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
Ingredients
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 in the US:
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 114 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (97)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (15)

  • 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)
  • Jam sessions (7)
  • Music (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Parent (37), Quality oriented (31), Educator (10), Budget shopper (9), Novice (7)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes (136), No (11)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (88), Business (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

I would buy this product again!!!

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...Read complete review

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

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 114 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Love it!

By 

from Oak forest Illinois

About Me Novice

Verified Buyer

Pros

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

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Jam Sessions
    • Performance
    • Practice

    Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

    My daughter uses it for fun. She is a percussionist at school so she loves to sit around and make music with her hands. Perfect gift for her to do this with.

     
    5.0

    Unique and Fun Musical Gift

    By 

    from Washburn, WI

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Durable
    • Excellent Craftsmanship
    • Great Intonation

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

        This is a very fun gift for people who have little music background. A chance to make music.

         
        5.0

        Secret Santa found a great gift.

        By 

        from Hesperia, CA

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

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

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Entertainment and lots of fun.
          • Jam Sessions

          Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

          Nothing negative about this gift. He will love it. So will everyone else.

           
          4.0

          Great gift idea for the hard to buy for.

          By 

          from Portland, Oregon

          About Me Novice

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

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

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Jam Sessions
            • Performance
            • Practice

            Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

            Well made and something different larger than I thought but perfect for leaving out as a conversation starter.

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            I would purchase item again

            By 

            from Mississauga, Canada

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

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

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

                Instrument will be added to a collection of unique musical instruments purchased all around the world. Has a good sound

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                A beautiful gift!

                By 

                from Kansas City, MO

                About Me Novice

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Jam Sessions
                    • to soothe your soul

                    Comments about UncommonGoods Cannonball Gourd Thumb Piano:

                    My sister-in-law says it is just beautiful. Hopefully she will use it for jam sessions or just gently play as she sits on her patio. Whatever helps heal her soul.

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    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 2 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

                          Displaying reviews 1-10

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