Shakuhachi Craft Techniques
Straightening Bamboo, Bore Drilling & Finger Hole Placement
|Madake bamboo roots used for shakuhachi seldom grows naturally to a perfect shape. Almost all pieces require straightening. The bamboo is heated and placed under pressure to alter its shape. The root end of the shakuhachi tends to curve as it emerges from the soil. This curvature is part of the traditional aesthetic and is sometimes fashioned in this manner.
|The modern shakuhachi is made with a precision bore that is conical in shape. The inside of the flute is tapered in diameter from the top down. It is no accident that the madake root exhibits a natural taper as well. This may account for the evolution of the shakuhachi made from root bamboo which occurred late in the history of the instrument. In this photo the root - nearly solid inside - is being drilled open.
|Drilling the finger holes in the bamboo requires specially designed bits. The one pictured here was ground and re-ground over three years of trial-and-error (mostly the latter).
|The bamboo & I. (I'm the one with the eyeglasses.)
Flute Making Craft Manuals
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