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#1 2008-02-17 23:41:33

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

shakuhachi weight

What is the 'normal' weight range for 1,8 shakuhachi?

Do people with hand pain or aches experience less problems with lighter flutes?  What would  be the range of 'light' flutes?  How much lighter does a flute need to be to alleviate a problem?


I have a 400 gram instrument that I think is causing me pain.  For years I played with a 300 gram instrument and did not experience any problem.

But I am not sure if the pain is due to the extra weight, or just due to me getting' older. 

Any advice, insight, relevant anecdotes to share?


thanks
Seth

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#2 2008-02-18 00:21:55

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: shakuhachi weight

Insight #1: Everything is due to getting older.

eB


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#3 2008-02-18 09:01:48

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: shakuhachi weight

Seth wrote:

But I am not sure if the pain is due to the extra weight, or just due to me getting' older.

Is the heavier shakuhachi just as easy to produce notes on? It's a common tendency, even if you've played for a while, to clamp down harder if a note's not coming out easily. Also, are the finger holes cut identically? I'm just trying to rule out other variables with that question.

I doubt age would be much of a problem unless you're developing arthritis or something. How long is "for years"? If it's 30 or so I guess it could be an effect, but the difference of 5 or even 10 years in age doesn't seem likely to be very dramatic, particularly since you're takling about a 1.8 that has finger holes that fall naturally right under the fingers.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#4 2008-02-18 11:02:39

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: shakuhachi weight

Good questions.

Finger holes are exactly the same as far as I can tell.

I have been squeezing harder now that you mention it... not because the flute is harder to play, but because it is different than my old flute so I have had a few frustraitng moments during the transition...but thankfully those are becoming fewer and farther between. 

But the finger causng me pain is the right thumb - the primary weight bearing one...so i fear this may be mainly a pure weight issue...

And I have been playing for around 7 years now...

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#5 2008-02-18 12:16:13

Yooper
Member
From: Michigan, on the WI border
Registered: 2007-11-26
Posts: 57

Re: shakuhachi weight

My main instrument is a Ken LaCosse 1.8 non-root end student model with a diameter of about 1.25"  It's very comfortable for me.  I recently bought a Yuu for travelling, and it's about 1.5" in diameter and substantially heavier, very similar in weight and feel to my Monty student 1.8.  And I have discomfort in the joint of my right thumb.  I think it's mainly due to the greater weight, but might also have something to do with the larger diameter.  I try to drop my right elbow a bit to support the weight along the bones of the hand and arm and avoid isolating that joint so much, but I'm not sure if that's helped much, or if I'm just getting accustomed to bearing the greater weight.  It's been a couple months now and doesn't bother me anymore, but what you describe sounds exactly like what I went through.


"Simple and artless."

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#6 2008-02-18 13:23:55

Karmajampa
Member
From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
Website

Re: shakuhachi weight

Seth, whenever I get hand pain it is because I am too tense in my hands, holding too firmly, pressing too hard into the holes. As soon as I begin to feel any pain I lighten my grip and get almost immediate relief. I also notice an increase in sensitivity to the vibrations from the flute when my grip is light. Sometimes I reverse hands, I am a left hand down player, so I change to right hand down for a while. It is a bit like going back to learning how to play and often introduces some new ideas.
I have several flutes now, many are quite light, my heaviest is a Monty 1.8, but I don't feel the flute weight is the problem. I think it is holding too firmly, perhaps playing one flute for too long, I like to change around with other flutes to give that specific relief from one continuous posture.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#7 2008-02-18 13:44:48

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: shakuhachi weight

Yooper-

Yeah, our problems sound alike.  My problem is that the pain in the joint is sill lingering... hence my questions.

Karmajampa-

Yes, I have had that experience as well.  But this time around the problem seems to be sticking around -even as I type this post a full ten hours or so since I last picked up a shakuhachi. 



Anyone know the normal range of weights for 1.8s?  What is considered heavy?  Light?

Anyone find relief from such a problem y moving to a lighter flute?

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#8 2008-02-18 14:27:34

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1037
Website

Re: shakuhachi weight

Seth wrote:

Yooper-

Yeah, our problems sound alike.  My problem is that the pain in the joint is sill lingering... hence my questions.

Karmajampa-

Yes, I have had that experience as well.  But this time around the problem seems to be sticking around -even as I type this post a full ten hours or so since I last picked up a shakuhachi. 



Anyone know the normal range of weights for 1.8s?  What is considered heavy?  Light?

Anyone find relief from such a problem y moving to a lighter flute?

