Mujitsu and Tairaku's Shakuhachi BBQ

World Shakuhachi Discussion / Go to Live Shakuhachi Chat

You are not logged in.


Tube of delight!

#1 2007-08-01 22:34:53

BrianP
Member
From: Ocala, FL
Registered: 2006-11-03
Posts: 289
Website

Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

I was wondering if any of the experienced Ji-nashi flute players here would like to explain how they maintain their Ji-nashi flutes.  Particularly natural utaguchi and bore care.  What can be done to help prevent mold and maintain a good natural utaguchi.  Should you use a sealer on the utaguchi?  Is the rounding of the utaguchi edge over time from blowing considered desireable for sound, etc.  Any information would be great.  Thanks for taking the time to post on this topic.

BrianP


The Florida Shakuhachi Camp
http://www.floridashakuhachi.com
Brian's Shakuhachi Blog
http://gaijinkomuso.blogspot.com

Offline

 

#2 2007-08-01 23:54:07

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3206
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

I don't do anything!


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

Offline

 

#3 2007-08-02 03:30:35

dstone
Member
From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2006-01-11
Posts: 552
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Hi BrianP,

I have novice experiences and preferences I can share.  I'm a couple of years into jinashi (hocchiku, I suppose) making and playing...

Edge sealing:  A thin cyanoacrylate seal is worth trying.  I actually sand it partially away after application with very fine polishing paper.  I personally like the smooth feel (on the top end grain, also) and the hardness.  But I also love my flutes that don't have this treatment just as much.

Edge rounding:  I don't think it matters much.  I have one professionally made hocchiku that came with a fairly rounded edge.  It's fantastic, so I conclude the edge sharpness doesn't matter too much.  You can always remove a bit of material from either face to sharpen an edge if you really want to.  Cyanoacrylate will help keen an edge sharp, I suppose.

Bore sealing:  I've used tung oil once.  It's fine.  Might do it again.  Might not.  I intend to experiment with urushi in the top and bottom ends of the bore, but not for any functional care or feeding reason.  My teacher does a light urushi wash through the bore of the flutes he makes.  It looks great and probably helps the next point...

Bore mold:  Had one significant mold problem in a raw bore before I started my "don't store raw bores in plastic policy".  If it's a flute you don't play much, then plastic is probably fine.  But I believe airing a regularly played raw bore out prevents a sealed, moist system ripe for mold growth.  Lacquered bores are diffent beasts, I think.  By swabbing out a flute that has a lacquered bore, even a jinashi flute with a lacquered bore, you've probably removed most of the added moisture from your blowing session.  But in a raw bore flute, the bamboo has almost certainly absorbed net moisture that can't be swabbed away as easily.  So I let those flutes breathe.  Of course, if airing it out takes it past the happy equilibrium point, I suppose that's crack territory.  No cracks so far.  I'm sure it'll happen.  That's the opportunity to learn how to do inlaid rattan bindings...  smile

-Darren.


When it is rainy, I am in the rain. When it is windy, I am in the wind.  - Mitsuo Aida

Offline

 

#4 2007-08-02 04:15:36

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3206
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

I do not like plastic. Leather is better. But guys who live in Florida and Vancouver probably don't really need to worry much about their flutes. wink


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

Offline

 

#5 2007-08-02 06:40:01

Harazda
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Once I've finished making a flute, I've always just used walnut oil in the bore.  Once this is done I usually sort of forget about further oiling in the interior.  That's a Florida thing... but when I lived 9 years in Woodstock, with one year off in Arizona, I think I lightly re-oiled the bores.

The problem with mold seems to arise through storing them away and not playing enough.  I never used plastic bags, just flute bags, mostly cotton as I recall.  It seems that the secret to solving almost every problem lies with regular playing.

Also, too much oiling the exterior may lead to a sticky flute if you don't wipe away excess.  Here again, play the flute regularly and the body's own oils will penetrate the bamboo and add darkening color.  Bamboo loves oil from the body.

Lao Ze said, "Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt."  With this in mind, when I finish an utaguchi, I take a piece of very fine sandpaper and just VERY lightly run it along the edge, followed by repeating that same move with the skin of the pad of my index finger.  Then it's DONE!

