Though I don't usually sell shakuhachi myself, I am happy to refer new students to some great resources for buying a flute.
- First, there's Tai Hei Shakuhachi, where Monty Levenson makes some of the finest student-level flutes available. Monty has been crafting shakuhachi for over 39 years at his workshops in northern California and Japan. He developed the Precision Cast Bore technology that enables him to make high-quality flutes at a fraction of the price one would have to pay in Japan. His student-level instruments have set the standard and are being used worldwide. In addition Monty also makes beautiful professional-level shakuhachi, and his web site features a wide selection of playing guides, traditional notation, flute accessories, craft manuals, CDs and videos.
Special offer from Tai Hei Shakuhachi: If you become a student of mine (in person or on-line), you are eligible to receive a 10% discount on many of the instruments, accessories and instructional guides available at the Tai Hei Shakuhachi site! Just tell Monty you are studying with me.
- For those on a tight budget, the shakuhachi yuu is a very workable beginners' option. Though it is made of molded plastic rather than bamboo, it sounds surprisingly good and is a suitable bargain alternative for beginning lessons. The yuu has effectively reduced the cost of entry into the world of shakuhachi.
- There are two other American shakuhachi makers whose work I highly recommend: Perry Yung of Yung Flutes and Ken LaCosse of Mujitsu Shakuhachi. Both are skilled and reputable craftspeople who make shakuhachi in a variety of styles, many of which are suitable for beginning lessons.
- If you want to purchase a more expensive professional-level flute, I can steer you in the right direction and help you choose one. But please realize that each flute is unique, and evaluating a high-end shakuhachi is a skill in itself, a skill only learned from many years of playing and study. Unless you are an advanced student, I do not recommend buying one on your own, without the guidance of your teacher or other professional shakuhachi player.
Lastly, a brief warning: you can find some very inexpensive "shakuhachi" in online shopping venues such as Ebay. These offers are tempting. Unfortunately, however, the instruments are all too often not really shakuhachi at all, but generic bamboo flutes made roughly in the visual style of shakuhachi. They may be very good-sounding flutes in their own right, but due to tuning and other technical issues they are not suitable for studying traditional shakuhachi music. Be careful out there!