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Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8
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Jon Kypros
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PostPosted: 2011-08-21, 21:30    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

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I developed RSI issues from too much playing and making, particularly in my right hand and had to switch to being a lefty on the shakuhachi. This created the necessity to get the finger holes closer which lead to me experimenting with getting them as close as possible. After a lot of time I was able to get them very close which is exciting news for those with small hands or disabilities. My method is opening them slowly by hand, a lot is intuitive and some calculations. Mostly opening them slowly and checking the pitch often.

Here is a pole 2.4 I made from madake grown in the mountains of North Carolina by Keiji Oshima (haikubamboonursery.net) compared side by side with a 1.8 I made with closer than standard holes. Keiji has been growing Japanese madake and other Japanese species of bamboo in North Carolina now for over 30 years.


Here is a 3.3 next to a 1.8 Yuu. Afterward I found I could get them even closer


Of course "the stake that sticks out gets hammered down" (出る杭は打たれる。), however, the reward has already been great in that I've been able to make shakuhachi for people who would otherwise not be able to play.

UPDATE: I am only doing this on longer bass shakuhachi longer than 2.7 which are not traditional length shakuhachi as anything longer than 2.0 is really uncommon until the 20th century. Of course people who would like closer holes can custom order any shakuhachi with closer finger holes.
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Last edited by Jon Kypros on 2011-12-05, 20:25; edited 5 times in total
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Yuusui
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PostPosted: 2011-08-26, 03:53    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

I find this very interesting. I am working on a 3.0 and the stretch is quite long for me. Being able to bring the holes in closer would be great. Are there any details that you would like to share?
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Bas Nijenhuis
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PostPosted: 2011-09-11, 12:15    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Does the pitch still stay ok? Do you have some sounds of the close-together-hole-flute? I would like to hear it.
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Jon Palombi
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PostPosted: 2011-09-13, 03:13    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Me too,

I share your curiosity, Bas. I also wonder how the longer ones compare with those with the traditional spacing, in both, depth of tone and pitch. It would be intriguing to hear side-by-side comparison sound bytes, between one of Jon's more comfortable playing flutes and a more traditionally spaced one... each in the same size and key, playing the very same tune, by the same musician. Idea

I love your blog, it's very creative. I think your performance at the recent seminar in Prague was wonderful. BTW, you bear a remarkable resemblance to Justin Hayward, lead singer of the 1960's British rock n' roll group, The Moody Blues.

I hope Jon doesn't mind me uploading these videos, in answer to your questions? I own one of his 2.1 and yes, the finger holes are much more closely spaced. It plays beautifully, though. Definitely check out the 3rd and last video, as it features one of his 3.3, with the closer-spaced fingering. Okay


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x8IKaHPHtc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5jNxs5fY_A&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laS-XhQUpkc[/b]
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Bas Nijenhuis
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PostPosted: 2011-09-14, 18:16    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Thanks for the links, I will check them out and thanks also for your remarks of my blog!
I seems that the flutes by looking at them defy physics...or some serious undercutting is done...?

I'll also check out the lead singer of the Moody blues...(didn't know I was a rockstar)
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Jon Palombi
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PostPosted: 2011-09-15, 02:48    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote



Justin Hayward was lead singer and guitarist for The Moody Blues, who along with Traffic, where the very first rock n' roll bands to include the flute in their music.

Just sayin'... and I admittedly, have totally digressed from the thread topic. Wink
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Jon Kypros
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PostPosted: 2011-09-18, 15:52    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Yuusui wrote:
I find this very interesting. I am working on a 3.0 and the stretch is quite long for me. Being able to bring the holes in closer would be great. Are there any details that you would like to share?


Hi! start opening them slowly by hand. You have to develop an instinctual feel for the relationship between dimension or space and pitch. Start holes small, check pitch often and move slowly.

Bas Nijenhuis wrote:
Does the pitch still stay ok? Do you have some sounds of the close-together-hole-flute? I would like to hear it.


Hi Bas! The pitch stays fine. I tune all my flutes to A 440.

Jon Palombi wrote:
Me too,

I share your curiosity, Bas. I also wonder how the longer ones compare with those with the traditional spacing, in both, depth of tone and pitch. It would be intriguing to hear side-by-side comparison sound bytes, between one of Jon's more comfortable playing flutes and a more traditionally spaced one... each in the same size and key, playing the very same tune, by the same musician. Idea


Hello and thank you Jon for providing those links!

Actually longer shakuhachi did not become popular until the 20th century. By the time they did become popular makers were already using drills instead of opening the holes by hand and since Japan is a right hand society most makers could off set the holes for righty and not worry about in-line holes or the possibility of closer holes. The rare leftys who wanted to break tradition and play long flutes could move the holes or commission a flute. This is why no one has done this before me.
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Last edited by Jon Kypros on 2011-12-05, 20:26; edited 1 time in total
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-09-18, 19:19    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Have you guys thought about holding the flute differently to take the stress off your wrists?
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kerry
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PostPosted: 2011-09-18, 20:24    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Jon Kypros wrote:
Any weak or lacking note stands out and moving the holes closer did not have a consistent affect on the tone, either good or bad. In other words, it was the same as before only now there was a different goal and great ergonomic results.

