Advice for an ocarina in Japan

Ocypode
Double Ocarinist
Double Ocarinist
Joined: June 4th, 2015, 9:39 am

August 25th, 2018, 6:03 pm #1

Hi everyone,


I'll be in Japan in a few weeks :) . While I'm there, maybe I will not resist and want to bring back a typical Japanese ocarina as a souvenir.

To be more specific, Here are the kinds of ocarina I might be interested:
- 12holes AC, because I use a lot my Focalink plastic, but I would enjoy it more without condensation issues I have from time to time... I was looking at the gorgeous Aketa AM-5C... But it's really expensive, and so far, I can only judge its aspect.
- 12 holes ocarina in F (Soprano maybe).
- 12 holes ocarina in G.

Aketa ocarina could be a good idea for me, since they historically developed 12 holes ocarina... But I'm open-minded.


Well, there's also a very good chance I end up not buying anything, because I tend to over think everything, and I'm saving up for bigger projects too.



Best wishes!
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Harp Player
Triple Ocarinist
Triple Ocarinist
Joined: September 5th, 2013, 7:52 pm

August 25th, 2018, 6:28 pm #2

I suggest that you at least consider a 10 or 11 hole ocarina. You will get a better quality instrument that is actually usable for the entire range. Most 12 hole Ocarinas lose a lot of sound quality on either the bottom note or the top note.
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Ocypode
Double Ocarinist
Double Ocarinist
Joined: June 4th, 2015, 9:39 am

August 26th, 2018, 2:05 am #3

I have seen time and again this comment on 12 holes vs 10 holes. It is not I don't trust the advice of makes and numerous players... My two main ocarinas both only have ten holes after all, and true, they are good instruments - at least they have never hindered me in anyway, except for their limited range (but that's inherent to ocarinas in general).

Yet, save from the condensation issue, my plastic 12 holes is perfectly satisfying. Besides, many of the best ocarina music seen online is played by 12 holes ocarina (David Eric Ramos, Cris Gale, Sojiro). So, I am certainly not saying that 12 holes are superior, but I think that the sound quality is not such a big deal for well-made ocarinas.
Last edited by Ocypode on August 26th, 2018, 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Soren
Inline Ocarinist x 2
Inline Ocarinist x 2
Joined: September 14th, 2017, 8:20 pm

August 27th, 2018, 2:03 pm #4

Harp Player wrote:I suggest that you at least consider a 10 or 11 hole ocarina. You will get a better quality instrument that is actually usable for the entire range. Most 12 hole Ocarinas lose a lot of sound quality on either the bottom note or the top note.
I am researching this point right now, and I am not sure I fully agree with the general sentiments that 10 or 11 hole ocarinas are always better. The main reason that "most" 12 hole ocarinas lose quality at top or bottom of the range is that "most" of the easily available cheaper ocarinas are 12-hole mass-produced ocarinas from Asia that are not crafted with the precision needed for clear notes from a 12-hole ocarina.

Comparing ocarinas that fall under the category usually denoted "Alto C", I have purchased from a number of better-known makers. I may post a comparison topic to detail the specific ocarinas and qualities I have found, but here is a summary.

12-hole ocarinas made by ocarina masters can be of excellent quality and play well for the entire range of notes. 10-hole or 11-hole seem to have the main advantage that they are easier to make with high quality, therefore the average 10/11-hole ocarina is better than the average 12-hole ocarina.
When comparing the top quality, though, it seems more a decision on whether you want to use the subholes to extend the range or not, as the high-quality 12-hole ocarinas play well for the entire range.

I found that some of the 12-hole ocarinas had better intonation and timbre than some of the 10/11-hole ocarinas considered high quality. I was actually somewhat disappointed with some high-quality 10/11-hole ocarinas because they did not have the expected huge improvement in quality.

My final take-away from this is that the quality of the ocarina is far more important than the number of holes. The time and effort that a craftsman spends on a project is usually reflected in quality level. Available for purchase are some fantastic 10-hole ocarinas, 11-hole ocarinas, and 12-hole ocarinas. So much matters what the ocarina player's personal preferences are.

I do not intend to tear down 10/11-hole ocarinas, just that I do not want the opinion to be pushed on others that 12-hole ocarinas should not be considered.

I truly apologize, Harp Player, that this is in response to your comment. I hope this does not come across as a personal attack, this just touched a question I have been testing for a while now about number of holes and have been annoyed by some people (some who may not be on TON anymore) who seem to want everyone to be convinced that 12-hole ocarinas are not worth it and should not be considered. I think each ocarina player should try many ocarinas to find a personal "best ocarina", whether 10-hole, 11-hole, 12-hole, Double, Triple, Pendant, etc.
I do think you are correct that ocarina players should consider 10/11 hole ocarinas and not just write them off due to slightly more limited range. I really like my Rotter Galliani C3, which is a 10-hole ocarina.

On your question, Ocypode, I have heard good things about Aketa ocarinas, though I have not ordered one yet.

