I began the design of the bamboo headjoint around 1990 with the silver Boehm flute in mind. It gives the musician an alternative sound quality to that of the silver headjoint. The playing characteristics of the bamboo headjoint are somewhat different than the silver headjoint. The sound is mellow and round, combining the ease of playing and projection of a modern flute and the smoothness and sensitivity of a wooden instrument.
The embouchure of each headjoint is hand cut individually according to the uniqueness of each piece of bamboo. They differ in shape, curve, color, age, thickness, grain structure and weight. They all have a sound of their own.
Picking the right piece of bamboo is one of the first steps to making a good headjoint. I select pieces of bamboo of a particular thickness, weight and length. It's best to make the headjoint between two nodes of a piece of bamboo for strength. Bindings are applied to limit the expansion and contraction of the bamboo due to climate changes which is the main cause of cracking.
I also make thinned bamboo headjoints with bamboo lip plates. The wall thickness is about 1/16". These headjoints play more like silver heads. There is less resistance in the high register.
Bamboo is easy to work with. It has a natural outer skin that is durable, pleasing to look at and pleasant to the touch. The hollowed inside provides a starting point for the working of the bore which is tapered according to the original Boehm design.
I also choose bamboo because of its natural acoustic property which has been recognized thousands of years ago by different ancient cultures. I was especially amazed by the sounds of the Chinese Di and Hsiao and the Japanese Fue and Shakuhachi.
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For more information please e-mail david at sideblown dot com