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#1 2011-02-13 17:32:13

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Greets from eastern U.S.

Hi there everyone. Kent here. I just stumbled on this forum, and am glad I did. Lots of great Shakuhachi info. I mainly play hand percussion, frame drums, darbuka, some tabla and moorsing. Also flute and ocarina. 
My only end blown flute is a South American type..nothing fancy, but it plays and sounds decent.
I`m chomping at the bit to get into Shakuhachi. Been procrastinating forever but now I need to find a decent one to get started. Watching some on ebay, but  I might go with a Yuu to start. Any input or advice will be greatly appreciated. Looking to get a few different sizes to see what works best for me. My cat loves Shakuhachi music so I think I have a captive audience in waiting. anyway, me shut up now.  Have a nice day


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#2 2011-02-13 18:22:49

Jam
Member
From: Oxford, England
Registered: 2009-10-02
Posts: 257

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Welcome to the forum mate, you'll love the flute once you get your hands on it. It's frustratingly difficult at times, but when the going's good, it's worth every minute of frustration.

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#3 2011-02-13 18:46:51

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Thanx Jam...I can hardly wait..I might just order a Yuu tonite and see where it takes me.


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#4 2011-02-13 19:06:13

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Kent K wrote:

Thanx Jam...I can hardly wait..I might just order a Yuu tonite and see where it takes me.

Another inexpensive option is the wooden flutes by Colyn Peterson who is on the forum. Search his name and read about it. Start with 1.8 length because that's what you'll need for lessons.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#5 2011-02-13 19:24:44

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Will do...appreciate any and all suggestions. thank you Tairaku


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#6 2011-02-14 06:19:07

J Ross
Member
From: Vancouver,Washington USA
Registered: 2010-12-18
Posts: 74
Website

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Welcome!!

Jim

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#7 2011-02-14 10:31:13

LowBlow
Member
From: Germany
Registered: 2009-08-23
Posts: 15
Website

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Welcome

If you think buying a wood shakuhachi David Brown's site is worth a deep look.


http://www.shakuhachi.com.au/

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#8 2011-02-14 13:47:41

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

thanx.
still frying my brain deciding what flute to get first. so many are out there and the prices vary from chicken scratch to second mortgages. Been reading  a lot of info, but no decision as of yet. Still leaning towards the Yuu but somehow my instincts are telling to go natural.  If shakuhachi are anything like hand drums, they tend to breed pretty quickly.


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#9 2011-02-14 16:47:37

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Kent K wrote:

thanx.
still frying my brain deciding what flute to get first. so many are out there and the prices vary from chicken scratch to second mortgages. Been reading  a lot of info, but no decision as of yet. Still leaning towards the Yuu but somehow my instincts are telling to go natural.  If shakuhachi are anything like hand drums, they tend to breed pretty quickly.

Hi Kent, A Yuu will get you through a few months. You'll be able to tell if you want to stick with it after you get a few lessons under your belt. Just don't consider the Yuu to be a "serious expense." After it's initial usefulness, you may consign it to the flute you can take swimming with you, or a good last resort traveling or camping flute.

The other low-budget, a little-more-than-temporary angle is a good wooden shakuhachi at $400 - $600 from David Brown (mentioned above) or Colyn Peterson at www.woodlandvoices.com (Colyn is relatively new on the shakuhachi scene and was schooled by who many consider the best, and now retired, wooden shakuhachi maker in the West, Peter Ross). A flute like this could take you into a couple/few of years of good solid lessons — but a good jiari ("cement", hand adjusted bore) bamboo 1.8 shakuhachi is the goal.

After you decide that you want to get serious about shakuhachi —after you've taken half a dozen lessons or more— check with your teacher as he or she may have a good connection for good Japanese made bamboo 1.8s.

If your teacher doesn't have ready connections to good bamboo 1.8s I recommend that you go with http://www.chikuzenstudions.com or japanshakuhachi.com. The first is run by Dai Shihan (Grand Master) Michael Chikuzen Gould, the second by David Yūdo Sawyer, a Shihan (Master Teacher) and very well respected shakuhachi dealer in the USA. Either master teacher will help you find a good shakuhachi fit for you.

Shakuhachi are very personal instruments and a 1.8 you'll be studying with for a long time has to fit. I'd also recommend, again if you have the funds, to travel to their respective locations and try the flutes in person. I'm pretty sure that your teacher will trust them to find the best instrument for you among their inventory.

If you have the money, $3000 is a respectable price ceiling (far short of a mortgage and less than the price of a bad used car). Sometimes you get lucky and find the flute that fits you for $1500, or $2,000 or $2,500. Occasionally you hit on a slightly more special flute that will run you up to $4,000.  Beyond that is super-duper refined concert instruments that super-duper refined performers play, $6,000 - 10,000 and a little more.

