A Shakuhachi for you


What is it?

The shakuhachi is a Japanese instrument designed in the 7th century by modifying the Chinese xiao. 
A person that plays the shakuhachi it’s just called a shakuhachi player.   

Here’s how it looks and sounds

Not to be confused with

You may hear about it with other names. Pronounced [ˌʃakʊˈhatʃi], from the Japanese meaning 1.8 shaku.

Category

The instrument is from the Wind family meaning the sound comes by blowing air in a mouthpiece into a tube(resonator). 

Variants

The types of shakuhachi are determined by their details:

  • Jiari: has Ji(a plaster) inside the bamboo. 
  • Jinashi: doesn’t have Ji.
  • Jimori has a little bit of Ji.
  • Hocchiku: made with bamboo and his root-end.
  • Kinko/ Tozan: different mouthpieces.

This can be confusing, just know that the differences affect very little, having the correct size and the standard 5 & 7 holes is more than enough.

In terms of materials, the options are usually wood(bamboo)  or even plastic (PBC), sometimes even brass. The material has no effect on the sound (our article here) but it does in price and durability.

Before you buy 

Getting a shakuhachi for sale? as a gift? If you do, here’s all you need to know.

The price of the instrument is around $55 – 330 USD, the cheapest we found was a 5 hole bamboo shakuhachi and the most expensive was a 5 hole root end shakuhachi.

In the middle we have something like a 7 hole shakuhachi in G for $160 USD, you can search in amazon here or eBay here.

There’s not much in terms of brands, just make sure they have a guarantee and shipping to your country, good reviews and if they don’t you can get them other ways.

The size goes around 16 x 1.5 x 1.5 In (40 x 3.8 x 3.8 Cm) – 22 x 2 x 2 In (55 x 5 x 5 Cm) and has a weight from 0.7 Lbs (0.31 Kgs) to 1 Lbs (.45 Kgs).         

Now that you know, you can check on Ebay here.

Accessories

There are a lot of accessories, but not for this instrument, just the usual like a bag or a case, but also a stand, but those work for every instrument.

How to learn the shakuhachi   

We recommend learning to read sheet music, play notes and learn the tricks of playing songs.
For learning to read sheets we try a lot of resources to help you choose.

To learn to play all notes you need a finger chart (also known as position chart).

The tips & tricks are all the details that combined make a big difference.

They way you hold it, efficient warmups, positions and techniques.


You can search for music sheets in places like alcvin & shakuhachi.com.

Here are some book and courses with pros & cons:

Remember, the shakuhachi is easy to learn and fast too, it’s also similar to the Bansuri, Danso, Dizi & Kaval in playstyle so you can combine those resources to help you learn, we hope this helps, we’ll keep working on this article.

Luis Gerardo

Musician as a hobby for +6 years, documenting every instrument in simple words for this website.

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