This is just one of many hole size references:
http://www.navaching.com/shaku/holesize.html

You don't find any variation of bright and dark, whether dramatic or subtle, between holes(notes) fashioned this way on what you would consider your better flutes? Taking into account, also, that someone could possibly prefer this type of variation within a particular shakuhachi given an acceptable timbre. I think your shakuhachi ergonomic goals are admirable Smile
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-09-18, 20:43    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Jon, I just looked at your videos and even with the 3.3 you are using your 3rd finger for hole 3. That puts a lot of strain on your wrist. Fingering with 4 instead and using the pads instead of the tips takes a lot of stress off and maybe you don't have to use such drastic measures.
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Jon Kypros
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PostPosted: 2011-09-19, 02:50    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

kerry wrote:
Jon Kypros wrote:
Any weak or lacking note stands out and moving the holes closer did not have a consistent affect on the tone, either good or bad. In other words, it was the same as before only now there was a different goal and great ergonomic results.

This is just one of many hole size references:
http://www.navaching.com/shaku/holesize.html

You don't find any variation of bright and dark, whether dramatic or subtle, between holes(notes) fashioned this way on what you would consider your better flutes? Taking into account, also, that someone could possibly prefer this type of variation within a particular shakuhachi given an acceptable timbre. I think your shakuhachi ergonomic goals are admirable Smile


Hi Kerry. Nothing dramatic or even out of the ordinary on any level of shakuhachi. This may sound impossible however to get the finger holes this close one just has to very carefully and slowly open them. So nothing drastic is being done. Thanks for the support. The chin rest is another ergonomic challenge but much easier to tackle! But that is another thread.

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
Jon, I just looked at your videos and even with the 3.3 you are using your 3rd finger for hole 3. That puts a lot of strain on your wrist. Fingering with 4 instead and using the pads instead of the tips takes a lot of stress off and maybe you don't have to use such drastic measures.


Thank you for checking those out and for the advice. I will give the little pinky finger a chance. My only issue with my brief attempts at using the little finger is that for me at least it's hard to get the same pop action especially for Watazumi lineage.
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Last edited by Jon Kypros on 2011-09-20, 15:37; edited 7 times in total
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-09-19, 03:09    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Jon Kypros wrote:


Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
Jon, I just looked at your videos and even with the 3.3 you are using your 3rd finger for hole 3. That puts a lot of strain on your wrist. Fingering with 4 instead and using the pads instead of the tips takes a lot of stress off and maybe you don't have to use such drastic measures.


Thank you for checking those out and for the advice. I will give the pinky a chance. I typically use the pads accept on off set holes like on that 3.3.


I approach long flutes as a different instrument than 1.8. Similarly you would not use violin fingering on an upright bass. Instead of supporting the bamboo mainly with the thumb, the bamboo rests in the "V" between thumb and forefinger on the right hand. Takes strain off the right hand and loosens the grip. For the left hand I use 4 on the 3 hole on some flutes, which also reduces strain. This way I have been able to play huge, heavy and long flutes with minimal discomfort. However I didn't do it for comfort, I just thought it was more efficient. Now when I play flutes with offset holes it forces me to grip it more like a 1.8 and, for me anyway, puts strain on my wrists and thumb. If you look at some of my videos Ken put on youtube you can see it.
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Jon Kypros
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PostPosted: 2011-09-19, 03:21    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
I approach long flutes as a different instrument than 1.8. Similarly you would not use violin fingering on an upright bass. Instead of supporting the bamboo mainly with the thumb, the bamboo rests in the "V" between thumb and forefinger on the right hand. Takes strain off the right hand and loosens the grip. For the left hand I use 4 on the 3 hole on some flutes, which also reduces strain. This way I have been able to play huge, heavy and long flutes with minimal discomfort. However I didn't do it for comfort, I just thought it was more efficient. Now when I play flutes with offset holes it forces me to grip it more like a 1.8 and, for me anyway, puts strain on my wrists and thumb. If you look at some of my videos Ken put on youtube you can see it.


Oh yeah, the "bag piper's grip". I prefer the piper grip on 2.4 and longer if the diameter allows for it. I off-set holes if the flute is so long that it is necessary in order to keep the wrist from having to bend away from neutral which for me is 3.0+. Neutral wrist position occurs when you make a fist.
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Last edited by Jon Kypros on 2011-09-20, 15:40; edited 1 time in total
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Jon Kypros
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PostPosted: 2011-09-20, 15:15    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

PS My little finger was too skinny so it wont work for Chi. Closer holes will benefit those with disabilities and or small/skinny fingers the most.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2011-09-20, 23:21    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8 Reply with quote

Jon Kypros wrote:
PS My little finger was too skinny so it wont work for Chi. Closer holes will benefit those with disabilities and or small/skinny fingers the most.


Yes finger and hand size is a big determinant. We discovered that with Taimu. A lot of people could not close the holes, they were too big.
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PostPosted: Today at 06:49    Post subject: Finger holes as close as possilbe - 2.4 as close as 1.8

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