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Greetings from a babe lost in the woods (of Vermont).

 
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Jon Palombi
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Localisation: Vermont, USA

PostPosted: 2011-05-13, 16:32    Post subject: Greetings from a babe lost in the woods (of Vermont). Reply with quote

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Hi folks,

I am a new member and no, I am not actually a babe. You see, I'm neither an infant nor a beautiful woman, in any way, shape or form (hehehe). I am male and will be 53 in November. And while I do live in the woods of Vermont, I am not actually lost, either. That being said, I am in need of guidance on my journey into the world of shakuhachi playing. In other words, I need some help getting started. Please?

I have played silver flutes for 37 years now. Mostly, my solid silver Gemeinhardt and Yamaha sopranos in C but I have an Emerson alto, a bass and even the dreaded piccolo (Lord have mercy on all of our eardrums). I saw G.S. Sachdev in concert, twice, during the late seventies and I was forevermore hooked on bamboo!!! I've been playing bamboo flutes for 35 years now. Mostly Indian bansuri, though. Oh yes, I don't read musical scores. I play by ear and apparently, my musical inclinations are purely drawn form the right side of my brain.

As a young fine arts student, I had developed an intense interest in martial arts, meditation and Jazz music. I picked up Tony Scott's album: Music For Zen Meditation in 1978. I freely admit it... I have always kinda disliked the sound of the clarinet but the shakuhachi really, really SPOKE to me! This led me to dig deeper and get some traditional Japanese recordings. Wow... Okay

When I got out of college, I began to travel the country and collected an assortment of bamboo flutes in the process. As fate would have it, my favorite 2 Indian-made bansuri and my best Peruvian quena did not survive the ages. Fragile birds. This was one of the reasons I was so drawn to the shakuhachi, with it's thick, dense bamboo walls. Nothing thin and frail, like a bansuri.

Sadly, the shakuhachi I bought in 1983 was poorly made, despite it's handsome looks, and was not tuned properly. And that's an understatement!!! My friend had previously bought one from the very same maker, which I could easily play after only 2 minutes flat (despite him declaring it would take me weeks just to make any discernible sound). It had perfect tuning and played very well. So, why did mine suck so much? When I contacted the maker, his answering machine said he was, "out of town" and I never heard back from him again (although I wrote him a letter asking if I could exchange it for another one). I can't even remember his name but he was from Oregon, USA. After struggling with it's hideous scale for 27 years (off and on)... I recently threw it deep into the woods, out of sheer frustration. Yeah, I let Mother Earth have it back. Embouchure was not my problem at all, in this case it was definitely, the damn flute. Sad

A friend of mine who makes bansuri flutes, crafted me a pseudo-shakuhachi, which I've played for 25 years now but it's really more of an open ended bansuri, tuned to a pentatonic scale in the key of D. Even so, it ain't no shakuhachi... but I am quite fond of it and I do play it often.

Recently, I have been longing to re-kindle the old flame, so to speak. So yeah, I now want the real deal. I am determined to re-embrace this awesome instrument with redoubled devotion. Now in this regard, I am literally, "a babe lost in the woods". Also, I should mention a relatively poor babe? I just missed out on the Perry Yung Earth Flute 2.4 shakuhachi Erin recently sold in the Trading Post. I've often been a day late and a dollar short...

I play mostly blues, jazz, new age and meditation music. My only desire to play the shakuhachi for purely spiritual purposes and the absolute joy of the amazing sounds it creates when properly breathed into. Man, it really sends me!!! No, I am not planning on taking formal lessons any time soon, as I live in Northern Vermont and only have part-time employment these days. So, obviously I have a meager amount of $$$ to invest in a first playable shakuhachi. Actually, less than meager, sine I'm talking just about 200 bucks (damn this recession). I'd actually prefer a 1.8 to start with.