Then there are the myriad true vintage and pseudo-vintage instruments, many of which present too many playing adjustments for a student who doesn't immediately want to hurdle roadblocks. A good teacher should always check out your shakuhachi before you commit to buying it preferably your own teacher if that is possible.

Budget for lessons and not for multiple shakuhachi if you decide to learn traditional Japanese music on it.  A decent shakuhachi, then lessons. A more decent shakuhachi, then more lessons. A really good bamboo shakuhachi, then still more lessons.

Acquiring skill in playing is more useful and more satisfying than acquiring a lot of shakuhachi which you haven't been trained to play.

Life is short. Grab the shakuhachi by the root and get your heart on!


"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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#10 2011-02-14 22:21:40

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

wow...these responses are really great...thank you so much for the time you spent formulating that one Moran.
that is something to think about...I hadn't really thought that far ahead.

Looks like I will have the same problem I did with Tabla. Finding a teacher; Never did actually.

I`d be surprised if there are any Shakuhachi teachers in this socially retarded town I live in, but you never know.
Maybe I 'll get lucky and find a nice flute at a decent price soon. Or maybe a flute will find me. I tossed a line out into the ether, hoping to get a bite. thanx again yous guys.  Yto Yuu or not to Yuu! that is the question.


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#11 2011-02-14 22:22:01

David Earl
Member
From: SE Iowa
Registered: 2006-05-29
Posts: 69

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

You can also look at Monty Levenson's Tai Hei student model shakuhachi. When I was starting out every teacher I spoke to suggested I start with one of these. These are excellently tuned and crafted flutes.

http://www.shakuhachi.com/


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#12 2011-02-14 23:39:18

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Those look REALLY nice Dave. thanx.


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#13 2011-02-15 00:14:53

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

This is why we have "location" in the profile. If we knew where you were we could possibly recommend a teacher.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#14 2011-02-15 00:19:58

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

oh...must update info. Virginia beach Virginia.


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#15 2011-02-15 06:51:17

David Earl
Member
From: SE Iowa
Registered: 2006-05-29
Posts: 69

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

You are welcome Kent. Did you get my emails?


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#16 2011-02-15 08:54:54

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

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Hi Kent, A Yuu will get you through a few months.

I've never tried a Yuu, but I'm surprised you say it will only get someone through the first few months. I've read on the forum that the Yuu plays as well as a $500 or more flute, and my favorite and primary (bamboo) flute was about $500 and I've been using it for over a year... after having graduated from lesser instruments that I used for 3 years, and I'm still satisfied with it with no end in sight.

Moran from Planet X wrote:

You'll be able to tell if you want to stick with it after you get a few lessons under your belt. Just don't consider the Yuu to be a "serious expense." After it's initial usefulness, you may consign it to the flute you can take swimming with you, or a good last resort traveling or camping flute.

It's probably true that this is what happens to most Yuu, but if what I've read about it's playability is true the reason is because plastic with little attention paid to aesthetics is something most want to graduate from fast.   

Moran from Planet X wrote:

The other low-budget, a little-more-than-temporary angle is a good wooden shakuhachi at $400 - $600 from David Brown (mentioned above) or Colyn Peterson at www.woodlandvoices.com (Colyn is relatively new on the shakuhachi scene and was schooled by who many consider the best, and now retired, wooden shakuhachi maker in the West, Peter Ross). A flute like this could take you into a couple/few of years of good solid lessons —

I've recently read here on the forum that these flutes play as well as a $2000 bamboo flute. From what I've read in several places, that seems to be the price point of a good modern advanced student Jiari.   

Moran from Planet X wrote:

but a good jiari ("cement", hand adjusted bore) bamboo 1.8 shakuhachi is the goal.

If the playability of these finer wooden instruments isn't exaggerated, that goal is really just for the aesthetics and perhaps "feel" of bamboo. 

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Then there are the myriad true vintage and pseudo-vintage instruments, many of which present too many playing adjustments for a student who doesn't immediately want to hurdle roadblocks.

Particularly when the vintage shakuhachi have repaired cracks, which they usually do. Even if the playability is close to a modern shakuahchi, a repaired crack that starts leaking again can be very confusing to a student. I'm saying this with very recent experience in mind, it took me a couple months or more to realize that the problem I was experiencing was the flute and not me.

The vintage instruments are where you'll find most of the bargains, but be aware that not only do they often have quirky tunings, they also absolutely require the proper care of placing them in a plastic bag to equalize humidity when not in use.     

Most teachers and advanced students will say what Chris did, get your feet wet with a Yuu, then save your money and get one good instrument. And while I agree that if you do happen to collect a bunch of lesser quality instruments that you'll eventually probably just end up reselling them on Ebay where they came from and play the one expensive instrument you acquired nearly exclusively, it's a ton of fun... depending on your mindset.

Kent, you're background is hand drums. Knowing that, I believe there is a strong possibility that you'll love collecting low quality instruments, at least for a while.

