Half Shell Gourd Thumb Piano

Carry your tunes to go with this traditional gourd thumb piano.

$40.00

Paul and Sue Bergstrom created by

Paul and Sue Bergstrom

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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."

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
gourd, birch wood, steel
Measurements
8" L x 6" W x 5" D
Care
Wipe with soft cloth as needed.
Item ID
24981

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.

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

Please note: This item is not available to ship outside of the U.S.


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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

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
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 reviewHelp Icon

     
    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 reviewHelp Icon

       
      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 reviewHelp Icon

         
        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 reviewHelp Icon

           
          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 reviewHelp Icon

             
            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 reviewHelp Icon

               
              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 reviewHelp Icon

                 
                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 reviewHelp Icon

                  (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 reviewHelp Icon

                     
                    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 reviewHelp Icon

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