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
Ingredients
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.


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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
UncommonGoodsCedar Thumb Pianos
 
4.8

(based on 296 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (234)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (57)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 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 (25)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Parent (102), Enthusiast (55), Teacher (36), Collector (30), Experienced (19)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes (332), No (32)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Unique musical addition

My boyfriend writes, records, and mixes his own music. I wanted to gift him something that would add a unique sound to some of his songs. I went with he electric version so...Read complete review

My boyfriend writes, records, and mixes his own music. I wanted to gift him something that would add a unique sound to some of his songs. I went with he electric version so he could easily connect it up for recording. He loves it! He also loves to do little mini acoustic jam outs while we are burning time.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Poor Packaging

This is a musical instrument, not a gift card.
It was not boxed or bubblewrapped; it was sealed in a flimsy flat corrugated paper wrapping where it could be crushed by any other...Read complete review

This is a musical instrument, not a gift card.
It was not boxed or bubblewrapped; it was sealed in a flimsy flat corrugated paper wrapping where it could be crushed by any other packages being delivered.I believe the craftsperson did their part to tune it and that it was jarred in transit.
I called the maker to seek tuning information which they were helpful with, however, they also said that if I was unable to re-tune it that they would do it free of charge as long as I picked up shipping charges both ways, i. e. 3 x shipping!
I'm glad I got it back in tune but suggested the maker have a conversation with Uncommon Goods on the proper way to ship musical instruments.

Reviewed by 296 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Fun Surprise for the music lover!

By 

from Cincinnati, OH

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

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

Cons

    Best Uses

    • As a toy
    • Fun way to fidget
    • Jam Sessions
    • Performance
    • Practice

    Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

    Gave this as a gift to our adult son, who loves music and plays several instruments. He LOVED it! Fun way for him to fidget and make music at the same time. Great way to release some stress too!

     
    5.0

    WONDERFUL TONE!

    By 

    from VA

    About Me Novice

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Easy To Hold
    • Excellent Craftsmanship
    • Gets Addictive! You Don't Want To Put It Down.
    • Great Intonation
    • Great Sound

    Cons

    • Needs to Come With More Songs

    Best Uses

      Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

      Easy to hold and use. We are Hams, so I thought this would help with getting a rhythm to Morse Code and using a Key to increase speed. Don't know if it has because we're just having so much fun playing it as it is.

       
      5.0

      A successful gift!

      By 

      from Elgin, IL

      About Me Novice

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Jam Sessions
        • Performance

        Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

        Electric thumb piano was a hit! From the minute he opened the package, he knew right away what it was, and started experimenting with sounds and riffs. At first, the tones were very soft, until he put it on the table, which seemed to amplify the sounds. Because there was a room full of people, he didn't plug it in, but he did walk around with it, strumming.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Fantastic little piece to play with friends and musicians

        By 

        from Minneapolis, MN

        About Me Professional Musician

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Excellent Craftsmanship
        • Great Intonation
        • Great Sound

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Jam Sessions
          • Practice

          Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

          My niece is a music major and very talented. She likes making music videos with instruments I find for her. This one will surely be a hit! I can post a pic when we play music together at Christmas!

           
          4.0

          My elementary school age niece appreciated acoustic version

          By 

          from Maryland

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Excellent Craftsmanship

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

              It makes a nice gift.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Everyone can be a musician

              By 

              from New Orleans LA

              About Me Novice

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

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

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                  This little instrument is so calming and helpful when unwinding from a long day.

                   
                  5.0

                  Love love love!

                  By 

                  from Easton, PA

                  About Me Experienced

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

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

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Learn new instrument

                    Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                    I play several instruments and I sing. This thumb piano is great. It's beautiful with or without the amp. I would say a drawback is you can't play it that well if you have nice fingernails. Males probably don't havery as much of an issue, but when I tried it out the first time (I have nice nails right now) it was a bit sloppy.

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    One of the BEST items I've ever purchased-absolutely LOVE IT

                    By 

                    from North Dakota

                    About Me Novice

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Durable
                    • Excellent Craftsmanship
                    • Great Intonation
                    • Great Sound

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • overall enjoyment of playing/making my own music
                      • Practice

                      Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                      This is the coolest little music device and it is made incredibly well. The cedar smell is amazing. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to play the thumb piano since I can't really read notes and am not musically gifted. A song booklet is included and is written according to the numbers on the thumb piano, not musical notes, so it is very easy to learn. I'm totally obsessed with this little instrument. If you enjoy music and have always wanted to "create your own", give this a try. You'll be glad you did!

                       
                      5.0

                      Just what I was looking for

                      By 

                      from N. St. Paul, Mn

                      About Me Experienced

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

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

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Jam Sessions
                        • Performance

                        Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                        I know my nephew has many different sound devices that changes the sound of his guitars and bass this could be a fun instrument to tinker with for that unusual sound to add to his metal band

                         
                        5.0

                        What a perfect unusual gift!

                        By 

                        from NY

                        About Me Novice

                        Verified Reviewer

                        Pros

                        • Excellent Craftsmanship
                        • Great Sound

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • As a toy

                          Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                          I'm looking forward to hearing my son play.

                          Displaying reviews 1-10

                          Back to top

                          Previous | Next »

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