Hey Seth,
Here are some 1.8 flutes I have around the shop this week.

http://www.yungflutes.com/logphotos/18weights.jpg

Top to bottom:

1) Hankonashi, or, no name jinashi nobekan, 80 - 100 year old Myoan - 289  grams
2) Wooden Golden Phoenix Brand - 358 grams
3) ABS Plastci Yuu - 502 grams
4) My personal 1.8  - 390 grams
5) Super fat Seikado, 50 years old - 648 grams

I also have a slim Gyokusui in the shop for repair this week. It weights 458 grams.

The fat Seikado is rare. It's a beast. Most modern jiari 1.8s are around 380 - 490 grams. I think the Slim Gyokusui is in the average range. My 1.8 is light. I  have never had any problems what so ever with my flute.


On tuning days, a play a lot of different flutes. I notice that the heavier ones tire my hands out after a hour or so where as teh lighter ones seem to have no effect.

BTW, after my son jet was born, I had to hold Sasa, my older daughter, a lot more (due to jealousy). I noticed that my wrist began to hurt sometimes in the shop.

Aren't you holding a new born these days?

Peace, Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#9 2008-02-18 15:24:47

mrosenlof
Member
From: Louisville Colorado USA
Registered: 2006-03-01
Posts: 81

Re: shakuhachi weight

Within reach...

1.8 Kurita  PVC (maybe ABS) plumbing pipe 162 gram
1.8 Ichijo  just taken from its box at 80% humidity  385 grm
2.4 David Brown, tasmanian tiger myrtle (if I recall correctly) 455 grm

When I first played the ichijo, it felt heavy to me, but at that time my primary flute was the Kurita.


Mike Rosenlof

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#10 2008-02-18 15:50:48

TC
Member
Registered: 2007-03-09
Posts: 10

Re: shakuhachi weight

May have been discussed already, but I found this page of exercises very helpful.
http://www.japanshakuhachi.com/handcareformusic.html

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#11 2008-02-18 16:40:59

Karmajampa
Member
From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
Website

Re: shakuhachi weight

I will get pain even when playing a light weight flute. Most usually in the lower hand thumb area. This is accentuated with heavier and/or very long flutes, but I feel relief when I lighten my grip. However, I can only lighten it so far before opening the hole !
I am almost 56 years young, and can't deny I do feel my body is not as forgiving as when I was a lad.
I know that if I don't attend to this issue I will develop RSI, which is probably what you are starting to feel Seth. When the pain is revisited when doing other activities.
You may benefit from massage and pressing the acu-pressure point between the thumb and index finger, but often it requires rest or total refrain from the activity that is causing the pain.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#12 2008-02-18 17:33:57

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: shakuhachi weight

Thanks for the info about relative weight - very helpful!

Perry-
Yes, I do have a new baby.  Is she the cause of my new pains!?!

What a shame!  I was getting so attached to her!  wink

I am shocked to see the weight of the yuu.  My yuu only weighs 425 which makes me think my scale is off...

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#13 2008-02-18 21:14:42

mrosenlof
Member
From: Louisville Colorado USA
Registered: 2006-03-01
Posts: 81

Re: shakuhachi weight

My Yuu weighs 419 grams.  It's a tripple-beam balance.  If it's zeroed correctly it _should_ be reasonably accurate.

FWIW

Clarinets, which weigh more than most shakuhachi all have a thumb rest on the back.  It seems like anybody with grip or weight issues could rig up something that would not damage a shakuhachi.  Some plastic hose clamps from the hardware store come to mind readily.  Good for experiments, but not very attractive.

I have seen small pieces of adhesive weatherstripping on the back of a flute or two.


Mike Rosenlof

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#14 2008-02-18 21:18:31

rpowers
Member
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 285

Re: shakuhachi weight

Check back to posting #16 under this thread a few months back:

http://shakuhachiforum.com/viewtopic.php?id=10

I've been using the video for a month or two now, and find it helpful.

The program includes a series of stretches for the fingers, hands, and wrists; a series of strengthening exercises for the hands and forearms; and a series of agility drills for pure frustration. These are followed by sections on self massage and hot/cold water therapy.

It's a good routine to keep the dancing fingers happy.


"Shut up 'n' play . . . " -- Frank Zappa
"Gonna blow some . . ." -- Junior Walker
"It's not the flute." -- Riley Lee

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#15 2008-02-18 22:01:43

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1517
Website

Re: shakuhachi weight

edosan wrote:

Insight #1: Everything is due to getting older.

Amen, brother.

