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half shell gourd thumb piano

by Paul and Sue Bergstrom $40.00
Handmade
Community Voted

Because real gourds are used to make this product, each one may vary slightly in size.

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  • the story

Tunes to Go

This 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 half gourd in your hands and pluck the tines with your thumbs. The wrist strap is useful for keeping the gourd close by, or for displaying the beautiful instrument on the wall when you're not using it. Handmade in Blairsville, Georgia.

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

Unfortunately, this item cannot ship outside of the United States at this time.

  • details
Handmade
Community Voted
Item ID
24981
Made from
gourd, birch wood, steel
Measurements
8" L x 6" W x 5" D
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
HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO
 
4.7

(based on 11 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fun (10)
  • Easy to use (9)
  • Interactive (6)
  • Promotes learning (6)
  • Effective demonstration (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Gift (11)
  • Home (6)
  • School (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Parent (6), Student (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes (18)
    • Who was the recipient of this product?:
    • Child (6), Other (5)
    • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
    • Christmas or hanukkah (7)

Reviewed by 11 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-10

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3.0

good sound

By 

from Olympic Peninsula, WA

About Me Student

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Promotes Learning

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Gift

    Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

    simple music, takes awhile to figure it out..but deeps one figuring it out for the next time you try

    • 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

     
    5.0

    Unique, Beautiful, and Fun!

    By 

    from Omaha, NE

    About Me Parent

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Fun
    • Interactive
    • Promotes Learning

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Gift

      Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

      A wonderful item - beautifully made, very unique, and enjoyable to use. My teenage daughter loved it.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • 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

      Great gift for my 13 year old grandson!

      By 

      from Daniel Island, SC

      About Me Student

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fun

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift

        Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

        My grandson loves his thumb piano. He had never seen one and has had a great time learning to play it. He says it's one of him best Christmas presents ever! I am impressed with the quality and workmanship. I imagine that I will be ordering a more advanced instrument as soon as he masters this one.

        • 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

         
        4.0

        Gourd Thumb Piano

        By 

        from Morrison, Illinois

        About Me Collector, Hobbyist

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Transport
        • Easy To Use
        • Fun
        • Interactive

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Home

          Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

          Gourd Thumb Piano is great to carry to a gathering and just play with

          • Was this a gift?:
          • Yes
          • Who was the recipient of this product?:
          • Other
          • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
          • Christmas or Hanukkah

          Comment on this review

           
          5.0

          Perfectly unique Gift for a music lover

          By 

          from Newark, OH

          About Me Parent

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Effective Demonstration
          • Fun

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Gift

            Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

            This gift was unique. It seemed to bring joy to the young lady that received it. Quality item. I will be visiting this website in the future. Thanks!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • Yes
            • Who was the recipient of this product?:
            • Other
            • For what occasion did you purchase this product?:
            • Christmas or Hanukkah

            Comment on this review

             
            5.0

            A big surprise

            By 

            from Easton, PA

            About Me Collector, Hobbyist, Parent, Student, Teacher

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Effective Demonstration
            • Fun
            • Interactive
            • Promotes Learning

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Gift
              • Home
              • School

              Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

              This was such an unexpected surprise for my 14 year old granddaughter her twin sister wants one. Very nice quality and unique for anyone who enjoys music.

              • 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

              Loved It!

              By 

              from Nevada, Missouri

              About Me Parent

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Fun

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Gift
                • School

                Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

                Purchased for a son who enjoys interesting and unusual musical instruments. He was thrilled with this gift. His dad and brother also had to try it out. Easy to use, with simple and clear instructions.

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

                Comment on this review

                 
                5.0

                The second one I have bought.

                By 

                from New York, NY

                About Me Parent

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Easy To Use
                • Fun
                • Interactive
                • Promotes Learning

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Gift
                  • Home

                  Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

                  I purchased a thumb piano earlier this year for our young grandsons as an interesting addition to the musical instruments our family members play when we are together. Our 36 year old son, who is an accomplished musican, enjoyed it so much that I decided to send him his very own for Christmas.

                  • 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

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great Gift for any Musician!

                  By 

                  from North Port, FL

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Effective Demonstration
                  • Fun
                  • Interactive

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Gift
                    • Home
                    • Office

                    Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

                    My brother is a musucian and he LOVED this gift!

                    • 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

                    Thumb Piano

                    By 

                    from Long Island, NY

                    About Me Parent

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy To Use
                    • Fun
                    • Promotes Learning

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Gift
                      • Home
                      • School

                      Comments about HALF SHELL GOURD THUMB PIANO:

                      I purchased this for my children and grandchildren who love to sing and make music when we are all together. This is a good addition and can be used by young and old alike. The sound is good and it is easy to learn to play simple tunes.

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

                      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:

                      8votes, 1 comments

                      Cassie, UncommonGoods

                      This charming thumb piano is made from an actual gourd! Check out the product story to learn more, then tell us if it has your vote.

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