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I am wondering what you all think I should leave as far as membrane goes on jinashi wide bore type flutes to begin with. I have made several flutes, but end up getting frustrated with them and either sawing them in half or smashing them in the parking lot in front of my apartment. Itís all hardly reminiscent of the tranquil sounds that come out of the instruments.
Anywho, I'm thinking I'm going to make a couple more flutes, but really take my time with them. I'm thinking of leaving the inside pretty much alone and then playing them for a good long time before touching anything. What do you think I should leave to start off with in terms of millimeters so I have something to work with down the line?
Thanks for your thoughts.
I'm thinking of leaving the inside pretty much alone and then playing them for a good long time before touching anything. What do you think I should leave to start off with in terms of millimeters so I have something to work with down the line?
That's a head scratcher Matt. Regardless of philosophy and/or science of approach that goes into flute making, the relationship of stuff happening in the bore seems to be a large part of what makes a shakuhachi.
Here are a few thoughts that come to mind:
One way to go at the bore is to grind the membranes flush, presumably to avoid impedance in the bore.
Another way, like you stated, is to leave some of the membranes and let them do some of the bore work for you. To do this, it helps to have an understanding of the science of flute acoustics.
For me, better flutes seem to be a result of better listening. Your idea to leave some of the membranes for a period of time might be helpful. One way to do this is to grind very little away just until the flute plays with a decent tone, then stop. (with this method, the exact amount of membrane left will vary and depends on your ears) This way, you'll get used to the sound. Days or weeks later, when you make adjustments to the membranes, you're likely to hear the difference. Bank enough of those educational moments and you'll gain an understanding of the many relationships happening in the bore.
As always, there are many, many ways to go about this. Hope this way helps.
I also recommend taking your time before rushing into taking more membrane away. You would be surprised how much you can discover over time from just playing and gazing into the bore. After many disasters you will get a subconsious feel of what makes a good bore and good tone. You need to be relaxed and follow your instinct!
Also check the position of the nodes with the critical points in the bore (see Ken's pdf file or the diagram on John Neptune's site.) Then you will gain some scientific answers as to why a particular note got worse or better after removing some membrane. This approach will not answer all questions, just pose more questions.....
Thanks for your thoughtsÖI realize this is going to take an endless amount of experimentation. Fortunately, I am in Japan and have permission to get bamboo from a nice big madake grove nearby so I have an ample supply of bamboo to mess up (although finding a great piece is another story).
Anyway I guess much of this is going to involve learning through failure or disappointment, but thatís okay with me. Iím just going to keep on trying until I get something Iím semi happy withÖthat may take a while.
I've found that it's never wise to destroy a flute in process before learning from it...several times I've felt frustration and failure on a certain flute only to come back months later able to fix because I learned how to deal with an intonation problem that I couldn't grasp before...and in all of those times I didn't even realize I had learned anything until examining the pile of "sucky" flutes and played through them and realized, "HEY!! I knoe how to fix this!" And then the redemption farfar outweighs the initial disappoinment!