I tore up the dorsal tendon of my right middle finger early in January, doing nothing more hazardous than tucking a blanket under a futon.

Either I'm getting older or making up a bed is a far more dangerous activity than my mother led me to believe.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#16 2008-02-18 23:35:57

nomaD43
Member
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: 2006-07-22
Posts: 96
Website

Re: shakuhachi weight

Seth,
I have been playing my 1.8 Jiari (by David Duncavage) for nearly 15 years - though not anywhere near as regularly as I should or would like to - and when I play for an extended period of time (15 years ago that was 45 minutes to an hour - now it is 15 -20 minutes) I find that I get a pain in my forearm and hand - bottom hand - which I am sure is more due to the pressure I am exerting on the flute than from weight or age. I also, now have several other shakuahchi - 2.0, 2.3, 2.4 of different weights (I don't have a scale to see how heavy they are) but the 2.0 jinashi is significantly lighter than the 1.8 and I will still experience the pain.
I believe this is more due to the downward pressure I am placing on the flute and trying to counter the weight of 8 fingers with two thumbs - actually 1 really. This may be your problem as well. How much does your flute weigh with your two hands and eight fingers holding back that light stream of air - I'm sure mine weighs close to 10 pounds at times.
Besides, there is an ancient saying "no pain, no gain". Maybe a few helium balloons tied to the fingers will help us all.
Damon

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#17 2008-02-19 00:18:22

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: shakuhachi weight

nomaD43 wrote:

Seth,
I have been playing my 1.8 Jiari (by David Duncavage) for nearly 15 years - though not anywhere near as regularly as I should or would like to - and when I play for an extended period of time (15 years ago that was 45 minutes to an hour - now it is 15 -20 minutes) I find that I get a pain in my forearm and hand - bottom hand - which I am sure is more due to the pressure I am exerting on the flute than from weight or age. I also, now have several other shakuahchi - 2.0, 2.3, 2.4 of different weights (I don't have a scale to see how heavy they are) but the 2.0 jinashi is significantly lighter than the 1.8 and I will still experience the pain.
I believe this is more due to the downward pressure I am placing on the flute and trying to counter the weight of 8 fingers with two thumbs - actually 1 really. This may be your problem as well. How much does your flute weigh with your two hands and eight fingers holding back that light stream of air - I'm sure mine weighs close to 10 pounds at times.
Besides, there is an ancient saying "no pain, no gain". Maybe a few helium balloons tied to the fingers will help us all.
Damon

Damon-

As I have been paying more attention I have observed that this is exactly what I am doing.  Especially in challenging strings of notes I am pushing the flute hard into my face which of course exerts tremendous pressure on my hands.

I am assuming that only pro-longed practiced mindfullness will help to overcome this problem...but if anyone knows a faster way please let me know.

thanks
Seth

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#18 2008-02-19 04:13:28

Alex
Member
From: Barcelona - Spain
Registered: 2005-10-17
Posts: 138

Re: shakuhachi weight

I read somewhere that we should just let the Shakuhachi rest in two points, the chin area and a thumb (right one in most cases), as oposed to hold it with all our fingers. So you should be able to "hold" the Shakuhachi by just keeping the balance with those two points, no other fingers involved. Then the other fingers come in just to close the holes.

Now, I think it's important to be aware of how we are closing those holes, as if it's not very acurate we tend to put more pressure to make sure the hole is properly sealed and no air leeks out. If you close the holes acurately the finger just needs to be resting on the flute, therefore, not exercising so much pressure on your resting areas.

Since each shakuhachi is different, maybe your new flute has slighly different holes that will need some very precise adjustment on how you close them , as maybe your fingers are just used to how the holes used to be, so in order to compensate for that lack of accuracy maybe you have to squeeze your fingers until they adapt to the particular shape and precise location of the new holes.

Hope this is of any use


"An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place where he thinks he's "at" somewhere. You always have to realise that you are constantly in the state of becoming. And as long as you can stay in that realm, you'll sort of be all right"
Bob Dylan

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#19 2008-02-19 04:19:55

Jim Thompson
Moderator
From: Santa Monica, California
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 421

Re: shakuhachi weight

Seth wrote:

What is the 'normal' weight range for 1,8 shakuhachi?

Do people with hand pain or aches experience less problems with lighter flutes?  What would  be the range of 'light' flutes?  How much lighter does a flute need to be to alleviate a problem?


I have a 400 gram instrument that I think is causing me pain.  For years I played with a 300 gram instrument and did not experience any problem.

