Care & Maintenance

Protect & Care For Your Japanese Shakuhachi Bamboo Flute

There are several steps you can take to protect and care for your Shakuachi. When caring for Shakuhachi, one must always consider the humidity and temperature. When the humidity drops below 20% and the temperature rises the Shakuhachi can become vulnerable to cracking. There are a few steps that can be taken to prevent this. One preventative measure that can be taken to protect your Shakuhachi is to use Camilla oil regularly. Apply a small amount of Camillia oil to the Shakuhachi by rubbing it on with your fingers. Doing this approximately every month or so can help to prevent the Shakuhachi from drying out too quickly. Do not allow your shakuhachi to become too dry. A few drops rubbed into the bamboo is sufficient, and always wipe off any excess. Be careful not to leave to much on the surface of your Shakuhachi as this will cause the surface of the flute to become gummy, so always rub in well and remove excess. Never leave your shakuhachi in direct sunlight or near sources of heating and air conditioning, even for short periods of time. Bamboo is sensitive to extreme changes in temperature and humidity. Stabilizing these conditions while storing your flute will ensure its longevity. Another very essential technique that can be taken to prevent your Shakuhachi from cracking is to store your Shakuhachi in a plastic Shakuhachi bag. Place your Shakuhachi in a plastic Shakuhachi bag, and then insert the plastic bag into your cloth Shakuhachi bag. Shawn’s home features a lower floor that is somewhat built into the low portion of a hillside, allowing the humidity to always be about 20% higher than the rest of the house. The demographics of this level of the house also enables it to stay much cooler. For these reasons, this portion of Shawn’s home is where he keeps all of his Shakuhachi, and he has never had a Shakuhachi stored in this area crack, and does not need to store them in plastic Shakuhachi bags when they’re in this area. If you have an area in your house that is similar to this, you can get a humidity gauge to monitor the conditions and then you can store your Shakuhachi in this area even without a plastic Shakuhachi bag. Another step you can take to protect you Shakuhachi is to fit it with an Utaguchi Cover. This is highly recommended to safeguard the delicate blowing edge of the shakuhachi. Also, when you are done playing your Shakuachi always run a tsuyutoshi or cleaning cloth through the bore of the shakuhachi to remove moisture. Leaving moisture inside the flute allows dust and dirt to build up along the bore, and will affect the tone of the instrument. Be very careful when cleaning the bore. Place your thumb over the utaguchi to protect its fine edge, then carefully drop the weight and string into the flute. Pull slowly until the cloth enters the bore without allowing the string to drag against the top or interior wall of the instrument. This may damage the blowing edge or remove paint from the bore. Pull the cloth through, then clean again. You also do not want to subject your Shakuhachi to extreme changes in temperature.

Shakuhachi Care & Maintenance