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The reason, for me, to be at the node is because you have a thicker piece to carve the utaguchi, hence more flexibility, not just in tone, but also if you make a mistake, there's more material to carve through. It's more forgiving.
You also want it at a node for the chin rest. I have an old flute that I kept working until it was no longer at the node, and I just couldn't play it any more. I eventually had to put some filler in for a chinrest. Without a rounder, smoother chinrest, it's generally not going to be comfortable until you're a better player, and less likely to press in as you play.
Hope that helped. Are you starting out making your own, or buying?
1. Aside from esthetics, is there a tone loss if the blowing edge is not at the node?
2. Is playability lessened if not at the node?
There are a few advantages to cutting the blowing edge on a node. It makes the flute more comfortable to play since there is more chinrest area. There is also more material that can be left to make the blowing end opening a smaller diameter than the bore, which is sometimes desirable. It's easier to fashion the inside of the blowing edge when there is more material to file at a correct angle. There is also less danger of splitting from the top end if cut on a node.
A flute will still play if not cut on a node but most of these advantages will likely contribute to a better tone.
Hi -E and Ken,
Thanks for your replies. Am just starting to make shakuhachi and made a few, almost all with the blowing edge at the node and certainly most advantageous.
I made however one with the blowing edge not at the node and discovered just now:
1. it plays with a certain immediacy and intimacy I guess because vibrations can be felt direct to the body without the blow node "obstructing" it.
2. due to the smaller and less forgiving blow hole, I am forced to focus and concentrate on my embouchure, again with resultant immediacy and intimacy.
This may just be, borrowing a term Darren used, psychoacoustics, or all in the mind, but it is a pleasant alternative to my other flutes.
Last edited by ugong (2007-05-18 12:35:06)