But I am not sure if the pain is due to the extra weight, or just due to me getting' older. 

Any advice, insight, relevant anecdotes to share?

Seth,
    Having dealt successfully with this very problem, I think I have some insight. Particularly regarding the right thumb. At one point I began to develope a strain pain in my right wrist and over time it progressed up my arm and into my shoulder. I continued to "play through the pain" but I knew I could be permanently injuring myself and I knew of more than one person who could no longer play due to this type of injury. Finally, on a day where I felt what I describe as a hot burning river going from my wrist to shoulder I knew I had to do something. First,  I stopped playing for 6 weeks to give it a chance to heal. Now here comes the key part.
      I believe that all instrument injuries are caused by some muscle or muscles working far harder than necessary. When I started to play again I had to become a tension detective. This is absolutely crucial because if you go back to your old ways you'll just be back with the same problem. At first I thought it was because of squeezing too hard between the thumb and third finger in each hand. Then I figured out that it was because I was pushing down too hard with my left 4th finger(re) which was putting a nasty bit of pressure on my right thumb. By eliminating that pressure the problem has not returned despite heavy practicing. I found that a more relaxed approach to the instrument affected my entire tone production as well. It is a incredible how much tension the body can hold that we are not even aware of and to become aware of it is the key to beating the problem. I don't think the weight of the shakuhachi is a factor at all.
                                Good Luck
                                      Jim


" Who do you trust , me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

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#20 2008-02-19 06:56:03

KenC
Member
From: Western Massachusetts
Registered: 2006-01-05
Posts: 75

Re: shakuhachi weight

Seth,

I went through just what Jim is talking about.  My teacher woudl tell me to "relax", but i also found some was due to the naturally "slippery" surface of Bamboo.  I have a Tei Hei Root 1.8 cast bore that has a georgeous finish, and i noticed that i was gripping tighter and feeling the flute "slip" and that beautiful polished finish felt pretty slick.  My other 2 flutes (1.8 and 2.0) have a finish that is a bit "sticker" and i didnlt have the problem.  I took a very thin (.050 Thick) piece of a rubber cut it nice and neat and put it in the thimb area with double sided tape. Just that little bit made a big difference.  With the "sticker" feel i was able to relax my grip without feeling like the flute was slipping.

Its certainly that other subtle changes may have played onto this, but it helped me get rid of that evil tension.

All the best,

Ken

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#21 2008-02-19 07:03:14

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: shakuhachi weight

Thank you very much for all of this very practical advice.

I now have many concete action items.

This string is this forum at its best!

Thanks!

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#22 2008-02-19 07:33:33

marek
Member
From: Czech Republic
Registered: 2007-03-02
Posts: 184
Website

Re: shakuhachi weight

KenC wrote:

I took a very thin (.050 Thick) piece of a rubber cut it nice and neat and put it in the thimb area with double sided tape. Just that little bit made a big difference.

Hi,

Kakizakai Kaoru uses sandpaper attached with double-sided tape in the thumb area on some of his flutes . I used it on the yuu and it felt so much better. But, I use it no longer on my current 1.8, somehow I dont need to.
He also advised to try to move around the thumb slightly to find a better position.

Regards,

Marek


"what are you gawping at!?"
                                          Uchiyama Roshi
 
" www.komuso.cz !"

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#23 2008-02-19 10:26:00

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1037
Website

Re: shakuhachi weight

mrosenlof wrote:

My Yuu weighs 419 grams.  It's a tripple-beam balance.  If it's zeroed correctly it _should_ be reasonably accurate.

I have been using a digital scale for about 5 years. If it's weighing on the heavier side, I'll be bummed as I've been making postage labels with it!
Peace, Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#24 2008-02-19 10:46:13

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: shakuhachi weight

Yungflutes wrote:

mrosenlof wrote:

My Yuu weighs 419 grams.  It's a tripple-beam balance.  If it's zeroed correctly it _should_ be reasonably accurate.

I have been using a digital scale for about 5 years. If it's weighing on the heavier side, I'll be bummed as I've been making postage labels with it!
Peace, Perry

Sorry to say my Yuu came in at around the same weight...

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#25 2008-02-19 12:55:30

mrosenlof
Member
From: Louisville Colorado USA
Registered: 2006-03-01
Posts: 81

Re: shakuhachi weight

I'll bet batches of the Yuu may vary in weight.

To check a scale, Wikipedia says a US nickel weighs 5 grams.  Maybe get a hundred of them...

A 1 yen coin is 1 gram, but I only have about 20 at home.


Mike Rosenlof

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