The Best Hokema Kalimbas from My Personal Collection

Welcome to my comprehensive review comparison of the Hokema Kalimba range! Or at least the 6 I own. As a Kalimba fan, particularly those made by Hokema, I’m here to provide you with an in-depth analysis and comparison of 6 thumb piano instruments from the Hokema range, including the Sansula Renaissance. From its origins and construction to its unique features and playing techniques, we will cover everything you need to know about the Hokema Kalimba. Let’s dive in!

My collection of Hokema Kalimbas including the Sansula, B17, B11, B9 and B7 Electros and the B5

Introduction to Hokema Kalimbas Comparison

SansulaB17B11 melodyB9B7B5
No of Tines91711975
TuningA minor 
A, C, C, A, A, F, E, E, B
D, B, G, E, C, A, F, D, C, E, G, B, D, F, A, C, E 
G, A, E, D, C, G, D, F#, B, A
A, C, C, A, A, F, E, E, B
Ab, C, F, F, C
MaterialsCherrywood Block
Beech Frame
REMO Drum Skin
Blackcherry WoodBlackcherry WoodBlackcherry WoodBlackcherry WoodBlackcherry Wood
Dimensions7.8″ x 6,1″ x 2,6″6.9″x 7″x 1.6″5.5″x 4.1″x 2.4″4.8″ x 3.6″ x 1.4″4.8″ x 3.6″ x 1.4″4″ x 2.8″ x 1.4″ 
Hokema Sansula Renaissance

Sansula Renaissance A Minor $208

Introducing the Hokema Kalimba Sansula Renaissance, a fusion of the captivating Kalimba and resonating Sansula. Handcrafted with precision, this instrument delivers exceptional sound quality, and exquisite craftsmanship.

Hokema B17 Kalimba

Hokema B17 C Major $149

Hokema, known for its high-quality, handcrafted musical instruments, offers the B17 C Major Kalimba, which is highly versatile and intuitive for beginners and advanced players.

Hokema B11 Kalimba

Hokema B11 Melody G-Major $81

The Hokema B11 Kalimba Melody is a handcrafted thumb piano known for its exceptional quality and is suitable for musicians of all levels. It offers a versatile melodic range, a G-Major tuning, and an ergonomic design for comfortable playing.

Hokema B9 Electro Pro

B9 Electro A-Minor $119

The Hokema Kalimba B9 Electro is an electrically amplified thumb piano tracing its roots in traditional African music. Meticulous craftsmanship and stringent tuning of its metal keys deliver enchanting rhythms.

Hokema B7 Electro Kalimba

B7 Electro C-Pentatonic $119

The Hokema Kalimba B7 is a modern interpretation of the traditional African thumb piano, renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship, high-quality material, and excellent sound quality. Ideal for various music genres

Hokema B5 Pocket Kalimba $43

A small, travel-friendly kalimba instrument, the Hokema B5 is a great option. It’s also one of the best quality mini-kalimbas on the market, making it an excellent choice for beginner musicians.

✨ HOKEMA: Creating Musical Magic Since 1985 ✨ :Origins and History

🎶 A Melodic Journey 🌍

  • Founded in 1985, HOKEMA has become synonymous with exquisite musical instruments.
  • Nestled in the charming town of Walsrode, Germany, HOKEMA crafts unique and enchanting sound wonders: the Kalimba and Sansula.
  • Founder Peter Hokema’s passion for exploring diverse instruments blossomed during his music studies, leading him to discover the captivating world of traditional African plucked instruments.

🎵 The Resonant Tale of the Sansula 🌌

  • In 2001, a breakthrough occurred when Peter Hokema unveiled the extraordinary Sansula.
  • A mesmerizing creation, the Sansula features an oval wooden frame adorned with a drum skin, within which a small kalimba joyfully sways.
  • The ethereal sounds emitted by this enchanting instrument captivated all who heard it, leading to its patent and subsequent acclaim.

💫 The Kalimba: A Harmonious Delight 🎶

  • HOKEMA’s second-generation family business, now comprising 13 talented artisans, has become a world leader in crafting beautiful and accessible kalimbas in various models.
  • Handcrafted with utmost care and attention to detail, these kalimbas are made exclusively from exquisite cherry wood sourced from German suppliers.
  • The alluring tones of the intoned scales resonate with warm, soft, and gentle harmony, both on their own and in harmony with other instruments.

🌿 Harmonizing with Nature 🌞

  • HOKEMA embraces sustainability and generates energy for its production facility in Walsrode through a resource-saving photovoltaic system installed on its roof.
  • By prioritizing environmentally friendly practices, HOKEMA ensures its instruments not only produce beautiful sounds but also contribute to a greener world.

Construction and Design

The Hokema Kalimba stands out for its exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. It is meticulously constructed using high-quality materials, ensuring durability and excellent sound resonance. The body of the kalimba is made from sustainably sourced solid wood, providing a warm and rich tone.

The metal tines, which are responsible for producing the distinct sound of the kalimba, are precisely cut and carefully tuned. This attention to detail allows for a harmonious blend of notes and ensures a delightful playing experience for musicians of all skill levels.

Unique Features

  1. Resonator Box: The Hokema Kalimba features a resonator box, which enhances the sound projection and amplifies the instrument’s natural tone. This innovative design element sets it apart from other kalimbas on the market.
  2. Tine Layout: The arrangement of the metal tines on the Hokema Kalimba is strategically designed to facilitate easy playing. The notes are intuitively placed, allowing for effortless navigation across the instrument and enabling beginners to learn and play beautiful melodies quickly.
  3. Customizable Sound: One of the standout features of the Hokema Kalimba is its ability to be customized. The metal tines can be adjusted and tuned to suit individual preferences, allowing musicians to create unique sounds and explore different musical styles.

Playing Techniques

Mastering the Hokema Kalimba requires understanding and practising various playing techniques. Here are some commonly used techniques that can help you unlock the instrument’s full potential:

  1. Thumb Placement: Placing your thumbs gently on the metal tines and applying pressure produces the distinct sound of the kalimba. Experiment with different thumb positions to achieve the desired tonal quality.
  2. Melody and Chord Progressions: The Hokema Kalimba allows for the simultaneous playing of melodies and chords. Plucking specific tines with your thumbs can create captivating melodies while maintaining a harmonic foundation with accompanying chords.
  3. Rhythm and Percussion: Utilize the different surfaces of the kalimba body to create percussive sounds and rhythmic patterns. Combining thumb plucking with tapping techniques adds depth and rhythm to your playing.

Pros and Cons


  • Exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail
  • Customizable sound and tunable tines
  • Intuitive tine layout for easy playing
  • Resonator box for enhanced sound projection
  • A versatile instrument suitable for various musical styles


  • Relatively higher price compared to entry-level Kalimbas

Customer Reviews

Let’s take a look at what customers have to say about the Hokema Kalimba:

  • “The Hokema Kalimba has exceeded my expectations. The craftsmanship is exceptional, and the sound is simply mesmerizing.” – Jane D.
  • “As a beginner, I found the tine layout on the Hokema Kalimba incredibly intuitive. It allowed me to learn songs quickly and enjoy the instrument from the start.” – Michael R.


In conclusion, the Hokema Kalimba is a premier choice for musicians seeking a high-quality and versatile thumb piano. Its exceptional craftsmanship, customizable sound, and intuitive tine layout make it a top contender in the world of kalimbas. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, the Hokema Kalimba offers a delightful playing experience and a gateway to captivating musical journeys.

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