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
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.


also by Paul and Sue Bergstrom

you might also like

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
UncommonGoodsCedar Thumb Pianos
 
4.8

(based on 286 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (225)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (56)

  • 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 (21)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Parent (102), Enthusiast (55), Teacher (36), Collector (30), Experienced (16)
    • 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 286 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

Back to top

Previous | Next »

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

/love this

By 

from Merritt Island Florida

About Me Novice

Verified Buyer

Pros

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

Cons

    Best Uses

    • As a toy
    • Jam Sessions

    Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

    Unique gift

    Service and delivery comments:

    Fast delivery

     
    5.0

    Great gift for guitar enthusiast

    By 

    from Spencer, MA

    About Me Experienced

    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 Cedar Thumb Pianos:

      One of the most unique gifts that you can purchase for a musician

       
      5.0

      Enjoyed by all

      By 

      from San Jose CA

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • As a toy

        Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

        Our first response to the thumb piano was enthusiastic. It sounded good and was easily playable right out of the package. Our son liked the cedar wood. We were all surprised at how many songs or identifiable phrases can be played in one octave. Of course we don't know how it will last in the long term...hopefully, all will be well!

         
        5.0

        Ok - he's having too much fun...

        By 

        from Detroit, MI

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Excellent Craftsmanship
        • Great Intonation
        • Great Sound

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Performance

          Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

          My husband is a professional guitarist who loves to play around with different instruments. I picked the one that could be plugged into a sound system and he's been playing around with it quite a bit. Amazing sound from such a tiny thing.

           
          5.0

          Very nice product

          By 

          from Daytona beach, fl

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Excellent Craftsmanship
          • Great Intonation
          • Great Sound

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • As a toy
            • Jam Sessions
            • Practice

            Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

            I sent this to my 9 year old music product nephew. Extremely well received

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Unique musical addition

            By 

            from Mount Pleasant, MI

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Durable
            • Excellent Craftsmanship
            • Great Intonation
            • Great Sound

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Jam Sessions
              • Performance

              Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

              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.

               
              5.0

              Awesome

              By 

              from Los Angeles

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

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

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Jam Sessions
                • Performance
                • Practice

                Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                Love this thumb piano! Great craftsmanship which produces an awesome sound.

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                3.0

                Did not receive any music

                By 

                from Conifer, CO

                About Me Experienced

                Verified Buyer

                Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                She seems very interested but we did not receive any music or instruction with it so she doesn't know what to do with it. Can we get some guidance on how to enjoy this product, please?

                Thank you

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                What a Hit!

                By 

                from Fly over state

                About Me Experienced

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Affordable
                • Excellent Craftsmanship
                • Fun!
                • Great Intonation
                • Great Sound

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Group Fun
                  • Performance
                  • Practice

                  Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                  I got this thumb piano for my SIL for Christmas because he is a percussionist and is always tapping out a beat on any inanimate (or even animate) object. I thought he'd enjoy playing w it at work while thinking, etc. He loved it, and everyone under 40 who came over for the holidays immediately picked it up and played it. There was a line developing to use it!

                  (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great Kalimba

                  By 

                  from NYC

                  About Me Experienced

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

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

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Jam Sessions
                    • Performance
                    • Practice

                    Comments about UncommonGoods Cedar Thumb Pianos:

                    It sounds great, and adding effects to it makes it very versatile.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Displaying reviews 1-10

                    Back to top

                    Previous | Next »

                    Related Products
                    Metal Riffs. Play power chords worthy of the ...
                    Description:
                    Metal Riffs. Play power chords worthy of the history books with these upcycled antique metal guitar picks. Handcrafted in Nashville by Dustin and Stephanie Headrick using metals collected from around the world, each pick offers one-of-a-kind character. Each set will ...
                    Play the Hits. Dustin & Stephanie Headrick takes ...
                    Description:
                    Play the Hits. Dustin & Stephanie Headrick takes an upbeat approach to upcycling with this handcrafted guitar pick that is made from a retired cymbal. Each coin's distinctive raised grooves gives these picks an easy-to-grip texture, so they'll stay on ...
                    Heart Songs. Breathe in, breathe out with this ...
                    Description:
                    Heart Songs. Breathe in, breathe out with this small meditative flute, beautifully designed to be worn as a necklace. This copper and brass pendant plays therapeutic tones with simple inhales and exhales through the mouth. Offering a stress-reducing sensation by ...
                    Wrap Music. Take the Beach Boys to the ...
                    Description:
                    Wrap Music. Take the Beach Boys to the beach or the Monkeys on a road trip with this go-anywhere Bluetooth® speaker. Inspired by hand-held, vintage transistor radios, the clever design integrates an antenna into the flexible, snap bracelet-style hanger. Eager ...
                    Rock Out. Give your songs a bit of ...
                    Description:
                    Rock Out. Give your songs a bit of added fire with this handmade guitar pick by Seth Maranuk, crafted from lustrous obsidian, a volcanic rock formed by the rapid cooling of lava. Highlighted by an arrowhead silhouette that provides superior ...