“Oh No! A Chromatic Kora!!” (in the making) Oh dear, couldn’t resist..haha! What you can do with that 12 string Jumbo Guitar forgotten in the cupboard! (Handlebars still to be put on).
The strings sit in two ranks of 6 whole tones of the chromatic scale. Notice there are no gaps in the upper rank of the chromatic marimba in the photograph because it is also in a double 6 layout (2 whole tone scales). In considering building a chromatic mbira a good option is this layout with pitches ascending in semi-tones alternating left, right, left, right etc..(as in the progression of notes of the kalimba and the kora) The double 6 chromatic layout is symmetrical and each particular chord shape in the fingers or the mallets remains the same throughout like with the ascending bar chords on the guitar.