Make your own bamboo flute


Make your own bamboo flute for fun. It's also a great exercise in learning the tuning of the flute.

Needed tools are minimal, and you can even use an old bamboo fishing pole. The materials cost less than a dollar and it takes less than a day to make one.

The bamboo flute is called a "Shakuhachi" in Japanese. These flutes are played vertically like a recorder, rather than transversely like the classic Western flute.

The size, shape, and placement of the mouthpiece and finger holes determine the accuracy of pitch, along with the length, internal diameter, and thickness of the tube.

If you want to go "high end" with your bamboo flute, you'll need to get madaké bamboo, giant timber bamboo which is quite scarce. Although bamboo is a very fast-growing wood product and quite popular as a flooring material because of it, the bamboo prized for flutes is harder to come by.

Harvesting of bamboo is done only in the winter before the sap has risen in the plants. Some of this bamboo is cured for 30 to 40 years, but it is more common to be cured for just a couple of years.

Of course, these high-end bamboo flutes are much more difficult to make, so if you want to make your own bamboo flute, especially if you're a beginner, you might want to stick with less expensive materials.

Key of flute is determined by the length. Here are some examples...

Key of A - 14 inches
Key of F - 18 inches
Key of D - 21 inches

The inside diameter is about 3/4 inches.

Get instructions here to make your own bamboo flute.

Fingerings for your newly-created flute are found here.

The International Shakuhachi Society exists to further education about the playing of the Shakuhachi bamboo flute.


David Zasloff plays the Japanese Shakuhachi Flute.

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