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#1 2010-08-17 12:12:47

Yuusui
Member
From: Minneapolis
Registered: 2008-04-30
Posts: 61
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Off setting finger holes

I have a couple long PVC flutes in the works. A 3.6 based on naviching.com and a 2.4 cast bore that I want to work out before investing in a piece of bamboo for a final run. I have had good luck getting the spacing calculated for the hole positions, but I am curious about off setting those on a longer flute. My initial thought is to draw around the pipe at the hole lengths and then pretend to play at those spots. Once my fingers find a comfortable spot, have someone mark cross marks at the location. Any other ideas?


http://yuusui.wordpress.com/

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#2 2010-08-17 13:30:21

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
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Re: Off setting finger holes

I think that's a way it's typically done. I've found that it's preferable to have the two bottom holes inline on shakuhachi around 2.4 in length, although that's not anywhere near where your fingers will land especially if you don't play with the fingertips. Also, I gave up the idea of having a hole moved on my Taimu because I realized my finger was going to sink into the hole some and I couldn't be exactly sure where it should be to fit the best. It didn't help that it seemed like it was just a little off from where I thought it should be... in order to play with my fingertips. It's just something to keep in mind, where your fingers fall naturally will probably be dependent on your hand positioning.


"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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#3 2010-08-17 15:12:10

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1061
Website

Re: Off setting finger holes

Yuusui wrote:

...Once my fingers find a comfortable spot, have someone mark cross marks at the location. Any other ideas?

I like to use tape. You can move them around and actually feel if you are making contact for technical playing. This photo shows a hole move I was doing on a 2.4 for a teacher. I had him over for the fit.

http://www.yungflutes.com/logphotos/holetape2.jpg


"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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#4 2010-08-17 17:13:20

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

Re: Off setting finger holes

Avery makes some stickers in various colors that are just the right size (local business supply store).

Perry made me a (superb) 2.8 while he was in Japan, and I was living in Colorado, and I made up a dowel the same
length and diameter with a mocked up blowing end. He sent me the hole locations, and I messed around with the
stickies til I had a good fit, and that's how he placed them (sent him back measurements of 'off center, left or right',
and some pics of the dowel).

Last edited by edosan (2010-08-17 17:20:40)


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

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#5 2010-08-17 18:34:50

Yuusui
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From: Minneapolis
Registered: 2008-04-30
Posts: 61
Website

Re: Off setting finger holes

I love that sticker idea! I will give it a try. Thanks.


http://yuusui.wordpress.com/

"Sit in zazen as if engaged in the fight for your very life!" Dogen

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#6 2010-08-17 18:37:41

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
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Re: Off setting finger holes

3.3 you'll probably want to offset 1 and 3 but the 2.4 can have straight holes. People rush to offset holes on flutes that don't need it.

Try straight!


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#7 2010-08-17 19:10:40

Yuusui
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From: Minneapolis
Registered: 2008-04-30
Posts: 61
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Re: Off setting finger holes

Will do.


http://yuusui.wordpress.com/

"Sit in zazen as if engaged in the fight for your very life!" Dogen

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#8 2010-08-17 19:55:30

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

Re: Off setting finger holes

FYI: I play a 2.4, and it needs it. (soft raspberry to Tairaku)


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

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#9 2010-08-17 21:05:08

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
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Re: Off setting finger holes

edosan wrote:

FYI: I play a 2.4, and it needs it. (soft raspberry to Tairaku)

It's like viagra. If you rely on it you'll never know if you can do it without.

The key to playing long flutes without offset holes is to approach the fingering as if you are playing a long flute (which you are) rather than a 1.8 (which it isn't).


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#10 2010-08-17 21:29:13

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Off setting finger holes

I see no reason not to offset holes on any flute if it makes ergonomic sense. About the only objection would be aesthetic if you like the look of inline holes. To me, struggling to play inline if this is not comfortable (and one has a choice in making the flute) makes about as much sense as driving with the parking brake engaged.

Toby

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#11 2010-08-17 21:37:29

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
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Re: Off setting finger holes

Toby wrote:

I see no reason not to offset holes on any flute if it makes ergonomic sense. About the only objection would be aesthetic if you like the look of inline holes. To me, struggling to play inline if this is not comfortable (and one has a choice in making the flute) makes about as much sense as driving with the parking brake engaged.

Toby

Except that if you jump to the conclusion that you can't play inline you create a self fulfilling prophecy. Your hands adapt to the positions. I agree that there is a place for offset holes but my point is that most people start way too short because they don't test it.

Isn't science about testing hypotheses?


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#12 2010-08-17 22:31:57

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

Re: Off setting finger holes

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Isn't science about testing hypotheses?

Making a flute fit ONE person is not science. Go read a book on what science is, and get back to me.


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

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#13 2010-08-17 22:41:21

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
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Re: Off setting finger holes

edosan wrote:

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Isn't science about testing hypotheses?

