By 

                          from Princeton, NJ

                          About Me Professional Musician

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

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

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Jam Sessions
                            • Performance

                            Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                            This is a very responsive and easy to play instrument. We immediately hooked it up to an amplifier and the sound was terrific. Both experienced musicians and novices will enjoy playing and performing on this kalimba.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • Yes
                            • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
                            • Christmas or Hanukkah

                            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                            Displaying reviews 1-10

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