Last edited by Harazda (2007-08-02 14:17:20)

Offline

 

#6 2007-08-03 06:53:16

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nørre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

During the 18 years of solely ji-nashi playing, my experience is as follows:

Okuda Atsuya, my teacher does not keep his flutes in plastic, so I didn't in the beginning. It wasn't before I had played 11 years and I went to London, UK, that I heard a flute crack! Something internal as I couldn't find the crack. But the experience was scary enough for me to keep my all natural bore flutes in plastic since. I only had 2 minor cracks during the 18 years. I do not put any humidifiers inside the plastic bag.

I oil my flutes now and then with good quality vegetable oil of some sort. I find, it is very personal what people find are best suited for their flutes. But some years I may have oiled my flutes 3-4 times, other years 0. So, it really depends. If you don't play that often, perhaps it is a good idea to keep an eye on if the flutes feels dry.

For mold: My experience is that newly made ji-nashi shakuhachi can mold. After some time, it usually stays away - unless you put it in extremely damp conditions. Just before I played November Steps, my shakuhachi began opening up. I kept it in a damp towel until the gig was done, then I sent it to be repaired in Japan in the towel. It came back molded. It has then had lavender tea tree essential oil bath (with a carrier oil), and the mold is gone.

I have never had any problems with mouthpieces without inlay. They don't have to be sharp.. depends on what kind of sound you want, as the sharpness (and angle) of the edge influences the sound.

I feel that in the long run a ji-nashi flute needs less care than ji-nuri as they don't have problems such as the loosening of the joint. But... I am not an experienced ji-nuri player. I have one ji-nuri shakuhachi, but it is just lying there... And from what I hear around me, it doesn't seem like one type cracks easier than the other.


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

Offline

 

#7 2007-08-03 13:58:49

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3206
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

kikuday wrote:

And from what I hear around me, it doesn't seem like one type cracks easier than the other.

Jiari flutes definitely have much more maintenance problems including cracking than jinashi.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

Offline

 

#8 2007-08-03 16:24:02

BrianP
Member
From: Ocala, FL
Registered: 2006-11-03
Posts: 289
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Do you find that jinashi flutes don't need to be binded like the jiari flutes?


The Florida Shakuhachi Camp
http://www.floridashakuhachi.com
Brian's Shakuhachi Blog
http://gaijinkomuso.blogspot.com

Offline

 

#9 2007-08-03 18:13:51

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3206
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

BrianP wrote:

Do you find that jinashi flutes don't need to be binded like the jiari flutes?

Generally most of the jinashi flutes I have don't have precautionary bindings. Bamboo cracks, that's it's nature. It's best not to worry about it and then fix it if it does crack. This is not scientific and I don't have any way of proving it but I think jiari flutes crack more than jinashi. And I wonder whether that's because the ji and the bamboo expand and contract at different rates (being different materials after all) and put stress on each other.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

Offline

 

#10 2007-08-09 08:15:46

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

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Tairaku wrote:

It's best not to worry about it and then fix it if it does crack.

On a slightly seperate note: From my personal experience having a high-end flute crack wide open isnot nearly as troublesome  as one would imagine.  For some reason I had alway imagined that a cracked flute could never be really fixed...turns out I was wrong. 

Cracked shakuhachi can be fixed good as new. So, yes to that sentiment: no need to obssess about cracking...I am not saying neglect them, but a crack is not the end of the flute's life.

Offline

 

#11 2007-08-09 11:27:23

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 868
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

BrianP wrote:

What can be done to help prevent mold and maintain a good natural utaguchi.  Should you use a sealer on the utaguchi?  Is the rounding of the utaguchi edge over time from blowing considered desireable for sound, etc.  Any information would be great.  Thanks for taking the time to post on this topic.

Climate has a lot to do with dictating care of jinashi shakuhachi. I don't use bags at home, but in a dry climate or when traveling, it's a good idea. I like to use a wash of urushi in the bore which eliminates mold problems. I wash the face of the utaguchi as well but I don't think it's critical. I don't find that a natural edge rounds over time - or at least not enough to be an issue. One feature of jinashi shakuhachi is that its simple construction simplifies care.

Seth wrote:

Cracked shakuhachi can be fixed good as new. So, yes to that sentiment: no need to obssess about cracking...I am not saying neglect them, but a crack is not the end of the flute's life.

Absolutely Seth!

Some of the the worst cracks and splits imaginable on jinashi shakuhachi can be repaired good as new. It's always good to reinforce that reality.