Making a flute fit ONE person is not science. Go read a book on what science is, and get back to me.

I get my science through osmosis because I am married to a scientist. I don't cotton much to book larnin'.

Are you disputing that people sometimes go for the offset holes without trying straight line holes first? Or that there is more than one way to hold a flute? What's your point here? Watch any of my videos and you can see that I'm playing straight holes without any discomfort or ergonomic strain. In fact now, if I try to play a 2.7 or 2.4 with offset holes that is uncomfortable to me. But in the beginning I thought offset holes were a good idea. It's all a matter of what you get used to.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#14 2010-08-18 00:10:50

No-sword
Member
From: Kanagawa
Registered: 2008-07-09
Posts: 115
Website

Re: Off setting finger holes

I think the point is "What is the benefit of not offsetting the holes?" Yuusui's original plan was to find places that are comfortable. Are you arguing that if the comfortable places are offset, he should try in-line places and a workaround for the discomfort? That sounds like a good way to do weird things to your hands... so why bother? Do in-line holes offer something that offset holes don't?


Matt / no-sword.jp

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#15 2010-08-18 00:45:21

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
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Re: Off setting finger holes

No-sword wrote:

I think the point is "What is the benefit of not offsetting the holes?" Yuusui's original plan was to find places that are comfortable. Are you arguing that if the comfortable places are offset, he should try in-line places and a workaround for the discomfort? That sounds like a good way to do weird things to your hands... so why bother? Do in-line holes offer something that offset holes don't?

Aesthetically it's much nicer. It's also traditional, you never see vintage flutes with offset holes. But tradition would not be enough to get me in favor.

I think (through many hundreds of hours of playing) that if you take the time to learn how to hold long flutes, rather than just pretend that they are extended 1.8's, you will develop a technique that is better and more suitable for playing long flutes. This also goes for blowing them, but we're not talking about that in this topic.

When I try to force my hands into the angle required to play a 2.4 or 2.7 which has offset holes THAT puts strain on my wrists and fingers. It also forces me (at least) to hold the flute more with the fingers than with the entire hand which is not ergonomically desirable in my opinion.

When I even see a picture of someone trying to play a 2.9 for example with their fingertips and using the third finger of their left hand to finger hole 3, I wince with the idea of the stress that is putting on their wrists.

There is a point for everybody where it is more painful to play inline than straight. For me that's around 3.2 or so. For someone else it might be 2.8. But I don't think for most hands it should be around 2.1 or even 2.4 as I have seen many times. I think people just go there because they haven't tried to learn how to hold it. If a tiny little Japanese guy like Watazumido can play it so can we. And he even used 3 to finger.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#16 2010-08-18 01:50:47

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: Off setting finger holes

No-sword wrote:

I think the point is "What is the benefit of not offsetting the holes?" Yuusui's original plan was to find places that are comfortable. Are you arguing that if the comfortable places are offset, he should try in-line places and a workaround for the discomfort? That sounds like a good way to do weird things to your hands... so why bother? Do in-line holes offer something that offset holes don't?

I have to agree with Tairaku ... as much as I distain the idea.

Your idea of "comfort" and ergonomics are going to change pretty dramatically in your first few years of shakuhachi playing. Whatever you want to do now is fine for now. That may, and probably will change over time. I just wouldn't expect to get a definitive answer -- especially from this group.

I used to think my hands needed offset holes for 2.1 and higher shakuhachi. I bought a couple of flutes which were offset and found my hands cramping, particularly in the Carpal Tunnel of my left (upper) hand. Odd, I thought. Then I played in-line flutes. It was much more natural for me to adapt to the in-line flutes. Sometimes to even use pinky fingers instead of ring-fingers.

Offset flutes can rotate your hands and wrists into more uncomfortable and more un-ergonomic shapes than in-line flutes.

(Disclaimer here is that I choose not to _regularly_ play anything longer than a 2.0 these days, but that's due to a tendon condition, a medication side-effect most likely and not entirely relevant.)

------------

btw, if Fouw is reading this, this is entry number 1228. (I have a 2-digit membership number on the forum).

Last edited by Chris Moran (2010-08-18 01:54:14)


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#17 2010-08-18 02:39:40

No-sword
Member
From: Kanagawa
Registered: 2008-07-09
Posts: 115
Website

Re: Off setting finger holes

Interesting, thanks. (I do not regularly play long flutes myself, I should probably have mentioned... just curious.) So the idea is that unnecessarily offset holes might feel more comfortable initially, but could be an ergonomic liability over time, and could also artificially limit your long flute-specific technique.

Last edited by No-sword (2010-08-18 02:40:12)


Matt / no-sword.jp

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#18 2010-08-18 03:26:00

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

Re: Off setting finger holes

Dri`ll holes 2  and 4 cenntred for the index fingers then feel out the posture for your ring fingers, considering that they will be centred also.
This is what I do and also like not to offset , it is not as uncomfortable as initially presumed.