Erin kindly recommended Ken LaCosse and his affordable Chinese bamboo shakuhachi. I found his website but I haven't seen him listed as a member here, although I have enjoyed his unique sense of humor over on the old forum site. Any other descent "student models" I might consider? Or if any other forum members have a neglected shakuhachi, largely ignored because of higher end ones to play, I would be most interested. My other option is the Yuu shakuhachi. While it seems good for a novice... I can't stand the idea of plastic instead of real bamboo.

What's a poor boy to do? Thanks in advance for any offers, ideas, suggestions and/or guidance. It would be much appreciated. After all... I'm obviously in way over my head. Still, as Lao Tzu wisely said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one a single step." Idea

Sincerely, Jon Palombi
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Perry Yung
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PostPosted: 2011-05-14, 13:54    Post subject: Greetings from a babe lost in the woods (of Vermont). Reply with quote

Jon Palombi wrote:
...Any other descent "student models" I might consider? Or if any other forum members have a neglected shakuhachi, largely ignored because of higher end ones to play, I would be most interested. My other option is the Yuu shakuhachi. While it seems good for a novice... I can't stand the idea of plastic instead of real bamboo.

Hi Jon, Thanks for your great introduction.
I recently lead a shakuhachi making workshop at Zen Mountain Monastery. In the group of participants were three people from Vermont. I think they all made very playable natural bore instruments. I can try to connect you to them. One has some experience and is studying traditionally. He showed me a wooden shakuhachi he made that was quite good.

Quote:

After all... I'm obviously in way over my head. Still, as Lao Tzu wisely said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one a single step."

Sincerely, Jon Palombi


After nearly 17 years of playing, I'm happy to report that I'm on to my second step Confused
- Namaste, Perry
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"A hot Dog is not an animal" - Jet Yung
Blog on shakuhachi, art and parenting - www.yungflutes.com


Last edited by Perry Yung on 2011-05-15, 02:01; edited 1 time in total
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Erin
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PostPosted: 2011-05-14, 19:02    Post subject: Greetings from a babe lost in the woods (of Vermont). Reply with quote

Perry Yung wrote:


After nearly 17 years of playing, I'm happy to report that I'm on to my second step Confused
- Namaste, Perry


Nice one, Perry! Laughing
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Perry Yung
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PostPosted: 2011-05-15, 14:36    Post subject: Greetings from a babe lost in the woods (of Vermont). Reply with quote

Erin wrote:
Perry Yung wrote:


After nearly 17 years of playing, I'm happy to report that I'm on to my second step Confused
- Namaste, Perry


Nice one, Perry! Laughing


Hey Erin! Each step has so much to offer, I'd rather be late than arrive at my destination early Very Happy
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Blog on shakuhachi, art and parenting - www.yungflutes.com
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Jon Palombi
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Joined: 11 May 2011
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Localisation: Vermont, USA

PostPosted: 2011-05-17, 05:25    Post subject: Greetings from a babe lost in the woods (of Vermont). Reply with quote

Quote:
Hi Jon, Thanks for your great introduction.
I recently lead a shakuhachi making workshop at Zen Mountain Monastery. In the group of participants were three people from Vermont. I think they all made very playable natural bore instruments. I can try to connect you to them. One has some experience and is studying traditionally. He showed me a wooden shakuhachi he made that was quite good.


Sure, that would be wonderful. Things are all spread-out in Vermont, so it's not easy to meet like-minded people. I've had a difficult time finding any groups that practice kendo in this state. It would be nice to know of some shakuhachi folks this far North. Thanks! Okay

Quote:
After nearly 17 years of playing, I'm happy to report that I'm on to my second step
- Namaste, Perry


I'm still looking for a descent pair of shoes (and a new shakuhachi)... but I imagine I'll be stretching out my foot for that first step, some time real soon.

Namaste to you and yours.
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Perry Yung
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Joined: 22 Mar 2011
Posts: 346
Localisation: New York City, UWS

PostPosted: 2011-05-17, 13:24    Post subject: Greetings from a babe lost in the woods (of Vermont). Reply with quote

Hi Jon, I will send a pm here unless you want to send me an email.
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