(This is not my mbiraski, I can't find a pic of mine in factory tuning) This is the 1st tuning when it is arrived. It is very easy to understand since it is similar to a piano keyboard.
You can read this article by Mark that discusses about a few possibilities of chromatic tuning kalimbas. http://www.kalimbamagic.com/newsletters/newsletter3.03.html#chromatic. And this is the simple linear layout, if you read Mark's article you know that it will sound horrible. How horrible is it? Here is an example:
The 1st sound is recorded with my fingers muting as many adjacent tines as possible, while the 2nd sound is just normal open sound, which will be the case of normal playing. You can hear how much of the inharmonic sound happens, and notice that this sound can be much more than this if you play a melody, because the adjacent tines will be excited for many times, so the volume will be higher and higher. It surely sounds uncomfortable.
The 2nd tuning :
It's a layout that I developed on my custom 24 notes thomas bothe kalimba. I like so much (I will write about it in depth later). But it is not good for the mbiraski here. I've stated the reason before - many notes would be out of the best sounding range. There are 6 notes (above C5) that you almost only hear the plucking noise.
This plus the learning from my experiment of polyphonic pitch shifting (in short word - polyphonic pitch shifting are not really good to use with kalimbas, except when you want special effect) - I've rearranged the tines again (and added 2 stickers under the tines :D):
The 3rd tuning :
This time it is the straight forward circle-of-fifth tuning, it is very simple - in the lower row, major 2nd up one by one, from left to right, then a 5th up for the upper row. You can see a diagram that Mark had made to make yourself more clear:
With this tuning, I can achieve chromatic tuning and at the same time keeping all the adjacent tines in harmony. It require some practicing tho - since the scale shapes are not seen anywhere. I've made these pics for you to get the idea easily (C as root for lower, F as root for higher):
Scales with root notes on lower row (mouse over for text) :
The cons that it has is there is no visual reference, like the white and black keys on a piano. And the shapes are harder to remember and understand than an Array system.
The 4th tuning :
It is the same as what ArrayMbira uses for their kalimbas. It is a kind of circle-of-fifth tuning that's very easy to learn and to play - same kind of scale have exactly the same shape - except at the edge of the "keyboard" - where you may need to go to the other side of the "keyboard" for notes.
There is some repeating notes at the left and right side - that would serve 3 purposes : 1) to make some scales easier to play; 2) every note is within the best sounding range on this kalimba; 3) the buzzers are all on the high ocatve notes, and almost all of them, this gives the different 2 octaves 2 different kind of tone, and more consistency in each octave.