Shakuhachi Headjoint
for the
Silver Flute

People Say
the Shakulute

"Today the wonderful shakuhachi headjoint arrived at my house. As soon as I came home, I tried to play the shakuhachi flute, and felt very happy to hear good and deep sound. I thought that the low D, Des, and C tune became wider, deeper and stronger than before. Did you adjust some keys of my flute?

"Last night I played my new hybrid instrument for three hours till late, and enjoyed many kinds of music; Japanese songs, my own music, and other composers' music. I'm very pleased with the new sound, so I kept playing it for a long time. I'm going to use this headjoint in many kinds of concerts. My dream is expanding now."

- Wataru Kozan Tanifuji
Hokkaido, Japan

Wataru Kozan Tanifuji is a Grand Master of the Tozan-ryu school of shakuhachi and has been playing the Western Boehm-style flute since 1961. Mr. Tanifuji was born in Abashiri, Hokkaido, Japan in 1945. In 1974, at the age of 29, he began studying Tozan-ryu shakuhachi under Kozan Takayama and then under Ginzan Suzuki. In 1991, he achieved the rank of daishihan or grandmaster and on February 14, 2004 earned the title of shin-Tozanryu chikurinken, the highest possible level in the world of shakuhachi.

"There are three musical instruments I would like to play for the rest of my life.

"One is the flute which, along with the piccolo, I carry everywhere. These instruments are inseparable from me. As a professional flautist, I perform with both symphony orchestras and chamber music ensembles.

"The second one is the shakuhachi. Recently, I completed an entry-level course for this instrument. My shakuhachi teacher is my father, Tanifuji Kozan, who I greatly respect as a musician.

"The third one is the Shakulute. This is a new musical instrument that is very unique and fun to play. One of my students who had trouble getting a good sound on the transverse silver flute, tried out the Shakulute which helped him achieve a better tone. It is not a far-fetched dream to have a Shakulute ensemble in the near future. This is not only a dream, but a real possibility.

"I usually perform with a harpist with whom I have done many concerts. At these concerts we play Japanese songs, Peruvian folk music and jazz standards. I am particularly taken by the deep lower tones produced by the Shakulute. These cannot be played in quite the same way on the silver flute. I find this fascinating and it enables me to perform on this instrument for many hours without becoming tired. Most of all, the excitement of the audience when it first sees, then hears the Shakulute, is gratifying and encourages greatly me as performer. Using this instrument has allowed me to rediscover the joy of performing in a live concert venue.

"I am very happy to have these kinds of experiences using the Shakulute and look forward to new possibilities that it offers. I deeply appreciate having the opportunity to perform on this innovate new instrument.

"Domo arigato gosaimasu."

Makiko Tanifuji
Professional Flautist
Tokyo, Japan


"I did get your shakulute headjoint: IT'S FANTASTIC!!

"I obviously have to spend sometime with it, but everything you told me about it was true!! What a bold, huge sound!  I hope to use it whenever possible, from movie-tracks to solo endeavors, to performing with different artists. This is an extremely versatile, beautiful & practical answer that powerfully contributes to expand our so desperately-needed flute sound/tone 'palette'. I don't know how you did it -- this is not supposed to work, and many people that had tried it before failed! You found out a way of making the octaves-relationship tuning to work all across the range of the instrument. This will definitely become a very prominent asset in my already pretty huge flutes-&-woodwinds 'arsenal'.

"Blessings & thanks for an absolutely remarkable piece of work."

- Pedro Eustache
Los Angeles, California
Flute Soloist-Saxes-World Music Woodwinds & Wind Synthesist



"I have been a flutist for over 40 years and a shakuhachi player for a fraction of that time. When I read about the Shakulute on Monty's site, I looked forward to blending the unique sound of bamboo with the familiar ground of the flute and I have played it almost exclusively since getting it. I love the process of developing this new voice on my instrument. Thank you.Monty!"

- Marc Berner
Miami, Florida

Marc plays flutes and saxophones professionally and has recorded and worked with original Mandrill guitarist Omar Mesa, Noel Paul Stookey and jazz legend Ira Sullivan. His CD, Wind and Strings for Yoga,co-produced with guitarist Jon Dichter, features an improvisation on one of Monty's root-end madaké 1.8' shakuhachi flutes.