I have a special sentiment for my cracked shakuhachi. Remember as a kid when playground scars were displayed with honor?

Ken

Offline

 

#12 2007-08-09 12:24:20

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1040
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Hi All,

Mujitsu wrote:

BrianP wrote:

What can be done to help prevent mold and maintain a good natural utaguchi.  Should you use a sealer on the utaguchi?  Is the rounding of the utaguchi edge over time from blowing considered desireable for sound, etc.  Any information would be great.  Thanks for taking the time to post on this topic.

Climate has a lot to do with dictating care of jinashi shakuhachi. I don't use bags at home, but in a dry climate or when traveling, it's a good idea. I like to use a wash of urushi in the bore which eliminates mold problems. I wash the face of the utaguchi as well but I don't think it's critical. I don't find that a natural edge rounds over time - or at least not enough to be an issue. One feature of jinashi shakuhachi is that its simple construction simplifies care.
[\quote]
A lot of old timers rub the face of the utaguchi against their face, nose, and forehead for oils. I do the same, it's a great ritual.

Seth wrote:

Cracked shakuhachi can be fixed good as new. So, yes to that sentiment: no need to obssess about cracking...I am not saying neglect them, but a crack is not the end of the flute's life.

Absolutely Seth!

http://www.yungflutes.com/logphotos/hocbindings.jpg

This is my #1 favorite hocchiku - a fat 2.7 pitched in F#. I picked it myself in Kyushi in 2002. It cracked shortly after I finished it in 2005 but the topical bindings are holding well without airtight storage. I could have bound it when I was making it but I like the feel of a "naked" shakuhachi.  One needs to let Hocchiku air out or mold will likely form.  I would not store these in airtight containers like I would a Jiari. A simple cloth bag would probably work well if it's played every now and then. Oviously, climate is a major consideration on how to store your flute.

Some of the the worst cracks and splits imaginable on jinashi shakuhachi can be repaired good as new. It's always good to reinforce that reality.

I have a special sentiment for my cracked shakuhachi. Remember as a kid when playground scars were displayed with honor?

Ken

http://www.yungflutes.com/logphotos/hocbindings2.jpg
The exterior cracks will open up now and then depending upon humidity but never enough to affect playability. To me, it's only a cosmetic issue. Much like and old scar smile
Namaste, 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)

Offline

 

#13 2007-08-09 17:49:05

Harazda
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Perry, I think that two-tone binding is a cool effect.  It seems to add a nice visual depth.

Offline

 

#14 2007-08-09 20:56:42

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

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Yungflutes wrote:

I would not store these in airtight containers like I would a Jiari. A simple cloth bag would probably work well if it's played every now and then.

Geez, when I first came onto this forum and mentioned I thought that the airtight method seemed extreme, particularly after being told that if the flute isn't being played even for short periods (an hour or two) it should still be stored that way, I was thinking that I was playing a super risky game by not storing my flutes in the baggy with the dampit. I guess it depends on who you talk to.

As far as cracked flutes playing as well as uncracked ones, I agree whole-heartedly. However, it should be pointed out that cracks will lower the resale value. On the plus side, this means that you can get very good playing cracked flutes at a deep discount from their uncracked counterparts. On the minus side, if you've got an uncracked flute it's probably a good idea to take every precaution possible to avoid it cracking if you ever plan to resell it.

In general, a funky looking flute with repaired cracks and moved holes is probably a reasonably good player. That's because someone apparently thought it was worth repairing or tweaking.  This funky looking thing I just aquired is the best playing flute I've had my hands on so far: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi … amp;ih=013

Keep in mind that my experience is kind of limited in that I haven't yet played anything that cost me over $200, but this thing didn't require any repairs and only cost $63 including shippng.       

Anyway, after reading your post, Perry, my jiari (which I'll admit isn't getting played much lately) is going into plastic. And, I'll be contacting you soon about a bag for my new aquisition. For anybody who hasn't seen them, Perry not only makes great flutes, but his accessories are about as pleasing to the eye and as functional as it can get.


"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

Offline

 

#15 2007-08-09 21:22:26

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

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

radi0gnome wrote:

I guess it depends on who you talk to.

