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JsM Woodcraft

Dedicated to the creation of items that showcase the natural beauty of wood

Your 'Rock & Roll Kantele'!

All musical instruments are handcrafted using sustainable woods and materials. The soundboards are Sapele wood, chosen for its tonality and beauty, and frames are in your choice of hardwoods such as walnut, maple, cherry, and oak. Each instrument is embellished with wood inlays of your choice and style, and set off by the inlay of a KJ PolyClay medallion or decorative sound hole ring. They are crafted and customized just for your style and aesthetic tastes. We can also include an electronic pickup for use with amps or sound equipment.

The graph to the right shows the kantele's middle C acoustics with a wonderful note at around 279 hz, and then higher on the chart the resonance starting at around 400 which falls off distinctly up to 2 khz, offering a wonderful tone and earthy but impressive sound but with tonal wood quality sought after by luthiers.

Kantele (Zither)

A kantele (Finnish: [ˈkɑntele]) is a traditional Finnish and Karelian plucked string instrument (chordophone) belonging to the south east Baltic box zither family known as the Baltic psaltery along with Estonian kannel, Latvian kokles, Lithuanian kanklės and Russian gusli. The oldest forms of kantele have 5 or 6 horsehair strings and a wooden body carved from one piece.

Scholars debate how old an instrument the kantele is, with its age variously estimated from 1,000 to 2,000 years. It has a strong connection with the ancient art of rune singing. Its mythical origins are described in Finland's national epic, Kalevala, where the magician Väinämöinen creates the first kantele from the jawbone of a giant pike and a few hairs from Hiisi's (the Devil's) gelding. The music it makes draws all the forest creatures near to wonder at its beauty.

The kantele has a distinctive bell-like sound and there have been strong developments for the kantele in Finland since the mid-20th century. Education for playing the instrument starts in schools and music institutes up to conservatories and the Sibelius Academy, the only music university in Finland. A Finnish luthiery, Koistinen Kantele, has developed also an electric kantele, which employs pick-ups similar to those on electric guitars. It has gained popularity amongst Finnish heavy metal musicians.

Extracted from:

Kalimba (Thumb Piano)

Various kinds of plucked idiophones and lamellaphones have existed in Africa for thousands of years. The tines were originally made of bamboo but over the years metal keys have been developed. There were thousands of different tunings, different note layouts, and different instrument designs, but there is a hypothetical tuning and note layout of the original metal-tined instrument from 1,300 years ago.

In the mid 1950s the mbira was the basis for the development of the kalimba, a westernized version designed and marketed by the ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey, leading to a great expansion of its distribution outside Africa.

Lamellophones are instruments which have little tines, or "lamellae", which are played by plucking. Unlike stringed instruments or air-column instruments like flutes, the overtones of a plucked lamella are inharmonic, giving the mbira a characteristic sound. The inharmonic overtones are strongest in the attack and die out rather quickly, leaving an almost pure tone. The note arrangement of most mbira, with the notes in the scale ascending on the tines from the center outward in an alternating right-left fashion, results in chords being made by adjacent tines.


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