19/10/2019 - HALLO Allgäu

HALLO Allgäu

"Musical Experience: The KernKlangbrett"

Martin Kern and his son David have developed the KernKlangbrett. Anyone can make music with it within minutes.

An instrument that can be learned quickly without musical knowledge or long practice. Music visionary Martin Kern and his son David have developed exactly this instrument, the Kern sound board. For more than 30 years, Martin Kern has been on the road in children's homes in the Allgäu region and makes music with them. He has noticed that the children quickly become enthusiastic about music and want to sit on the dulcimer and play motivated. And then give up just as quickly because they have difficulty hitting the strings with a felt mallet. This frustration gave Kern the idea to develop a new, similar instrument. And so the alternative to the dulcimer, the Kern sound board, was born 15 years ago. It is shaped like the dulcimer, but it has only 22 strings, which are stretched at a greater distance. From C1 to A2 the strings are chromatic, i.e. tuned in semitones. This makes it possible to play songs in all keys. The difference to the dulcimer is the way of playing: instead of a felt mallet the strings are plucked with the fingers. The music template with the notes is then simply pushed under the strings and you can play the most beautiful music directly. Thanks to this template it is even possible for musical amateurs to have a direct sense of achievement without previous knowledge or practice: Without large expenditure beginners can play directly individual songs.


Martin Kern has brought his sound boards into children's homes and thus spread joy. The music and the sounds penetrate deep into our consciousness and change our mood and life in a positive way. Twelve years ago he decided that everyone should have access to the KernKlangbrett, which is why he took it with him to kindergartens, music schools and even to senior residences. The sound board was received positively by all age groups and everyone immediately began to play the board with enthusiasm. "From children from four to 99 years of age, the range of sound board players is enormous," says Martin Kern. Thanks to the simple playing style, anyone can learn to play the instrument. The sound board is also used with great success in therapy. For example, in Alzheimer's therapy, where music stimulates the brain areas responsible for memory. In music therapy, the sound board is also used a lot because motor skills are trained and both halves of the brain are stimulated by alternating hands. You can't buy the Kern sound board in a music shop, because it should remain affordable so that everyone can afford one. That's why you can buy it directly from Kern. Three years ago, he decided to relocate production to Allgäu. The Mayr carpenter's workshop in Eschach has since built the sound boards from local woods. In the course of time, five different models have developed: Classic, DeLuxe, Premium, Bass and the Soundboard. They differ in sound, octave and even a built-in pickup. In addition to these models, Martin Kern also builds the Kern chord zither. With five chords it is suitable for easy accompaniment of the Kern soundboard.


In recent years the sound board has developed from a voice to polyphonic music on various sound boards with the chord zither as accompaniment. Thanks to 300 playing templates, from oldies to classics to Christmas carols, it is now also possible for groups to make music together. And Martin Kern has come up with something especially for beginners: A music book with accompanying CD. This helps, for example, to keep the note length. Thanks to the relocation of production to the Allgäu region, customers have a local contact person in Martin and David Kern who can not only help with questions or tuning the strings, but who is 100 percent familiar with the instrument and lives for it. His son David has joined the project and is responsible for the production of the musical instruments, sales and marketing. He also works in the workshop. In this workshop, Kern has been offering courses for about ten years in which you can build your own Kern soundboard. With a lot of support and assistance, they saw, grind and glue for a day under guidance. Since the instrument was created with one's own hands, one has a unique relation to it. In the workshop on the following day the participants learn how to tune the instrument, how to handle it and how to play it correctly. The group will also be accompanied by Martin Kern on the guitar.

19.10.2019 - HALLO Allgäu