It depends more on your local ambient humidity conditions. For example, I live in the high desert, in Utah, so I keep 'em sealed with a little bit of moisture in 'em, and don't overdo it. If you live in the Midwest or east coast, not so critical to keep 'em sealed and humidified.

eB


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

Offline

 

#16 2007-08-09 23:54:08

BrianP
Member
From: Ocala, FL
Registered: 2006-11-03
Posts: 289
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Mujitsu,  would a shellac wash work as well as an urushi wash or is there another alternative you would recommend?  I would like to try to stay away from urushi if possible.  I would also like to maintain the natural sound of the bore as well.  At this point it seems like leaving it alone and just playing it would be just fine but I would like to do what I can to prevent mold in the future if it is easy and doesn't affect the tone signifigantly.

Thanks,

BrianP


The Florida Shakuhachi Camp
http://www.floridashakuhachi.com
Brian's Shakuhachi Blog
http://gaijinkomuso.blogspot.com

Offline

 

#17 2007-08-10 11:06:37

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 868
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

BrianP wrote:

Mujitsu,  would a shellac wash work as well as an urushi wash or is there another alternative you would recommend?

Brian,

I haven't used shellac in the bore. In another thread George Miller mentioned that he's had luck using it. A search for "shellac" will bring it up.

Ken

Offline

 

#18 2007-08-10 23:34:46

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1040
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Hi Radionome,

radi0gnome wrote:

Anyway, after reading your post, Perry, my jiari (which I'll admit isn't getting played much lately) is going into plastic. And, I'll be contacting you soon about a bag for my new aquisition. For anybody who hasn't seen them, Perry not only makes great flutes, but his accessories are about as pleasing to the eye and as functional as it can get.

Storing a shakuhachi is a little complex because of the variables in climates across the globe. The shakuhachi is made from bamboo, which is a grass. It has a natural humidity level that is consistent to where it was cured. If it was cured in Kyushu, where it is quite humid, the humidity level would be higher. If it was cured in Arizona, the humidity level would be lower. Once it's removed from the climate where it cured, anything can happen if the relative humidity level is not kept constant.  Hope this makes sense.

For those interested in seeing some of the accessories, visit this page:
http://www.yungflutes.com/html_pages/accessories.html

Harazda wrote:

Perry, I think that two-tone binding is a cool effect.  It seems to add a nice visual depth.

You should see my three-tone bindings!

Thanks! 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)

Offline

 

#19 2008-09-03 19:12:50

Lance
Member
Registered: 2008-01-18
Posts: 74

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

What sort of average humidity do you encounter in New York Perry? (And do you do anything to alter the humidity of your house?) Your workshop is there right?

I'm in California in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, near a river, and it's typically 30-40 %, often a lot higher, rarely much lower.

I had a 3-4" crack appear right between bindings on one of your (Perry's) low-end 1.8's, made of 'black bamboo'...  even in my 40+ humidity. (It doesn't effect playability yet, so I'm living with it) And it isn't unexpected considering the black bamboo, thinner wall, AND it cracked on a side of the bamboo that is flat, and probably weaker there.

I'd worry bringing an expensive flute into much lower humidity, but like many have said, bamboo will crack, or not, as it chooses it seems.

(I now have to worry more, since I just bought a root end Jinashi from Perry that cost a few hundred dollars.. eek, but it's thick Madake)

And, I own a Yuu, so I can bring 'that' anywhere!


“The firefly is a good lesson in light, and darkness”

Offline

 

#20 2008-09-04 00:11:08

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1040
Website

Re: Care and feeding of Ji-nashi flutes.

Hey Lance,

New York City can be brutal on shakuhachi. The climate changes dramatically between summer and winter. It's quite humid outdoors in the summer but can be dry indoors due to air conditioning. Winter heating can also be an issue. 

The bamboo used for your Hocchiku is Chinese Madake hand picked for me in Zhejiang, China in 2001. It has cured for over 7 years in New York City without any special care.  All my stock just sits right in my shop or storage space. If it's going to crack, I'd rather it crack before I made the flute. Your piece of bamboo has gone through a lot just waiting around to be made into an instrument.

The good thing about Hocchiku is that it will absorb a bit more moisture than a treated bore shakuhachi. The flip side is that you have to let it air out if you plan on storing it in an airtight container to avoid mold. I just added a topical binding to the top of your flute as a preventative measure since that's the first place to go if a flute is to crack. If it ever does, it can be bound and will play perfectly fine.

Many thanks and a deep bow, 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)

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
© Copyright 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson

Google