Monty makes excellent flutes, as does Tom Deaver. You can get very decent "cast-bore" instruments (bamboo) that play well and consistently (and in tune) for something like $600 (up). Bamboo flutes are very prone to cracking, even in Japan, but especially in dry places that suffer temperature extremes. You can either get the flute banded pre-crack to prevent the problem, or (generally) a cracked flute can be banded after the fact. There are pretty decent wooden shaks made here in Japan (which cost about $120-150) that deal well with adverse conditions. You can get them pretty much in all sizes from 1.2 to 2.3 shaku, maybe even more.spartacus said:I traded a 1926 Buescher alto about 30 years ago for one made in Japan. I brought it with me to Texas in 92 and it cracked from the desert heat, making it unplayable. There is a guy in California who makes them, his name is Monty Levenson and has made them since the 60s, google his name. He has beginner flutes that do not cost much - and if you like it, more expensive ones. Some from Japan can cost up to $3 or 4.
I just googled his name and he is still around. Good meditation instrument if your into that. Tony Scott, the clarinet player, made a meditation record where he plays both instruments and there is a lot of classical records from Japan available.
That's right on both counts. Just FYI, I have an "okuralo", which is a hybrid shakuhachi/concert flute which has the keywork of the latter and the head of the former, held vertically. A few were made in the 1920's in the era of "Taisho Democracy" when there was a craze for all things Western in Japan, and a corresponding movement to integrate Japanese and Western culture. It is a wonderful curiosity, but to be honest, it doesn't really improve on either instrument. Much of the character of the shak comes from the bore configuration, not the blowing edge as such. The shak is an interesting inverted cone design--related to the old simple system flute but much larger in diameter. Whereas the concert flute comes in at around 17mm for the length of the tube (after the head joint contraction), the normal 1.8 shaku flute starts at around 20mm at the blowing edge, creeps up about 0.5m about 5 cm down the tube, then starts a fairly (but not quite) linear contraction down to 14.5mm at the bottom tone hole, rewidening to (usually) 17mm at the end. Somehow this allows a very wode-bored instrument to achieve the third octave (although the third octave fingerings are pretty crazy). And it is the wide bore that, to a great extent, allows for the power and expressiveness of the flute. Just putting a shak utaguchi at the top and keeping the bore cylindrical doesn't really cut it, and in addition makes the top octave about 20-30 cents sharp, as it is with all end-blown flutes since they don't have the space at the other end of the blow hole to compensate (which on a normal flute you adjust with the crown).bruce bailey said:I think Monty makes the Shakalute head. I have dealt with him and he is a great guy.
Mine was banded and had the black lacquer inside, and it came apart in two pieces - and it looked as if it was made close to the root as it was incredibly thick bamboo. I even rubbed it with a special oil monthly to keep it from drying out - but the cracks went all the way thru:xkymarto said:Bamboo flutes are very prone to cracking, even in Japan, but especially in dry places that suffer temperature extremes. You can either get the flute banded pre-crack to prevent the problem, or (generally) a cracked flute can be banded after the fact. There are pretty decent wooden shaks made here in Japan (which cost about $120-150) that deal well with adverse conditions. You can get them pretty much in all sizes from 1.2 to 2.3 shaku, maybe even more.
Yamamoto was in Santa Cruz, Ca and I had a front row seat. He brought tears to my eyes. I still have the record I bought at his concert.kymarto said:Sparatacus,
As far as flutes go--here is a link to an excellent shop in Tokyo. I haven't been there for a while, but I assume that it is the same: they have root-end shaks starting at around $500 and going on up...up...up...
Also tools for making shaks if you are ever feeling particularly masochistic.
My colleague accompanied Yamamoto Hozan--one of the greats--on a concert tour of the US some years ago.
What? Are you saying that "material matters"? :shock:kymarto said:The wooden ones are pretty much immune to that, but of course they don't have the fine feel or response of the good handmade bamboo flutes. Still, they are in tune and play pretty damn well. That might be the best option for Texas.
Ha...I knew someone was going to say that...Dr G said:What? Are you saying that "material matters"? :shock: