Q: How do hardwood shakuhachi compare in playability and sound to fine bamboo instruments?
A: All shakuhachi rely on the accuracy of the bore; in general, the bore and its interaction with the jet gives an instrument its sound, not the material used. The interior bore is accurately cut with steel reamers so every flute is consistent in its tuning and performance. Irrespective of the materials used in shak-making, there are always some bad shaks and some very good shaks, the difference is simply the maker of the flute.
Q: Will the weight of a shakuhachi affect the sound?
A: No. Weight has little to do with playability, except if you have wrist or hand injuries. Custom-made shaks crafted out of lightweight woods will allow customers with such injuries to continue playing.
Q: I have this amazing piece of timber, can you make a flute for me?
A: Of course! In the past I have received many rare and unusual timbers to make flutes from. I always take delight in making a flute from timber of this sort. In nearly all instances, it is a world first and a truly unique instrument. It also leaves the customer with a strong feeling of individuality and participation in the creation of the flute.
Q: Do longer shakuhachi have a deeper range, and do they require a larger breath volume?
A: A 2.4 shak will give you deeper tone, but does not require greater breath volume to play it. Most traditional shakuhachi do not exceed 2.4, this is due to physical size of the player as 2.6 or greater means that it may well be out of the player's reach.