K.


Kia Kaha !

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#19 2010-08-18 08:21:15

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

Re: Off setting finger holes

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Are you disputing that people sometimes go for the offset holes without trying straight line holes first? Or that there is more than one way to hold a flute? What's your point here?

My point is simply that everyone's hands and way of playing are more or less different. I'd also add that, in about 18 years of playing, my 'ergonomic' requirements have changed hardly at all.

I do agree that it's also possible to improperly offset holes so as to cause problems for the player over time, but this is hardly a reason NOT to do it, if it's done properly.


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

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#20 2010-08-18 08:25:42

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
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Re: Off setting finger holes

edosan wrote:

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Are you disputing that people sometimes go for the offset holes without trying straight line holes first? Or that there is more than one way to hold a flute? What's your point here?

My point is simply that everyone's hands and way of playing are more or less different. I'd also add that, in about 18 years of playing, my 'ergonomic' requirements have changed hardly at all.

I do agree that it's also possible to improperly offset holes so as to cause problems for the player over time, but this is hardly a reason NOT to do it, if it's done properly.

To each his (or her) own, but I caution beginners not to follow the current trend because it's not the only way to look at things.

Another point I'd like to make is that sometimes it's OK to offset the holes but some makers are making the offsets too extreme. A few centimeters in either direction might be better than severe offsets.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#21 2010-08-18 09:13:09

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

Re: Off setting finger holes

Tairaku 太楽 wrote:

Another point I'd like to make is that sometimes it's OK to offset the holes but some makers are making the offsets too extreme. A few centimeters in either direction might be better than severe offsets.

If I try to cover the holes with the ends of my fingers all of the offset flutes I've tried are too painful to play for very long. I have a hunch that there are degrees of offsetness that might allow me to play with the ends of my fingers, but when it doesn't fit, I need to use the grip that covers the holes with the other joints of the finger. That's when I find the offset gets in the way, and if I'm going to need to use the alternate non-1.8 grip anyway there's not really a point for the offset.

Brian, do you find that the non-1.8 grip makes some note sequences more difficult? For example, when I play B to Bb to A (using 1.8 note names), I find it difficult to transition from the kazashi (B) to the meri (Bb). Not on a 1.8 though, I think the problem is covering hole 4 with the middle of the index finger makes the various half-holings difficult.


"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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#22 2010-08-18 10:45:06

Thomas
Member
From: New York City
Registered: 2006-04-21
Posts: 81

Re: Off setting finger holes

As Fouw suggested; switching from fingertips to piper's grip.  This is an interestig idea.  What are some of the pros/seasoned players' view on this?  (sorry, should this be a separate post?)

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#23 2010-08-18 11:32:39

caffeind
Member
From: Tokyo
Registered: 2006-04-13
Posts: 148

Re: Off setting finger holes

Whatever feels comfortable is good. I have a 2.7 that I had made for my own hands. A while after I got it, I played another 2.7 which was a pretty fat piece of bamboo that had straight holes, and to my surprise it felt more comfortable to play than my own. The fatness of the bamboo makes a big difference to the way my fingers move and rest. I'm certain that if my 2.7 had straight holes it would be uncomfortable. Body geometry including hand size and arm length, thickness and length of a given flute must all play a part. Why should one size fit all.

Last edited by caffeind (2010-08-18 11:38:05)

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#24 2010-08-18 12:38:58

Taldaran
Member
From: Everett, Washington-USA
Registered: 2009-01-13
Posts: 232

Re: Off setting finger holes

I have built quite a few flutes and I have smaller hands so as soon as I made a length that cramped my wrists playing with fingertips, I learned pipers grip.

I only offset the holes on the longest shakuhachi I can physically play, but only just a little bit. If I cannot effectively shade a hole because it's too long a stretch, and offsetting it further does not help, I won't play them.

Also I tend to like playing fatter flutes...the pitch is the same, but the length is shorter. I also like the windier tone.

Last edited by Taldaran (2010-08-18 12:48:55)


Christopher

“Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.” Tao Te Ching

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#25 2010-08-18 16:48:04

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3225
Website

Re: Off setting finger holes

caffeind wrote:

Whatever feels comfortable is good. I have a 2.7 that I had made for my own hands. A while after I got it, I played another 2.7 which was a pretty fat piece of bamboo that had straight holes, and to my surprise it felt more comfortable to play than my own. The fatness of the bamboo makes a big difference to the way my fingers move and rest. I'm certain that if my 2.7 had straight holes it would be uncomfortable. Body geometry including hand size and arm length, thickness and length of a given flute must all play a part. Why should one size fit all.

Yes thin is another thing that makes flutes uncomfortable, as counter-intuitive as that might be. It's easier to hold a fat flute than a thin one because you can use more of your hand to grip it.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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