The first and only copy of a jinashi shakuhachi for sale
Handcrafted one at a time by Jon from his bamboo eco-composite material
$249 + s&h
The above video is an example or “proof of concept” for how Jon Kypros makes the Bell Shakuhachi. First, bamboo is copied using a silicone mold. Then Jon’s bamboo eco-composite material is poured in. The result is a copy with “finger print” level of fidelity. Jon’s complex mold design (not in the video) allows him to cast each Bell Shakuhachi in one solid piece, finger-holes and all.
(click images to enlarge)
- Recommended and played by practitioners of all levels
- Jon’s bamboo eco-composite material is lighter than ABS/100% plastic (380~ grams) and it won’t crack or split from changes in weather like other shakuhachi
- Complete copy, inside and out, of a jinashi shakuhachi made by Jon
- Artisanal, made one at a time by Jon’s hands, not “mass produced”
- One solid piece, so there’s no center joint or seams to worry about breaking or separating
- Can play all of the techniques and notes required for Honkyoku and Sankyoku music. This includes the necessary dai kan or “third octave” notes
- Free beginner’s shakuhachi course available to all
Kiku Day ESS Newsletter
“I can highly recommend the Bell Shakuhachi for any player starting out on the long and windy shakuhachi journey or for anyone who needs a sturdy shakuhachi to travel with or have lying around in the house so you can pick it up and play at when-ever you happen to pass by it without worrying about it cracking. I am really happy we now have this decent priced alternative to a bamboo shakuhachi!” – Kiku Day 2019, Vol.1 ESS Newsletter
Jonen “Jerry” Schmick
“I’m absolutely blown away by the Bell shakuhachi. It feels good through and through and plays amazingly well. I highly recommend the Bell to anyone. They will be amazed. I often play outside in poor weather with extreme temperatures and I have had shakuhachi crack, get damaged, or even stolen. So it’s great to have a rugged, go anywhere, worry free shakuhachi that looks and feels like a jinashi shakuhachi.” – Jonen “J. R.” Schmick, 2018, Japan
Brian Tairaku Ritchie
“In the picture above the Bell Shakuhachi is in the middle. The other 1.8’s are a Yamaguchi Shiro jinashi and an Okubo Kodo jiari. The Bell is an excellent shakuhachi which can be used for lessons, teaching or performing up to the professional level at a very accessible price. Super quality for the value. Well thought out design. Kudos to Jon for taking the initiative to producing a good instrument for the people.” – Brian Tairaku Ritchie, 2018
David Erath Jr.
“The Bell is an incredible instrument, as high quality as any top end bamboo jinashi shakuhachi. I highly recommend the Bell shakuhachi to everyone. For professionals, it not only makes the perfect all weather/environment travel shakuhachi, due to being composite bamboo and not prone to cracking, but it also plays and sounds amazing. For beginners, there is no better shakuhachi in my opinion, especially if one wishes to experience an older style, jinashi shakuhachi sound. Before the Bell, someone would have to pay thousands of dollars for a jinashi shakuhachi at the level of the Bell, if they could even find one for sale. Amazing work! I love it!” – David Erath, 2018
Fuu Miyatani French
“I’m an active Komuso in Osaka, Japan. Jerry in Nara let me borrow one of your Bell shakuhachi. I played it and liked it…a lot! I showed it to my Sensei who is VERY particular about Shakuhachi. He was impressed with your work. Not only with the look but also with the sound. So much so that he had me take my lesson for the day on the Bell shakuhachi instead of my regular instrument! He said “This [The Bell] will help you learn more. You can improve with this flute. I recommend this flute [the Bell] for sessions with modern instruments as well as honkouku.”
Congrats on a job well done Jon.” – Fuu Miyatani French, 2018
“How should I care for my Bell Shakuhachi?”
The Bell Shakuhachi cannot crack or split like bamboo. Like any shakuhachi, swabing after playing is recommended to maintain hygiene. If needed, shakuhachi can be cleaned with mild soap and/or distilled white vinegar. Avoid leaving the Bell Shakuhachi in temperatures exceeding 120° F / 49° C. Each Bell Shakuhachi is cast in one solid piece, so there are no joints or seams to worry about. There’s one superficial “impression line” down the back from where the mold opens up (see the “How Jon Makes the Bell Shakuhachi” video). Therefore, this is not a seam and no special care is needed.
“How do you make the Bell Shakuhachi and how does it compare to bamboo, plastic, and wooden shakuhachi?”
As we can see above, Jon’s mold copies every visible detail of the bamboo piece. CNC machining and even 3D printing cannot currently match this level of fidelity. Physically, as mentioned above, Jon’s bamboo eco-composite material won’t crack like bamboo. While bamboo is lighter in weight, the Bell Shakuhachi weighs about the same as an average jiari type shakuhachi at 380 grams (jiari are bamboo on the outside, plaster or glue on the inside). 100% plastic shakuhachi and some wooden instruments weigh much more at 450 to 500+ grams. This can cause some people undue strain resulting in pain and injury.
Jon crafts each Bell Shakuhachi by hand, one at a time, using a complex mold of the the original or “master” bamboo jinashi shakuhachi, which he also handcrafted. These molds are also made by Jon’s hand, one at a time. Jon’s complex mold design (not in the video) allows him to cast each Bell Shakuhachi in one solid piece, finger-holes and all. He makes each Bell Shakuhachi by casting into his molds using his bamboo eco-composite material. The result is an unparalleled copy of a jinashi bamboo shakuhachi.
The Bell Shakuhachi is different from other “alternative material” shakuhachi in a number of ways. The most significant difference is that the Bell Shakuhachi is the first and only copy of a jinashi (jimori) natural bamboo shakuhachi. Secondly, thanks to Jon’s bamboo eco-composite material, each Bell Shakuhachi weighs about the same as an average jiari type shakuhachi at around 380 grams. Conversely, many other alternative material shakuhachi weigh much more at 450 to 500+ grams. This can cause some people undue strain resulting in pain and injury.
“Why did you create the Bell Shakuhachi?”
Jon created the Bell Shakuhachi mainly because quality jinashi and jimori shakuhachi are rare and most shakuhachi, regardless of type, are far too expensive for many people. The Bell shakuhachi is also the first to explore the realm of copying jinashi and jimori shakuhachi. In this way, Jon hopes it furthers the ongoing dialogue about types of shakuhachi and the materials from which they are made. Ultimately, he wishes for the Bell Shakuhachi to help the worldwide shakuhachi community to grow.
“Why is it called the Bell Shakuhachi?”
Bells of all kinds have a long and important history in Japan. Serendipitously, the shape of the root-end of bamboo which is used for shakuhachi also resembles a bell. It’s often referred to as the “bell” or “bell-end”. There’s also a Honkyoku shakuhachi piece titled Reibo 鈴慕 which translates as “Yearning for/Missing the Bell”. With these things in mind, it becomes clear why Jon named his work, the Bell Shakuhachi.
“When did you copy your first jinashi shakuhachi?”
Jon began experimenting with copying bamboo jinashi shakuhachi back in 2007. In 2012 he was the first person to copy a jinashi shakuhachi inside and out. In 2013 Jon released the first iteration of the Bell Shakuhachi for sale. He then decided to discontinue sales in order to make a more ideal bamboo “master” jinashi shakuhachi for the project, to further perfect his process, and to develop his bamboo eco-composite material. In November of 2018, Jon was finally able to release the current Bell Shakuhachi. He hopes to eventually offer more Bell Shakuhachi which will be copies of different lengths/keys.