The Bell Shakuhachi 1.8 D
Handcrafted by me from an eco-friendly bamboo composite material
A $3,000 shakuhachi for $149 – Back-ordered, purchase to reserve yours!
Current wait is about 1 week
The Bell Shakuhachi 1.8 D
- My bamboo eco-composite material is lighter than plastic or ABS and weighs the same as most 1.8 shakuhachi, it’s better for the environment, and it won’t crack or split from changes in weather like other shakuhachi
- Handcrafted in one solid piece so there’s no joint to worry about breaking
- Free introductory one-hour live lesson over video chat (no purchase necessary, offered to all)
Click to enlarge
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’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 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.
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How is the Bell different from plastic, wood, or 3D printed shakuhachi? How accurate of a replica is the Bell compared to the original?
The Bell is the first and only available copy of a jinashi natural bamboo shakuhachi while the plastic or wood shakuhachi out there are copies of modern jiari shakuhachi. This is significant because jinashi have natural bamboo bores while jiari have man-made glass smooth bores. Quality jinashi shakuhachi are extremely rare because of the difficulty in acquiring madaké bamboo with ideal dimensions and due to the higher level of skill that’s required to make them. A truly great piece of natural bamboo is about 1 out of 100, if we’re being generous.
The Bell is also made out of an eco-friendly bamboo composite material and actually looks like bamboo. My bamboo eco-composite material is lighter than plastic shakuhachi, better for the environment, and won’t crack or split from changes in the weather like other shakuhachi. The mold copies every little detail down to the fine bamboo end-grain which you can see in the image below. It can pick up a fingerprints and probably has at least one of mine on there somewhere. I make these by hand in a mold because 3D printing cannot currently match this high level of definition, which I found out by briefly pursuing 3D printing.
Win a free Bell shakuhachi and 4 live lessons
I’ve made an unedited raw side-by-side comparison mp3 below of the original and a Bell replica. You can win a free Bell shakuhachi and 4 lessons by correctly identifying each of the 14 Chi “long-tones”. There’s a pause in-between each of the 14 Chi and the order is random. Email your guesses to me with the subject “Free Bell” using the letter O for “original” and B for “Bell” in groups of two like this “OB BB OB” and so on. Good luck!
How should I care for my Bell shakuhachi?
All you have to do is periodically clean the inside as you would with any shakuhachi. Visit the caring for your shakuhachi page to see a video on how to tie a bore cleaning cloth or “tsuyutoshi”. Avoid leaving the Bell in temperatures exceeding 120° F 49° C. You can clean the outside with mild soap and a smooth non-abrasive cloth.
What is the line down the back of the Bell Shakuhachi?
The line down the back to the left of the thumb-hole is a superficial impression line from where the mold opens and closes. It varies from mold to mold and sometimes I have to sand it down and polish it. Being superficial it’s only cosmetic. See the image below.
Why did you make the Bell?
I made the Bell because quality jinashi shakuhachi are extremely rare and expensive, especially 1.8 D’s. I couldn’t even keep up with a meager demand for expensive $2000-$3000 dollar 1.8’s because nature only gave me about 5 or less a year. Furthermore, most people could not afford these prices either. As a teacher I naturally wanted everyone to have the best shakuhachi for the most affordable price. The solution was to copy one of my finest jinashi shakuhachi, inside and out, and make replicas at an affordable price. This would be the only way that most people would ever play a high quality jinashi regardless of their budget. The Bell is a master level jinashi shakuhachi that someone could grow with their whole journey, all the way up to teaching or performing at the highest level.
It took me over a decade just to find a piece of madaké bamboo with the ideal dimensions for the Bell project. I harvested hundreds of pieces of madaké bamboo and sourced some from Japan as well. They have to be painstakingly dug up by the roots which is very hard labor. They then have to be heated over hot coals very carefully, lovingly dried in the sun for a month, and then further dried in storage for 2 years or more. After all of this, a piece could prove to be unsuitable once the nodes are opened up and the preliminary work is done on the finger holes. At this rate, $3,000 begins to look like a bargain I believe, even if most of us cannot afford it.
What is a jinashi shakuhachi?
The two types of shakuhachi are jinashi and jiari (地無し and 地在り). Historically, the first types of shakuhachi were jinashi while jiari came about much later. Jinashi are natural bamboo on the inside of the bore and can have thin coats of lacquer and sometimes lumps for tuning/balance. The bore of jiari are completely shaped with layers of thick plaster which is then coated with lacquer. The first jiari were made by applying many layers of a paste called ji, however, today jiari are mostly made using various casting methods.
Quality jinashi shakuhachi are extremely rare because of the difficulty in acquiring madaké bamboo with ideal dimensions and due to the higher level of skill that’s required to make them. A truly great piece of natural bamboo is about 1 out of 100, if we’re being generous.
On the other hand, plastered jiari shakuhachi are easier to make because a predetermined bore profile is cast or formed inside of the bamboo using plaster, or glue, and mandrels. The length of a jiari is also adjusted using a center joint and sometimes more joints hidden under inlaid bindings. Natural jinashi, however, are usually or ideally made with no joints in “one-piece” or nobé. This also means that whether or a not a piece will be the right length of a pure A440 tonic/RO note, which all other notes are tuned to, is largely up to nature. This increases the difficulty and rarity of jinashi shakuhachi made to a perfect A440 note.
What is “bamboo composite material” and how does it sound compared to bamboo?
The Bell shakuhachi is made from an eco-composite which is the combination of a natural material(s) and a binder. After much research and testing I developed an ideal bamboo eco-composite for the Bell shakuhachi. It has a near identical weight, it’s durable, it will not crack or split like other shakuhachi from changes in the weather, and it’s more eco-friendly. As for sound, the “material” debate has been simmering for centuries and I imagine it will continue as long as people play flutes. I personally feel that my opinion is irrelevant on the subject because I stand to financially benefit. Test your ear with the mp3 challenge above and refer to the many reviews of the Bell shakuhachi from both beginners and experience shakuhachi players.
When did you copy your first jinashi shakuhachi inside and out? Because [blank] has copied a jinashi shakuhachi.
I began experimenting with copying jinashi shakuhachi back in 2007. In 2012 I was the first person to copy a jinashi shakuhachi inside and out, but I never sold them. In 2013 I sold a few from the second jinashi shakuhachi I copied which was also under the name Bell. I then took a long break to make a more ideal jinashi shakuhachi, to perfect my process, and to develop my bamboo eco-composite material.
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Countries the Bell shakuhachi calls home
Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, USA