I did order a Popolo ocarina, which is made by a Japanese ocarina maker Takeshi Taniguchi. The one I ordered is the standard model (S-AC costing ~70USD). I have not yet received it, so I do not know the quality, but I have good expectations from what I have read. If I had noticed it soon enough, I may have ordered the higher end model "Concerto" (C-AC or NC-AC costing ~170USD).

I think TiAmo is another Japanese ocarina that has also received high praise. I have not ordered from them yet.

Kenji Ogawa is also a Japanese ocarina maker, but I think his store is closed and he may be no longer making ocarinas. Again, his ocarinas are considered very high quality, so it might be worth the time checking him out. He says on his website that he thinks it is best if a musician can make his/her instrument so that it can be tailored to personal preferences. Again, I have never played an Ogawa ocarina, so I cannot verify quality personally.

I hope some of this may be helpful.
Ocarina Maker and Player
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AlimmakerO
Beginner
Beginner
Joined: August 27th, 2018, 2:13 pm

August 27th, 2018, 2:22 pm #5

Cool okarina making
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Ocypode
Double Ocarinist
Double Ocarinist
Joined: June 4th, 2015, 9:39 am

August 29th, 2018, 1:31 pm #6

@Soren:

Thank you for your answer. About 12 holes vs 10/11 holes, thanks for this comment.
In my case, it also turns out that I also wish the ocarina to be a souvenir from my stay in Japan, and almost all Japanese ocarina I have seen so far are 12 holes. But I am not afraid, I am pretty sure I can find a good ocarina, whatever the number of chambers and holes.

Aketa, Popolo, TiAmo and Ogawa are all names I have seen here again and again, but I have no idea of how they compare to the ocarina I own currently.
Maybe I will have the opportunity to test them... Yet, I'm not sure I am enough of an accomplished musician to find the best one directly.

There's also smaller makers - maybe I will find one by accident - and also the Milt infinity ocarina to consider... So many options! That's why I was asking for advices :)

Let us know about your Popolo ocarina when you have it. Besides, I still have some weeks before going to Japan.

It would be easier if I was picking an ocarina on its design alone :)
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Mark Chan
Quadruple Ocarinist x 5
Quadruple Ocarinist x 5
Joined: August 8th, 2012, 7:10 pm

August 29th, 2018, 2:37 pm #7

Good luck finding Infinity. They don't make them anymore. :( I lent mine to someone and the person lost it. The person was somehow able to procure another one to replace mine, but it was a second generation model that had a different voicing from the first generation. I still miss my old one.

There are a ton of music shops that have ocarinas. Some will let you try, and some will not. But in my experience, most will.
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Ocypode
Double Ocarinist
Double Ocarinist
Joined: June 4th, 2015, 9:39 am

August 29th, 2018, 2:54 pm #8

I was thinking that I'll take my MrMute with me: with the adaptator, alone - not the mute itself - you can try an ocarina without putting your lips to it - more hygienic for yourself and the other who would want to try.

About the infinity, I also thought so. And do you think the current generation is any good?
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Mark Chan
Quadruple Ocarinist x 5
Quadruple Ocarinist x 5
Joined: August 8th, 2012, 7:10 pm

August 29th, 2018, 3:36 pm #9

It's still a good ocarina. Very light breath and nice sound. But I still like the first one better. Unfortunately I no longer have my old one to compare to. Would have been nice to compare side by side. I asked Milt which one he likes better, and he likes the first gen better. The ones he uses for performance is first gen.
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Soren
Inline Ocarinist x 2
Inline Ocarinist x 2
Joined: September 14th, 2017, 8:20 pm

August 29th, 2018, 5:27 pm #10

Ocypode wrote:...Aketa, Popolo, TiAmo and Ogawa are all names I have seen here again and again, but I have no idea of how they compare to the ocarina I own currently. ...
Which ocarina do you currently own?
Ocypode wrote:...and also the Milt infinity ocarina to consider...
I was interested in this ocarina as well, but I have not found one since they are discontinued.
Ocypode wrote:...Let us know about your Popolo ocarina when you have it. ...
I received the standard-model Popolo yesterday. It does not fit my preferences very well at all. Breath is a little bit low, and I have some difficulty playing in tune due to flatter breath slope than my preference. After the scale, high D, E, and F are very difficult to play due to intensely easy squeakiness. The voicing hole seems rather small and not well defined (a bit rough and uneven in make). Without using the acute bend, the top notes are unplayable. By application of an extreme acute bend, I could get the notes to play pretty well.

Note that I have not played this ocarina for long enough to fully assess, but my initial impression is not very good. Also note that this is the standard model costing about 70USD. Before I received it, I took the plunge with a coupon offer on eBay and bought the Popolo Concert model (170USD), and now I hope it is far better than the standard model (which should be expected from the increase in price). Had I waited until I received the first Popolo, I may not have given the concert model a second thought because my impression of the standard model was not good, which would not have given a fair chance to the Popolo concert model. More to follow later...

Finding an individual maker would certainly be exciting, as you could talk directly to the maker!
Ocarina Maker and Player
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