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Bamboo Flute Playing Tips

How To Make A Tone

Blow across the blow hole to make a tone which may take
some time but, with a little practice, you will soon be getting
strong, clear notes. Remember; you must blow a thin stream of air
ACROSS the opening, NOT INTO the opening.

To begin, hold the flute extending to your right side. This is the
traditional position whether you are right or left-handed. Of course,
you can always be non-traditional and position the flute out to your left
side.

Place the edge of the blow hole just above the edge of your lower lip. Your lower lip extends a bit over the edge of the breath hole. A mirror can help you get a good emboucher (mouth position).

DO NOT cover any of the finger holes at first. Now place your lips
together and blow a thin stream of air across the blow hole as if you
are trying to split the stream in half on the edge of the blow hole.
Half of the stream will end up going into the blow hole and half will go
across it. Once you have a clear tone, cover the thumb hole and descend the scale, now cover the 4th, now the third, second until all holes are closed. You are now playing the root note your flute is tuned to. There are 2-3 octaves in all flutes and as you increase your power of breath the flute will jump to the second octave. The lowest octave is the first. Start with the first octave and work on getting consistent tones. Elongate the sound of your notes and tune in!

Holding The Flute Properly

Your hands should be positioned so that your left hand faces toward you
and the thumb, index and middle finger covers the first three holes.
These are the ones closest to the blow hole. Remember that the flute
extends to the right. Your right hand faces away from you and the
index and ring fingers cover the next two holes.

Here is a fingering chart from Juha Rikka of Finland who purchased one of my earlier designs. I suggest to play up and down the scale ascending and descending and improvising among the notes. Through half fingerings and trilling (rapidly opening and closing the hole) you can get into some wonderful sounds. Search online for Native American 5 tone hole flute tablature, or Japanese Shakuhachi tablature and apply those melodies to my flutes. There is an abundance of bamboo flute tablature online and you can apply many kinds of flute tablature to all of my bamboo flutes.

ORIENTAL MINOR FLUTE by Thomas Richardson. Chart by Juha.
All 5 hole flutes including the thumb hole.

Fingerings C# minor F# minor
TXXXX (C#) 1 5
TXXXh (Eb) 2 6
TXXXO (E) b3 b7
TXXOX (F) 3 7
TXXOO (F#) 4 1
TXOXX (G) b5 b2
TXOOO (Ab) 5 2
TOXXX (A) b6 b3
TOXOO (Bb) 6 3
TOOOO (H) b7 4
OXOOO (C) 7 b5
OOOOO (C#) 1' 5'

(Same fingerings also in second octave.)

T = Thumb
X = Hole closed.
O = Hole open.
h = Hole "half" or partially open.

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Testimonials

Hi Thomas. Great Flute! Awesome art work! Thanks for the note. I completely understand. I made a quick recording. Hope to purchase one of your Shakuhachi's soon. Thomas Losito, NY, USA

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