How to Hold Long Shakuhachi

In this guide, I’ll show you how to hold large shakuhachi. Generally, 2.0+ (60cm+) shakuhachi are going to feel large for most people. In such instances, it’s imperative that you know how to safely hold shakuhachi which are large for you. In the photos below, past the video, I’m holding a 2.6 shakuhachi which is roughly 78 cm long. This is a medium-large shakuhachi for me at 5 foot 11 inches tall (180cm) and with large sized hands (to figure out what constitutes a “large” shakuhachi for you, see my guide titled, How to Measure Your Body for Sizing Shakuhachi.)

In the photos, notice that I’m using the basal portion of my index finger on the right hand and midportion of my top hand index finger. This allows me to have a very comfortable ‘bagpiper’s grip’, or piper’s grip for short. Note that I only use the tips of my ring fingers, my fingers are also ‘natural’ or flat/relaxed; not arched in any way.

This is the ideal method for holding and playing shakuhachi which are large for us. As a side note, I’ve noticed that stringed instrument players tend to improperly curl their fingers, shoving the tips into the holes as if they’re pushing down strings (don’t do this!).

I also give you a more in depth look at how to safely hold shakuhachi if you have relatively small hands here.

To acquire a larger shakuhachi, see my shakuhachi for sale. I can teach you on a wide array of shakuhachi lengths, not just the typical length of 1.8, key of D. For example, many of my students have expressed just how much they and the people around them prefer the sound of longer shakuhachi than 1.8.