Kitahara Seikado works by selecting the bamboo to make shakuhachi.
Regarding the common Japanese native bamboo, no two pieces are exactly the same, and as a result, the shaping of the inside bore, which determines the sound production, is handmade and individual. Thus, every shakuhachi has a unique tone, and the affinity between a player and the shakuhachi becomes very important. However, our fundamental premise demands that in musical performance, all instruments must be free from defects. Kitahara Seikado produces "the shakuhachi as a musical instrument" with thorough quality control, which many people, from shakuhachi beginners to professional musicians, can use with peace of mind.
The tuning is carried out by Ikuya Kitahara and Hiroki Kitahara. Both of us repeatedly check the instruments, as we both have a different way of blowing. This enables the instrument to be stable and to be easy to play from Otsu to Kan (lower register to higher register) or daikan and with special techniques in the upper registers.
Some pitch variations are possible due to season and room temperature, but we set and tune up the scale with a good balance of stability, and to be available as far as possible throughout the entire year. Individual differences may be reflected in the balance of the tuning for a little while after your purchase. Please feel free to contact us, as we can make a fine adjustment and match the pitch of the customer.
Our system of fitting the embouchure （Utaguchi) began in 1973, and has enjoyed a favorable reception from many players, since this system improves the affinity between the player and the musical instrument more than previous systems. As for the shakuhachi, the sound is derived by the breath of the player, which should be converted into a sound naturally and efficiently. We pay much attention to the shape around the player’s mouth and chin, which the musical instrument touches most, and fine-tune the shape of the contact points of the musical instrument around the chin, to find a position that allows efficient sound production. This system helps the player not only to improve performance using the musical in-strument, but also reduces waste and excess effort when blowing is at a lower level. As a result, it becomes easier to play with a good tone.
From the maker’s point of view, the best way to make progress is to practice with a "high-performance musical instrument suited to the player him or herself". When customers purchase a shakuhachi for the first time, they often tell us that they find it difficult to know what the standard is. Easy control of volume to create a contrast between strong and restrained dynamic levels, the right pitch, ease in bending semitones, comfortable sound, natural flow of the breath, and polished sound: these are some criteria. At Kitahara Seikado we repeatedly check your blowing-style and your way of breathing and give you feedback concerning the analysis of these, as an aid not only in the choice of a shakuhachi, but also as a means of trouble-shooting and advice towards making progress.
We work every day at studying the instrument in order to evolve our shakuhachi construction, hoping to make it better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today. We hope you will take up the latest "Seika brand shakuhachi", experiencing for yourself this step forward.