Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano

Strike up a song with Paul and Sue Bergstrom's thumb piano handcrafted from a hollowed-out gourd.

$40.00

Paul and Sue Bergstrom created by

Paul and Sue Bergstrom

read more about the maker

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."

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, acrylic paint, nickel plated steel, baltic birch wood, steel stamped metal
Measurements
5" Diameter
Care
Wipe with soft cloth as needed
Item ID
23520

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.

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


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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
UncommonGoodsCannonball Gourd Thumb Piano
 
4.8

(based on 108 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (92)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (14)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

98%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (74)
  • Lasting fun (69)
  • Stores easily (40)
  • Long lasting (29)
  • Good variety (25)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Art (22)
  • Long term use (21)
  • School (10)
  • Music (4)
  • Jam sessions (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Parent (37), Quality oriented (31), Educator (10), Budget shopper (9), Novice (4)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes (136), No (11)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (88), Business (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Happy present for 7 yr old

Enjoyed watching our newly minted 7 year old grandson open his present via FaceTime. It was the first present he opened at the end of the long day and he was delighted. He...Read complete review

Enjoyed watching our newly minted 7 year old grandson open his present via FaceTime. It was the first present he opened at the end of the long day and he was delighted. He knew, instantly what it was and how to use it. He spent over a half hour on FaceTime working out a song from the provided song book. In the end, he said, "that took a long time, but, I did it!" with obvious joy! Then on to eat a delayed dinner! Thank you!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Tinny sound

Played songs as written in booklet. Tinny sound at 1. the directions to fix the problem are included. I would have thought that the artisan who made the thumb piano would be sure...Read complete review

Played songs as written in booklet. Tinny sound at 1. the directions to fix the problem are included. I would have thought that the artisan who made the thumb piano would be sure it was tuned before shipping. Sorely disappointed. Will fix the problem before I give it to my grandson.

Reviewed by 108 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Ridiculously Fun

By 

from Richmond, Texas

About Me Novice

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Durable
  • Excellent Craftsmanship

Cons

  • Out of tune

Best Uses

  • Fun!

Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

The musical gourd was a nostalgic purchase. It reminds me of a delightful instrument my second grade teacher kept in the classroom. It is sturdy and attractive, and just the right shape and weight to fit nicely in my hands. It comes with a simple songbook that you can master with a few tries. It is a bit out of tune, and I have not yet tackled the tuning process to see how that works. When I walk by it I can't help but pick it up and plink my way through the songs. It puts a great big smile on my face every time I play it.

 
4.0

Cool gft for grandson

By 

from PA

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Unique

Cons

  • Wears Easily

Best Uses

  • Conversation

Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

he is a musician and loves unique things.

Service and delivery comments:

yes

 
5.0

Worth EVERY penny! And, you cannot beat the quality!

By 

from Mount Vernon, WA

About Me Novice

Verified Buyer

Pros

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

Cons

    Best Uses

    • As a toy
    • Jam Sessions
    • Performance
    • Practice

    Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

    From the moment he saw it,...he has been playing it constantly! I appreciated the quality of the instrument...and its sound is great! Thank you for the joy it will bring!

    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Excellent gift for musician grandson

    By 

    from san diego, california

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Durable
    • Excellent Craftsmanship
    • Great Intonation
    • Great Sound

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

        Even after reading the reviews, I was concerned about giving this to my grandson who is an excellent pianist. He will be going away to college next year and will not be majoring in music. I thought it might be something fun for him to have around.
        He was tinkering with it the entire afternoon! He indicated that it had good instructions for tuning it and that it was a quality item. This was high praise from him. thank you.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • Yes
         
        5.0

        The perfect gift for any musician!

        By 

        from Auburn, CA

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

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

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Jam Sessions
          • Performance

          Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

          My teenage grandson used this Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano in his music Youtube performance as an accompaniment to his other instruments. He got it for Christmas and was playing it the next day! It was the perfect gift.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • Yes
           
          5.0

          Great product

          By 

          from georgia

          About Me Novice

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

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

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

              he loved it

              • Was this a gift?:
              • Yes

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              I would buy this product again!!!

              By 

              from Broussard, Louisiana

              About Me Novice

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

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

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Jam Sessions
                • Practice

                Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

                This was the best gift for my dads 70th birthday! He is a music wonder! Plays many instruments and loves anything unique like this! He played that night at his party and the next day was learning songs! It was a very special gift for a very special person in my life! My dad is not easy to buy for but this website is now my go to for anyone I need to buy for!!! I love all the products and have purchased quite a few for different people and for different occasions! It's gifts they don't even know they always wanted!!
                Thanks for making my gift ideas so special and personal!
                Truly a happy costumer that will keep coming back!
                Stacey Boone

                • Was this a gift?:
                • Yes
                 
                5.0

                Love the thumb piano!!

                By 

                from Reston, VA

                About Me Experienced

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

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

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

                    This is a very well made and beautiful sounding little piano. I have played it every day since it arrived and love it. I would not allow it to be used as a toy for a small child. Older children who can handle things properly would enjoy it though. I'm thinking of buying another one....maybe a pentatonic.

                     
                    5.0

                    Smiles

                    By 

                    from Grand Rapids, MI

                    Verified Buyer

                    Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

                    Our son had never seen anything like this before; good to get him an unique instrument. He was able to play it without problems and like the sound of the instrument.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • Yes

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    For the Musician that has everything

                    By 

                    from orlando florida

                    About Me Parent

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy To Use
                    • Good Variety
                    • Lasting Fun

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Art

                      Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

                      I have a musical artsy daughter and had no idea what to get her. She loved this and plays it on a regular basis. It sits on the counter and she plays whenever she has a free moment. I believe it decompresses her.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • Yes

                      Displaying reviews 1-10

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