Yamazaki Chikuin 1.8Price: $5000
Perhaps the nicest of the flutes in this collection. Wonderfully responsive, lots of room to wring tone color and tambre from each note, and plays easily.
Yamazaki Chikuin's flutes were made in the early 20th century, yet have many of the qualities of the great 19th c. shakuhachi produced by Araki Chikuo and other makers: very little ji, a large bore profile, and a lot of chikuin. His flutes are unusually "live," very resonant, have a big sound but can also play extremely quietly with an exceptionally low "cutoff." This Chikuin is no exception.
If one cares about aesthetics, the bamboo has seven fushi, the flute is made on the front of the bamboo, and the joint has nice "tortise shell" urushi work covering the rattan wrapping.