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cebukenieduke
10-05-2014, 04:42 AM
I found a Japanese surplus shop hoping to find typical Japanese Ukuleles. Unfortunately the sales lady showed me instead a 13-string 7 feet x 1 foot rectangular box tilted on the wall. Being a "backyard" luthier, what attracted my attention was the quality of the wood material which I estimated can be converted into 4 tenors and 2 sopranos. I really had no slightest idea what I just bought last Friday only to find out that it was a Japanese KOTO or a traditional standard harp.

As I browsed and Google Koto Youtube, boy I realized what I have is a treasure fit to match 13-strings with 4-strings Uke. Unfortunately I don't have any knowledge how to tune such 13-strings and where could I buy 13 pieces of Koto individual bridges. The unit is the standard 7-feet Koto still playable with few scratches but no 13 individual bridges attached.

Tried internet but could not find tutorials or any material on Koto 101 for dummies like me. SOS please! I hope our colleagues from UU who may have any knowledge to assist me would extend kind assistance. Wish to extend and hone stringed board addiction hoping to revive Tadao Hayashi's masterpieces using Koto and Ukulele.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

ksiegel
10-05-2014, 06:03 AM
I found a Japanese surplus shop hoping to find typical Japanese Ukuleles. Unfortunately the sales lady showed me instead a 13-string 7 feet x 1 foot rectangular box tilted on the wall. Being a "backyard" luthier, what attracted my attention was the quality of the wood material which I estimated can be converted into 4 tenors and 2 sopranos. I really had no slightest idea what I just bought last Friday only to find out that it was a Japanese KOTO or a traditional standard harp.

As I browsed and Google Koto Youtube, boy I realized what I have is a treasure fit to match 13-strings with 4-strings Uke. Unfortunately I don't have any knowledge how to tune such 13-strings and where could I buy 13 pieces of Koto individual bridges. The unit is the standard 7-feet Koto still playable with few scratches but no 13 individual bridges attached.

Tried internet but could not find tutorials or any material on Koto 101 for dummies like me. SOS please! I hope our colleagues from UU who may have any knowledge to assist me would extend kind assistance. Wish to extend and hone stringed board addiction hoping to revive Tadao Hayashi's masterpieces using Koto and Ukulele.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

I typed "How to tune a Japanese Koto" in the Google search window, and it gave me many links:

https://ccrma.stanford.edu/groups/gagaku/strings/koto.html

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~np5y-hruc/kt-play1.html

http://www.atlasensemble.nl/assets/files/instruments/Koto/Koto%20by%20Naoko%20Kikuchi.pdf

http://www.promusica.or.jp/english/koto.html

And here's a site with Koto Bridges available:

http://www.kotosandmore.com/koto.html

(The search phrase was "How to make a bridge for a Japanese Koto")

Give it a shot, and good luck. Let us know what happens.



-Kurt

cebukenieduke
10-06-2014, 10:29 AM
Thanks Kurt! Fully appreciate your assistance. In the offing to be revived back to life is one abandoned pre-loved KOTO left as scrap by its previous owner that would be humming back traditional Japanese tone but this time back up by Hawaian Uke.

I typed "How to tune a Japanese Koto" in the Google search window, and it gave me many links:

https://ccrma.stanford.edu/groups/gagaku/strings/koto.html

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~np5y-hruc/kt-play1.html

http://www.atlasensemble.nl/assets/files/instruments/Koto/Koto%20by%20Naoko%20Kikuchi.pdf

http://www.promusica.or.jp/english/koto.html

And here's a site with Koto Bridges available:

http://www.kotosandmore.com/koto.html

(The search phrase was "How to make a bridge for a Japanese Koto")

Give it a shot, and good luck. Let us know what happens.



-Kurt

IamNoMan
10-06-2014, 11:01 AM
This is from wikipedia's Koto article; it is pretty generic but may be useful to you or others with a passing interest.

The strings are made from a variety of materials. Various types of plastic strings are popular. Silk strings are still made. Silk strings are usually yellow in color. They cost more and are not as durable, but claimed to be more musical. The strings are tied with a half hitch to a roll of paper or cardboard, about the size of a cigarette butt, strung through the holes at the head of the koto, threaded through the holes at the back, tightened, and tied with a special knot. Strings can be tightened by a special machine, but often are tightened by hand, and then tied. One can tighten by pulling the string from behind, or sitting at the side of the koto, although the latter is much harder and requires much arm strength. Some instruments may have tuning pins (like a piano) installed, to make tuning easier.

For every part of the koto there is a traditional name which connects with the opinion that the body of a koto resembles that of a dragon. The name for the top is therefore "Dragonshell" (Ryuko/竜甲)(the Asian dragon is believed to have a shell like a turtle), the lower part is called the "Dragonstomach" (Ryuhara/竜腹), one end of the koto, noticeable because of the removable colorful fabricshell, is known as the "Dragonhead". The "Dragonhead" consists of the "Dragonhorns" (Ryukaku/竜角), "Dragontongue" (Ryushita/竜舌) and so on. The lower part of the koto implies the "Dragontail" and the Heavens Seat (Tenmiyo/天御代) or Cloudhorns (Kumokaku/雲角), a description of the wooden pillow for the strings.

A cautionary note: Silk is notorius for stretching and stretching and stretching. This information is from my wife Susan a well known handspinner.
As she is my wife, I know she is always right, but seldom ragged.;)

ksiegel
10-06-2014, 12:27 PM
A cautionary note: Silk is notorius for stretching and stretching and stretching. This information is from my wife Susan a well known handspinner.
As she is my wife, I know she is always right, but seldom ragged.;)

You, sir, are obviously one to take layout to heart. Were this discussion about rest facilities, the temptation to make a "flush left" reference would be there, but sadly it is not.

Regarding your wife Susan being a well known handspinner, wheel or spindle (Drop/supported/top/or bottom)? And does she have a presence on Ravelry? (where I am known simply as "Nancyshusband")

The silk/bamboo and silk/merino blends I've been spinning haven't been stretching, but then, I haven't been using them as instrument strings, either...



-Kurt

cebukenieduke
10-06-2014, 11:49 PM
You, sir, are obviously one to take layout to heart. Were this discussion about rest facilities, the temptation to make a "flush left" reference would be there, but sadly it is not.

Regarding your wife Susan being a well known handspinner, wheel or spindle (Drop/supported/top/or bottom)? And does she have a presence on Ravelry? (where I am known simply as "Nancyshusband")

The silk/bamboo and silk/merino blends I've been spinning haven't been stretching, but then, I haven't been using them as instrument strings, either...



-Kurt

Hi Kurt, just browsed your researched internet sites on Koto which you shared in response to my query. FYI you just made somebody happy and excited here cause now I could buy the 13 pieces Koto saddles and finger picks. As "E" once said .... "Number 5 is alive"! Thanks mucho and Mahalo .....

ksiegel
10-07-2014, 02:14 PM
Hi Kurt, just browsed your researched internet sites on Koto which you shared in response to my query. FYI you just made somebody happy and excited here cause now I could buy the 13 pieces Koto saddles and finger picks. As "E" once said .... "Number 5 is alive"! Thanks mucho and Mahalo .....

I'm glad I could be of assistance. On-line research isn't always simple - you need to know what or how to ask for the information. That was why I always loved the Reference Desk Librarians;I knew what I was looking for, but not how to find it. They may not have known what I was looking for, but they certainly knew how to find it! heck, if it was easy, everyone would be able to do it!


-Kurt