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I haven't been on the site in a long time due to various issues, but I'm back and I've managed to make a few flutes following directions found online. I am saving up to get a yuu, but that's going to take a bit. In the meantime I'm using what I have available. I'm happy with the sound of my flute, but being new to the shakuhachi, I really can't say if it will work for what I want.
I want to start learning how to play Honshirabe, and as the years pass hopefully to play other honkyoku. I have made a few connections with teachers in my area, but being abysmally broke that limits my options. Either way I am determined to learn this.
Can one play honkyoku on a flute of questionable quality?
Welcome back Joshua. The answer to your question is 'yes...with possibly questionable results'. A great deal depends on what you want to do with your honkyoku. Do you want to play it by yourself and for yourself? Or, do you hope to play with others and for others? In the case of the prior, you will be the ultimate judge of your product, but in the case of the latter, others will be and some of those others may be knowledgeable and experienced. Ultimately, I would suggest that in the process of learning, a teacher will be a great asset and if that teacher is worth their salt, they will guide you with regard to instrument choice and your sound output. Since you place the monetary requirements to purchase a Yuu very high, that suggests that it might be best to invest in the search for a mentor in the making realm. There are many pitfalls that await the unsuspecting. Providing that you have access to reasonable bamboo, some pointers from a real person here and there would be worth much more than a Yuu. Good luck!
Thanks Jeff, I would love to learn how to properly make a flute, but that will come when the time is right. I plan on playing mostly for myself, but if someone should ask me to play for them I don't want to be embarrassed. Maybe I should have someone that knows more test my handiwork.....
Excellent idea Joshua. Others have certainly posted pictures and sound bites for such appraisal on this forum. I see no reason that you shouldn't either. It may prove to be very useful.
I'll do some research and see what turns up. It may be a bit before I can get recordings of the sound, but pics should be fairly easy. And I am quite happy with the aesthetics of my flute (even tho its not a root end piece of bamboo), but one should never judge a book by its cover as they say....
I do not want to give advice about what to do with your flute, so what I say here relates only to me and I am not making any suggestions for what you should do with your flute...understood? Yes!
Ok, I have a hand made 1.9 bamboo flute that was not easy to play. I very recently saw some irregularities in the mouthpiece (the utaguchi) and I did some very careful, gentle sanding to sharpen the edge where the air passes over that point.
Doing that made all the difference in the world. I can make good notes on the full scale.
Now....I am not telling you to do that. It worked for me and it might work for you but it might not.
Last edited by Todd Frederick (2010-09-27 16:27:45)
All right! I have finally gotten myself a Yuu and I have Perry's lesson book and cd arriving within the next day or so. I'm very excited to actually start a lesson plan rather than just making sounds that I enjoy. Oh the poor neighbors....ah well they will just have to be patient with me. ;-)
You will not regret it. Even when you have flutes in the thousands of dollars (which you will at some point if you stick with it), you will still hold onto the Yuu. Mine smells like an old sock after almost 4 years, but it is a good flute to practice on, and is probably equivalent to at least at $1,000 bamboo flute. I left my bamboo flutes at home last week and have been using the Yuu all week long. I'm always suprised at how well it plays. Though, if I am being objective, it does seem to get a little squeaky on occasion with the microtones, or whatever you call them.
I found your earlier question about Honkyoku quite interesting. It is something I have heard many times, namely the notion that flutes not well enough tuned for formal study would be ok for honkyoku. Some flutes are "tuned to themselves". That's fine and dandy, but I get the sense that you are pretty new to shakuhachi, so you really need to buckle down and focus on the Yuu. Honkyoku is not easy to play, so playing it on a sub-par instrument with crappy tuning, is going to make your life that much harder. If you are just doing Kyorei then I guess it is less of a big deal, but for harder stuff, you need a flute that can actually handle the notes. For example, I have been working on and off on the piece Hifumi Hachigeashi for some months now, and I would not dare approach it with some flutes. Anyways, I sound preachy. Sorry about that. Stick with the Yuu, it will help your development. It also makes a good paper weight.
... and my Marii san no hitsuji rocks now thanks to Perrys workbook. LOL
Moving on to Fudaji Kyorei, I'm very happy with it so far. I'll probably stay on this one a while tho learning a little at a time. On a side note, the migraine I was suffering from before I practiced today went away afterwords...that alone is worth the learning.