Hokema B5 Kalimba Review – The Best Starter Kalimba

If you’re looking for a small, travel-friendly kalimba instrument, the B5 Pocket from Hokema Kalimbas is a great option. It’s also one of the best quality mini-kalimbas on the market, making it a great choice for beginner musicians.

In this review, I’ll look closely at the features of the Hokema B5 and see how it stacks up against other kalimbas in its price range, including direct comparisons from my own B5 to that of other mini-kalima instruments I have.

Introduction to the Hokema B5 Kalimba and its features

MaterialSolid American black cherry wood corpus
Measurements4 x 2.8 x 1.4 inch
TuningAb, C, F, F, C
Price$43.00 Correct as 16/7/2023 – check below

If the first thing you are thinking is $43 feels. a little on the steep side, let me assure you, what you get is a great quality instrument that is fun and easy to learn.

Liken it to ukeleles for example, sure you can go buy a $20 Ukelele, but until you are spending upwards of $100, you’re not even starting to enter the realms of a half decent, sounding, instrument.

The Hokema B5 Kalimba is an instrument with a bright, cheerful sound tuned to F. Small and lightweight, the Hokema b5 kalimba is the perfect choice for musicians on the go, and the price tag makes owning a Kalimba so worth it

Despite its compact size, this mini-kalimba provides excellent sound quality thanks to its five precision-tuned tines that produce a beautiful tone. With a minimalistic design and easy-to-maintain body, this instrument brings African vibrancy into modern times.

The simple design makes it ideal for those just starting out on their musical journey while allowing experienced players to explore complex rhythms and exciting changes in sound.

Whether you’re playing at home alone or with company, the Hokema B5 Kalimba will bring beauty and joy to every performance. Its delightful tone guarantees that your audience won’t forget the energy it can deliver!

Overview of how to play the Hokema B5 Mini-Kalimba

Playing a thumb piano (another name for the Kalimba) is surprisingly easy and fun. The Hokema B5 Kalimba is a small instrument that consists of a row of differently-pitched steel keys (Tines) attached to a wooden box base made of Solid American black cherry wood corpus.

The manner of the Kalimba tuning means that anyone can play and create a tuneful sound with zero instruction. The notes simply work together at all times.

To make music, you simply strike the notes with your thumbnails. The Hokema B5 comes ready-tuned Ab, C, F, F, and C. As you progress and your skill levels increase, it is easy to tune your Kalimba in various other ways depending on which scale you want to play.

To get started playing Kalimba, it’s important to develop good posture and learn how to hold a Kalimba to be able to play it properly.

When you practice regularly and experiment with different rhythms, melodies, and tones, it’s amazing what sort of music you can make with just this small instrument and limited keys!

Thumb pianos may have a small profile, but they have an influence that’s time traveling across continents and eras – making them well worth exploring and learning how to play. So pick up your thumb piano today – it’ll be playing some sweet music in no time!

My Experience with the Hokema B5 Kalimba

Not too long ago, I purchased a Hokema B5 Kalimba and it quickly became my favorite small kalimba. (I now own 6 Hokema instruments!)

It wasn’t my first, as I have a terribly cheap Hluru branded 7 tine kalimba. Now, this is a classic Ali Express type product, but to be fair, has been for a very long time my go to pocket instrument. It is very sturdy, it plays beautifully and sounds great. For the minimal cost I can not complain, but when i did get the B5, the difference in the richness of tone was crazy.

Not to say I didn’t love my other ones – I’ve been playing Kalimbas for years – but this B5 from Hokema is far better made and sounded great.

Of course, having a kalimba with me is great when I’m out and about. Whenever I have free time, I can whip out this pocket-sized instrument and play some melodies.

On top of that, it always surprises people when they hear what kind of sound can come from such a small instrument. There have even been some occasions where people ask if they can take a look and try to play it themselves!

I’ll just be waiting outside a shop for my wife to do whatever she does in them, I’ll be leaning against the wall or sat on a bench just tinkering, and you can’t believe how many time people stop and ask what it is I am playing.

It’s been quite interesting making music on the go with the Hokema B5 Kalimba. My favorite places are either on the beach with the sound of the waves and gulls or finding a shady spot in the woods, near a stream, so the babbling water can accompany and become part of the music I am making on the fly.

Hopefully, others can make their own musical journey with this beautiful instrument too!

Advice for beginners who are interested in learning to play the kalimba

Anyone interested in learning how to play the kalimba can start off with a basic instrument.

Smaller kalimbas are relatively cheap for beginners and are more manageable than their larger counterparts.

While it is tempting to jump right in with a large 17-tine kalimba, and often recommended, my experience is that I quickly learned that it was too big and complex for me to get a handle on as a beginner. This leads to frustration and slower progress in learning.

Instead, if you don’t want to invest much money, try getting your hands on an inexpensive 5-tine or 7-tine kalimba. That way, you can resist the temptation of buying bigger models too soon and focus instead on honing your skills before investing in an instrument with a bigger range and price tag.

Plus, once you understand all the basic concepts of playing the kalimba—tuning keys, how to position your hands and read tablature, etc.—you’ll appreciate all the new possibilities that larger instruments can offer without feeling overwhelmed by them! Good luck!

A Mini Thumb Piano is not as Limiting as you Might Think

The Hokema B5 Kalimba is an instrument with five individual tines that are generally tuned to F4, C5, F5, G5, C6. This provides five individual notes that you can use to create a melody. However, playing two or more of the tines together offers some unique and exciting chords as well.

Do not think that a 5 Tine Kalimba is limited; indeed, it can achieve much more than you might imagine. You can create simple melodies and complex harmonies by self-accompaniment and experimentation with different combinations of the tines.

Moreover, each type of kalimba produces its own unique tone and sound, so exploring these sounds using the Hokema B5 is sure to provide hours of enjoyment for any musician.

The great thing about this kind of instrument is that there are no wrong notes, so you can just let your creativity flow! Whether you prefer delicate melodies or loud thundering chords, exploring new sounds with theHokema B5 will be an unforgettable musical experience.

Why the Hokema B5 Kalimba is a great instrument for both beginners and experienced players alike

Hokema’s B5 Kalimba is a great instrument for both beginners and experienced players. It has many features that make it appealing for various skill levels. Despite just 5 tines, Hokema’s B5 Kalimba offers plenty of room to explore different melodies and sounds. You can adjust the sound of each note as necessary and grab some tips in this regard in my How to Tune a Kalimba Guide.

Additionally, Hokema’s B5 Kalimba is lightweight and compact, perfect for taking with you to performances or on vacation.

For more experienced players, the Hokema B5 Kalimba offers an on the go option, or a handy accompaniment within your portfolio of instruments. Its versatility makes Hokema’s B5 Kalimba a great choice for both beginners and seasoned musicians.


If you’re looking for a unique and interesting instrument to learn, the Hokema B5 Kalimba is a great option. It’s easy to play and produces a wide range of sounds, making it perfect for both beginners and experienced players. Plus, it’s small enough to fit in your backpack, so you can take it with you wherever you go. Whether you’re looking for a new hobby or want to add some extra flair to your music collection, the Hokema B5 Kalimba is definitely worth checking out.

My Kalimba Collection

My personal collection of Hokema Kalimbas extends through – the B5B7 and B9 Electro versions, the B11 Melody, The B17 and, of course, a Sansula Rennaisance. You can even catch one of my Handpans in the background here.

A personal collection of Hokema Kalimbas

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