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After a year or so of researching and avid listening I've bought two shakuhachi and I'm ready to play!
I currently play saxophone and flute (simple system mostly) plus dabbling in clarinet. A few years ago I was exposed to the shakuhachi through listening to Ned Rothenberg's 'Ghost Stories' album with Riley Lee.
Hailing from the Blue Mountains in Australia I did have the good fortune to see Riley Lee play but that was 20 years ago and a and not yet interested woodwinds.
Earlier this week I bought two bamboo shakuhachi from an older gentleman retiring from music.
One is a shorter 50cm one-piece with (I think) a Kinko Ryu utugachi. The other is 54.5cm two-piece with (I think) a Tozan Ryu utugachi. The longer one is, as I understand it, a 1.8 in D pitch. The shorter one is an odd length and somewhere between 1.6 and 1.7! A rare 1.65?
Watching some online videos and reading some beginner guides I got blowing (quite different from tranverse flutes!).
I was blowing so flat the first night my 1.8s D was reading as C natural. And the shorter one as D! I read that flute/lip position and experience can account for this extreme meri flatness.
Indeed in the two days since my 1.8 is nearing proper D pitch. The shorter one is now a very sharp Eb. Any further advise is always welcome
Since I live very close to one of Riley Lee's accomplished students and now teacher Bronwyn Kirkpatrick, I will book a few lessons. It is a most expressive and beautiful instrument.
Thanks for reading,
I've been practising everyday now and starting to build a more reliable embouchure somewhat.
My pitch on the 1.8 is rising slowly to a D. Well, it is D now in the second and third octave but very flat still in the otsu octave.
The long 1.6 is resolutely a very sharp Eb or very flat E in all octaves.
The root-end bores of each shakuhachi are quite different which may account for this less inflexible nature of the 1.6 vs. the 1.8 as well obviously their length and internal dimensions? By the way both have Ji. The 1.8 has lots built up fairly smoothly throughout its entire length; the 1.6 appears to have less and a bit rougher applied/finished.
The 1.8 has a more typical (?) root-end bore of around 19mm and the 1.6 is much bigger at around 21mm.
The timbre of each is quite different besides pitch.
The 1.6 has a loud, resonant sweet barking quality. Breathy. The 1.8 is refined and quieter overall and smooth throughout the octaves and more harmonuc character. I realise I am hardly qualified to critique them properly - these are just my observations thus far.
Side by side:
1.8 utugachi (Tozan Ryu?)
1.6 utugachi (Kinko Ryu?)
Bores 1.6 (lh) and 1.8 (rh)
Last edited by dubrosa22 (2017-01-29 15:34:16)
Here's the maker's stamp (hanko) on the 1.8:
1.6 doesn't have a hanko.
Any assistance on the possible identity/meaning/origin of this maker's mark would be much appreciated.
Welcome to the forum. Australia is a good place to be a shakuhachi player.