Marc presented the Shakulute at the Harman: How to Listen Music Program in the Miami-Dade elementary schools. Created in 1996 by Dr.Sidney Harman, Chairman/CEO of Harman International Industries (makers of Harman Kardon, JBL and Infinity audio products) and Wynton Marsalis,the group featured jazz greats Ira Sullivan and Duffy Jackson.


Photo by Brett Hufziger

I've been playing Japanese Shakuhachi and different kinds of Asian Bamboo Flutes (Dizi, Xiao, Bawu, Bansuri) since 1987. In my CD-projects I like to play them in a traditional way along with Koto, Guzheng, Temple Bells and Gongs as well as in new ways together with classical instruments such as Guitar, Piano, Harp, Cello and Oboe.

In order to get more harmonical possibilities I purchased a silver traverse flute some time ago. Although I like it's bright, shiny sound, I missed the expressiveness and charisma of the Shakuhachi, so I never used it for a recording up to now.

When I discovered the Shakulute at Monty's website, I knew for sure: "That's it!" The Shakulute provides me with all possibilities in sound and harmonics I ever dreamt of and I'm sure that it will add new inspiration and creativity to my musical work, especially when combining it with classical western instruments. It's the best of both worlds!I think the Shakulute might be that "Magical Flute" that W.A. Mozart had been dreaming of!

- Richard Hiebinger
Sayama-Music, Rimsting, Bavaria, Germany
Hear Richard's music

"Hi Monty-san,

"The madaké shakuhachi headjoint made my golden flute acquire a new life.

"This is my personal history with bamboo. I bought a gold flute over twenty years ago when I was young and powerful enough to drive it. But about ten years ago I gave up using the heavy instrument because I was losing enough power to hold it transversely for a long time. Since then the gold flute had been wasted on me until the Shakulute appeared.

Mr. Tanifuji Kozan showed me first a madaké Shakulute last year and I was fascinated by its magical sounds. I thought it would be, as it were, the good vocal cords for me to sing my favorite Japanese Enka.

"The first shakuhachi headjoint you made for me last year was a torachiku one joined to a Yamaha wooden flute. After using this wooden Shakulute for one year, I had an idea to change the gold flute into a madaké Shakulute. It was a good choice. I've acquired louder, more brilliant and warmer sounds than the wooden torachiku Shakulute. Moreover, the madaké headjoint matches the golden flute in color.

"I recommend this new instrument to many other flute players for expanding their musical pleasures. Thank you so much for your great invention."

Hirotoshi Umeda
Hokkaido, Japan

"Monty, I LOVE it LOVE it LOVE it!!!!!!!! I feel as if this is the instrument I've been waiting years to find.

" I have been a singer all of my life and a (Western) flute player for about 6 years. I came to the flute through Irish music: first on the whistle, then the Irish simple system flute, and eventually the Boehm flute. I love how easy it is to play chromatically on the Boehm flute. I strayed from Irish music and started experimenting with the minor pentatonic scale. I found the small range of the Native American flute limiting. Last year I heard the sound of the shakuhachi and was hooked. I bought a 1.8 and a 2.4 from you and took to them very quickly, loving the richness and sheer vibration of playing them.

"Embarrassingly, I didn't learn the chromatic scale. Rather, I played only the easy notes (the minor pentatonic scale). The shakulute headjoint makes up for my lack of knowledge. I think it is an EXCELLENT instrument for players of Western flute who want the rich, full, variable, intense sound and feel of the shakuhachi.

"I have mine on a silver John Lunn Art Nouveau flute. The keys are leaves and cherry blossoms. The combination of this beautiful concert body and this deep orange Chinese Madake shakulute head is stunning, both visually and, more importantly, musically. I find the dynamic range virtually limitless.

"Thank you so much."

Jessie Driscoll
Woodstock, N.Y.

Jessie Driscoll has performed and recorded as a singer and whistle/flute player in various genres, including her husband Dan's compositions. (Jessie and Dan are raising their children to be musical too.) She is a devoted amateur, though she has done some professional work too. She is a jeweler by trade and loves to follow artistic ideas to fruition.

"Hi Monty,

"This is a beautifully crafted headjoint. I'm using it on two different flutes, my Yamaha wooden and my silver plated Altus. It has different characteristics on both. My first recording experience with it (on the Yamaha) was on a new TV series, "Planet Earth" for composer George Fenton. Incredibly effective! Looking forward to future opportunities to experiment and develop my skill on it."

