Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shakuhachi Project

I finished my first Shakuhachi, the Japanese traditional end-blown flute.

Following the "standard" specification, it has 5 equal sized finger holes, beautifully arranged at even spacing of 1/10th of the flute's length.

After drilling the bamboo nodes to create a continuous pipe, the bamboo was initiated with fire. The heat treatment process left burn marks on the bamboo, which I found aesthetically appeasing.

The next step is cutting the utaguchi (blowing edge) at the end of the bamboo. Finally, the finger holes were drilled. Fine tuning was done by adjusting the finger hole size and adding or removing materials from the bore.

For finishing, the word Shakuhachi (in Japanese character) was inlaid at the back of the utaguchi. Then three strips of rattan binding was introduced. The strips served as decoration as well as adding some strength to the bamboo.

Finally, a thin layer of lacquer was applied to give the bamboo a nice, smooth, shiny appearance. Listen to the sound of this instrument here:

USB from hell

In the middle of the night, when I was recording the last track for the ending credit of the movie KURSInya, my mic started to introduce a very annoying constant clicking noise. It was rather loud and occurs approximately every half second.

Tinkering with the cable connections did not help, so I decided to open the microphone. Due to its weird construction (it is a cheap dynamic microphone) I had to cut the cables to take out the mic out of its casing. I found that wiring the mic ground connection into a large, electrically isolated body reduces the noise. So I proceeded and finished the recording session.

However, the problem persists. The noise is reduced, but never fall to zero. The worst thing about it is I cannot put the mic back into its casing (I still cannot find a way to open it). So it is now hanging, naked on the stand.

Today I found that unplugging my USB printer from the computer eliminates the noise completely ...