When I started learning how to play the Shakuhachi about thirteen years ago, I got the impression it is not much more than a roughly cleaned stick of bamboo with seven holes: one on top, one on the bottom and five finger holes. And it is terribly difficult to produce any proper sound with it, if not any sound at all. I was shocked how much this very expensive flute I got from my teacher failed to match any criteria for a proper musical instrument I for example saw perfectly fulfilled by my cherished Selmer saxophone.
It took me ten years to understand why the seemingly imperfection of the Shakuhachi I struggle to play makes it so suitable for my practise, and why the modern Shakuhachi, designed considering the complicated physics of sound generation and therefore easy to play, do not.
Recently I started making Shakuhachi myself … just rough bamboo sticks with seven holes. They sound very much like my teachers flute, yet they are a bit too easy to play. I guess I have to impair their musical quality, to make them good instruments for Zen practise.