zondag 8 mei 2011

Sold: 1.8 Kono Gyokusui

Shaved Roots for weight reduction and because the roots were in bad shape before
This will be a larger entry on my very nice Gyukusui. I have two and decided to let one go.
Looking at the more simple hanko it seems most likely that it is made by Gyokusui Kono the first. It is a warm full soundig player, capable of all things a good shakuhachi must be able to do.



Originaly I got this flute from Jeff Cairns, who has nice flutes for sale now and then. Before the restauration the flute underwent this was what Jeff wrote about the flute:

This is an excellent example of Gyokusui Kono's work. Dense, hefty madake with a buffalo horn Tozan utaguchi inlay and very unusual Higo Zogan (black steel with gold inlay - Damascene crafted in Kumamoto, Japan) nakastugi rings depicting a wild boar running into a bamboo grove.
Expert repairs of inlaid rattan binding have been done to the upper half of the instrument with no comprimiseto playability or sound quality.
Plays in tune with even intonation up into the 3rd octave. A warm, full sounding player. 
Gyokusui Family of flutes, mine is most left
The flute was cracked before I got it and that was professionally repaired with inlaid rattan bindings.
Unfortenately the flute had been altered as well. Someone had made the blowing part smaller. This effected the ro, tsu and re, they were not so full sounding and the Dai Kan 'e' Yon no ha was too difficult to sound. I decided to let Perry Yung take a look at it and for the better! He precisely restored the flute to its most original specifications with his low impact approach. The roots were a bit damaged or worn (or eaten, ha ha) so the were reworked and shaved in the end. The flute is a dense one, about 500 grams, so the shaving was ok and it looks nice as well.

Here is a list of things that were done restoring the flute:

- Reshaped back wall of utaguchi to sharpen the edge. Before it was customized detrimentally by rounding it.
- Removed some Ji material at the top inside the bore that was not original. This made Ro very stuffy and unresponsive.
- Spot tuned at four areas - top, middle of top and where both ends meet at the joint. These areas helped Ro, Tsu and Re and Ha Yon.
- Made Joint more snug. It rock previously. There was a gap on one of the top joint as the bamboo warped after the crack. This went up into the middle of the top and was a reason why Re and Ha Yon was not good.
- Cosmetic work by shaving the root.

I've also contacted Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin to tap from his knowledge about this making family. Here is what he wrote back:

As for the HANKO question, unfortunately I have never seen the first posted - very simple - Gyokusui Hanko. When I first read your email, I thought that I would see the very close (but definitely different) HANKO that is written GYOKUZAN. For this HANKO belongs to GETSUDO's younger brother - GYOKUZAN. However, the simple GYOKUSUI may have been an early HANKO used by GYOKUSUI  I. The latest GYOKUSUI (the grandson of the original GYOKUSUI I) uses the same HANKO and is a formidable maker as well. So, without a doubt all 3 generations use the same HANKO. The only question is about the simple HANKO.

(By the way, they did work together and the in the final 20 years of Gyokusui I's life. Perhaps over 90% of the Shakuhachi were usually made by Getsudo. But the old man would not let a flute out of his House without his approval. At that time onjly, did he put his HANKO on the flute.)

As for Any of them being a "Tozan" maker:
1-Since WWII, no one really makes the old-style Tozan-flutes.
2-The Utaguchi shape is really only made Tozan or Kinko- style in deference to the Sensei  and style of the person who ordered the flute.
3-Since GYOKUSUI s have always lived in KANSAI (in Toyonaka - near the Osaka Airport. This is also where Nagahiro Shinzan lives and works.), almost all of the Sensei in Kansai are Tozan (with the notable exception of Kurahashi Yodo I and II, among a few others). So they almost always (but not always) will use the Tozan Utaguchi. But THE REST OF THE FLUTE IS ALWAYS MADE IN THE KINKO-STYLE . You can see that even Shinzan (who always uses Tozan Utaguchi-shape, actually always makes Kinko-sty;e flutes- just like Gyokusui.
4- Notice that on all of these flutres the #3 hole is always smaller - in Kinko-style - among the bore differences, etc.

It is only the Utaguchi that is Tozan, about the Gyokusui flutes.The reason that I believe that they are so special is that they are ideal for Gaikyoku as well as Honkyoku. That is, they don't have the crisp, loud" sound (like Zenmura, etc,) that would be best used for Gaikyoku and Minyo, but have this sweet, wistfull sound that is excellent for Honkyoku. Even though I specialize in longer flutes for my Honkyoku playing, it is good to have a sensitive sweet instrument for playing Honkyoku on 1.8 Shakuhachi.

So quite a flute with a history. To hear some sound see below:


maandag 2 mei 2011

Kurahashi Workshop and WSF 2012

Yesterday on a sunny Sunday, Kurahashi Sensei held a very nice workshop about the Kinko piece 'Akita Sugagaki'. On of the Kinko Honkyokyu. He explained some rule about Kinko style of playing en we worked our way through this piece, which seems to have no special meaning. If you want to give it a go, you can find several PDF's of songs and the one mentioned above here
The Buddistic Broadcast also recorden aspects of the workshop, so that may be on the air someday. When it does I'll add the link to that as well.

Kurahashi also told more about the World Shakuhachi Festival in 2012 Kyoto, which he is organising.
He told a site will be up about it in a few days. The core shedule will be like this:
May 31th (Friday) : registration en welcome event
June 1st: International Shakuhachi Concert, which will be on all day
June 2nd: Unique, Rye concert als schools are showing what they are all about, and in one concert hall...
June 3rd Master Concert
June 4th Another International Concert

On the 'side' there are many workshops, small concerts, one special one held at the Myonji Temple, which is there annual concert.
During the WSF there is also a Noh-play event. So a lot to experience in Kyoto next summer.
Better start up saving, or selling a flute to get there :)