There are many approaches, basically what I see is:

1) Start studying with a teacher with the intent to learn Japanese repertoire. This will be a long term relationship and the "buy Yuu, save money, buy great flute" is probably the ideal way of doing it. The biggest pro here is that you'll advance fastest this way, the biggest con is that many find it too frustrating and rigid.   

2) Or, what a lot of Native American Flute players drawn to shakuahachi do. Find any instrument that sounds nice to you, maybe several, and enjoy heartfelt improvisations on it. The big pro here is that it's easy, the big con is that you'll probably get bored somewhat quickly and either give up or seek formal instruction.

3) What I did. Start doing the Native American flute "play from the heart" thing, get bored, but instead of opting for formal lessons to learn Japanese traditional music, gain enough facility to play your favorite Western music on the thing. The great thing about this path is that I'm continuing to have a lot of fun at a low cost, you might need a teacher to help you get around on the instrument (Geni, helped me), but you really don't need the teacher to help you interpret music you already know. The con is that... well, it's not Japanese music and I'm playing a Japanese instrument.   

Whatever path you chose make sure you use that free introductory Skype lesson from Chikuzen that comes with the Yuu. If you don't get a Yuu, still try to get at least a few lessons anyway early.

Most teachers and many students here probably will not agree with a lot of what I said above, and I certainly can't argue that regularly scheduled lessons aren't the best way to advance fast, but many people are very resistant to regular lessons for a variety of reasons. Sorry guys, but people are going to do what they are comfortable with, and acknowledging that I believe is a good way to help those that enjoy the minimal-lessons "folk-process" route feel accepted in the shakuhachi community. My comments above are my own observations. The point being I'm enjoying playing this thing, I'm getting music out of it, and while I would welcome face to face or Skype lessons regularly at this point if it fit my budget, I don't regret my decisions up to this point, even the purchase of flutes that ended up getting resold on Ebay for a steep loss.


"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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#17 2011-02-15 12:40:27

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

@ david I havent checked the email as yet...will do.

@ Radiognome...well said man! Thanx soooo much.
I just ordered a Yuu. It will get me started and I can take it to work and hiking without worrying about damage..Then when the right bamboo finds me, I`ll jump on it.
Probably just gonna noodle and improvise at first to get a feel for the instrument. Then if I find a teacher I`ll get into some lessons. I`m not big on reading music at all..Always played by ear. I used to play Bansuri quite frequently till my flute got stepped on by a drunk...OUCH! I`ll never forget the sound of the bamboo cracking. Haunts me to this day.


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#18 2011-02-15 16:21:04

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

radi0gnome wrote:

Moran from Planet X wrote:

but a good jiari ("cement", hand adjusted bore) bamboo 1.8 shakuhachi is the goal.

If the playability of these finer wooden instruments isn't exaggerated, that goal is really just for the aesthetics and perhaps "feel" of bamboo.

Now, now, now, Charles. You've been hanging around our resident Mad Scientist too long.

But seriously, beyond "playability" is a whole new level of individuality and subtlety in the way each maker tunes their shakuhachi. On top of that because every piece of bamboo is different a shakuhachi maker can not build the exact same bore twice, even cast-bore. I've played quite a few shakuhachi that were equally "playable" but only a few that were sublime in tone and tuning.


"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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#19 2011-02-17 14:35:48

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

update.
Just got the Yuu today...that was unbelievably fast shipping...Thanx Neil.
Getting some sweet sounds out of it already.... took a little while to get the angle right. Got a bit dizzy, but in a good way. It`s alive!
So far so good. Built like a tank. Amazing sound in my nooby opinion. I was wondering if i could even get a note out of it but was surprised when the note popped out in the midst of my hissing sounds.
It is really smooth and responsive once I hit the 'sweet spot'
thanx for all the advice peeps.
Probably gonna need a bunch more real soon...


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#20 2011-02-17 21:25:58

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

Anther piece of info...A buddy of mine living in Japan ran across 2 old beat up looking Shakuhachi at a flea market...the vendor is asking 6000 yen (about $72 USD) for the pair..I`m wondering if you all think they might be worth trying to buy them and have'm restored. The utaguchi on both are torn up pretty bad. I have some pix but didn`t see an option in here to attach them. If I figure it out, I can update with the pix.


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#21 2011-02-18 03:05:13

Jam
Member
From: Oxford, England
Registered: 2009-10-02
Posts: 257

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

They could be amazing, but they could be worthless, it's hit and miss with flutes at flea markets without trying them!

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#22 2011-02-18 14:15:19

Kent K
Member
From: Virginia Beach Virginia
Registered: 2011-02-13
Posts: 12

Re: Greets from eastern U.S.

yeah I told him to offer 5000 yen for the pair. we`ll see. Still can`t figure out how to post a pic in here..any ideas how to do that?


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