How to Measure a Shakuhachi
for an
Utaguchi Cover

Utaguchi covers are designed to protect the delicate mouthpiece of a shakuhachi. Since bamboo used to make shakuhachi vary in size, the utaguchi cover must be custom made to fit to each individual instrument.

Caps come in over 30 different sizes depending upon the circumference of the bamboo. Shakuhachi ranging in size from 1.3’ to 3.0’ vary in circumference from about 90 mm. to 130 mm. depending upon the length of the flute. Classical 1.8’ instruments generally range between 105 mm. and 115 mm.

If a shakuhachi is not on hand when an utaguchi cover is made, it is important to provide an exact measurement—accurate to +/- one millimeter—for the cap to be sized properly.

Here are instructions on how to do it.

Method #1

Print out this file and follow directions.
It includes a metric tape measure than can be printed out on your computer.
Check with a steel metric ruler to be certain that your computer print out is totally accurate. This calibration is critical.

If the print out does not precisely match your steel ruler, use this alternative method.

Method #2

Utaguchi covers, designed to protect the delicate mouthpiece of the shakuhachi, are made by my wife Kayo. The utaguchi cover is custom fit to each individual instrument. Caps come in several sizes depending upon the diameter of the bamboo. If the flute is not on hand, it is important to have exact dimensions for the cap to be made properly.

For the snap at the rear of the utaguchi cover to work, precise measurements must be taken near the top of the shakuhachi.

Here's how to do it:

 1. Cut a narrow strip of paper approximately 1/2" wide and 6" long.
 2. Wrap the strip of paper around the outer surface of the bamboo about 1 inch down from the top end of the instrument.
 3. Mark the place where the paper intersects itself. This will give you a linear measurement of the circumference of the flute at the place where the utaguchi cover snaps shut.
 4. Transfer the measurement to a piece of paper. With a ruler, measure the liner distance in inches or millimeters. Send this information to me with your order or via e-mail.
 5. This dimension will allow Kayo to make an utaguchi cover that precisely fits your instrument.

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