Andy Findon
London, England UK

Andy Findon is one of London's most versatile woodwind players. He has appeared on hundreds of film & TV soundtracks and recorded with artists from every musical sphere. He has been in the Michael Nyman Band since 1980 and is principal flute of the National Symphony Orchestra. Hear this latest recording, "Tracked".

"I Love the Shakulute. I can produce sounds that I couldn`t produce before with my flute. I use the Shakulute to play jazz. And the audience and the musicians are suprised and pleased by the sound of it. I got some good gigs thanks to Shakulute."

Merenglen Skendo (Geni)
Cambridge, MA

Marenglen Skendo (Geni) recently arrived in the U.S.A. from his native country Albania to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Having played with the Albanian National Symphony and receiving several awards while a student at the Albanian Academy of the Arts. Geni studies of shakuhachi with Phil Nyokai James.


As you know my arthritis has gotten to the point where it hurts me to hold my silver flute in a transverse position. Because of the enjoyment playing gives me, I hated the thought of having to give up playing the flute. Your vertical shakuhachi headjoint arrived a week ago. It is a marvel. For a week I have been able to hold the flute in a vertical position. I can play again.

"But it gets even more amazing. Over the years I have had Powell and Hanes flutes. I have even had custom-made headjoints. When I ordered your headjoint I was just hoping it would play adequately. What a surprise. The flute plays even better than with its original silver headjoint. The sound is more resonant, fuller and responsive. The sound is louder. I have never been able to push that much air down a silver barrel before. My original thought was that this would be a good headjoint for some one who could no longer hold a transverse flute. I have changed my mind! It is a great headjoint for any one who wants to maximize the sound production out of a metal concert flute. "

- Maynard Garfield, Naples, FL


"The Shakulute headjoint arrived today. It is beautiful. I played it right away and produced lovely sounds. I am sure I can produce more breath mixed with the notes as in a regular shakuhachi. I'm particularly impressed with the powerful sounding lower notes on the Shakulute—the D and C to be precise. I could never get such a rich tone with my transverse headjoint.

"On the other end of the scale, in the high range from third octave E upwards, the tonal quality is now not so harsh and loud. The control I now have of the high notes is what I have always strived for.

"I know this is starting to sound redundant, but thanks ever so much for transforming my musical experience and presentation

." Chris Bernetchez
Flute Player




"As a pianist and composer, one is always surprised at how life experience translates or reflects into music. My interest in wind instruments and shakuhachi has brought such an expansion to my work at the piano and into composition.

"But rarely has an instrument like my new ALTO SHAKLUTE inspired a new personal paradigm. Breathing into the SHAKLUTE immediately caused an indescribable awareness of possibility. I have begun creating compositions inspired by this incredible hybrid flute. Many times while playing SHAKLUTE I will get new insights and then go to the keyboard and jot down ideas that showcase the SHAKLUTE's immense diversity.

"I have been playing it for over a month now and am quite comfortable with it. in fact, I am eager to acquire a headjoint for my C flute. My aresenal of regular shakuhachi had been suffering a bit of neglect, but I am beginning to go back and forth. I use the SHAKLUTE on all my gigs and am continually blown away (pun intended). On jazz gigs the ALTO SHAKLUTE is a welcomed guest.

" This is a great achievement, Monty. Thanks for the great work."

Bruce Stoller
Profession Musician & Composer

"I discovered Monty's web site on the Taiwan Shakuhachi Blog. I shared this web site with my daughter who ordered a Shakuhachi headjoint for me. I installed the headjoint and I immediately fell in love with the new spectrum of notes. I wish I would have found out about his site earlier.

"What a great invention this is! It brings together Western and Eastern music unlike any other kind of instrument. The high notes are so sharp and bright like a Western flute. The lower notes have a deep and rich sound common in Eastern instruments.

"Overall the Shakuhachi headjoint plays better than the original headjoint. I highly recommend this to all flute players that want a flexible instrument. If you are looking for a more powerful, rich, and variable sound, this is what you need to get."

Arwingo Yu
Shakuhachi Player

Shakuhachi Headjoint for the Silver Flute

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