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
(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
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!
I’m absolutely blown away by the Bell. 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, damaged, or stolen in the past. So it’s also great to have a rugged, go anywhere, worry free shakuhachi that looks and feels like a jinashi shakuhachi.
I have a collection of shakuhachi from the most well known and respected makers in Japan and the US, both jinashi and jiari shakuhachi. The combination of look and feel, playability, tone, fullness of tone, and tuning on your Bell is unmatched, not to mention the price. It is an incredible instrument, as high quality as any top end shakuhachi. In fact, 3 weeks ago I played a new shakuhachi by one of the best Japanese makers that was for sale for more than $5,000, and from what I recall the tone of your Bell is on the same level as that one, but the tuning and playability of your Bell are even better.
I would highly, highly recommend your Bell to anyone who plays shakuhachi. For professionals, it not only makes the perfect all weather/environment travel flute due to being composite bamboo and not prone to cracking, but it plays and sounds absolutely amazing. Everyone should have one in their collection! For beginners, there is no better shakuhachi. Before today, a beginner would have to pay hundreds of dollars for a shakuhachi that could do only half of what your Bell can do, or thousands of dollars for one of a similar level of quality. Amazing work! I love it!
I am a 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 the look but the sound. So much so he had me take my lesson for the day on the Bell shauhachi instead of mine. 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.
I received the Bell today and oh my God, it sounds incredible. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the experience of playing a Jinashi flute until I received the Bell. I have been playing a Jiari flute that was supplied to me by a shakuhachi teacher in San Diego, which sounds incredible, breathy, loud and powerful. But even though the Bell is the “cheaper” shakuhachi, it is more in-tune than the Jiari, it is easier to play, more enjoyable, and it is MINE. Not to mention that it is absolutely beautiful on the outside.
I can also play it at any volume I desire, and it has this natural, mystical sound that sucks me into the experience of playing it. I just have to say, it went above and beyond all expectations and I am so blessed to have this in my possession. You did an absolutely amazing job, and this Shakuhachi will be my new companion, and I have no doubt that it can last a lifetime. Thank you so much.
I received the Bell Shakuhachi. You have done a fine job! I love the aesthetic of the root end and the subtle coloration. The blowing is easy and the sound is true. You were right that I love the Ro! What I am happiest about is that you are perfecting the Bell, and making it available at an affordable price for your students… which makes it easy for both students to acquire a quality jinashi shakuhachi and makes it easier for you as teacher, knowing exactly what sound the Bell is capable of making. You have done a wonderful thing!
Your work for these past ten years to create a composite jinashi replica will make life much easier for shakuhachi students of the future. Thank you, again, Jon, for your dedication, your art, and your generosity of spirit. All the best.
“How should I care for my Bell shakuhachi?”
Like any shakuhachi, swab after playing, periodically clean the inside, and clean the outside as needed. Avoid leaving the Bell in temperatures exceeding 120° F / 49° C. People generally clean their shakuhachi with mild soap and/or distilled white vinegar. The Bell Shakuhachi won’t crack or split like bamboo. They’re cast in one solid piece so there are no joints or seams to worry about (there are two superficial “impression lines” from where molds open up so Jon can get things out. These are not seams but rather just surface impressions from where molds open).
“How does it compare to bamboo?”
Above is one of Jon’s first, relatively simple attempts at molding and copying a piece of bamboo. On the left is a black resin copy (not Jon’s current bamboo eco-composite) and on the right is the original piece of bamboo. As we can see, Jon’s mold copied every visible detail of the bamboo. Jon now crafts his molds so that he can copy every single aspect of his original bamboo jinashi shakuhachi, inside and out, finger-holes and all. CNC machining and even 3D printing cannot currently match the level of surface fidelity one can get with molds. Physically, as mentioned above, Jon’s eco-composite material won’t crack like bamboo. Bamboo is lighter in weight, however, 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).
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?”
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.
“How is the Bell Shakuhachi made?”
Jon crafts each Bell Shakuhachi by hand, one at a time, using his molds of the the original or “master” bamboo jinashi shakuhachi which he also handcrafted. These molds are made by Jon, by his hand, one at a time. 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.
“How is it different from plastic and wooden 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 natural bamboo shakuhachi. Before the Bell, all other alternative material shakuhachi available for purchase were copies of jiari shakuhachi which have completely plastered smooth, man-made bores. These bores tend to be narrow, sounding loud and brassy like silver flute. On the other hand, jinashi and jimori shakuhachi tend to have wider sized bores with a broader “tonal range” in the first register Otsu and a more mellow, warm sound. Jon also crafted the original jinashi shakuhachi “master” for the Bell with design aspects from studying and researching antique jinashi shakuhachi.
“When did you copy your first jinashi shakuhachi inside and out?”
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.