The Chinese Dizi or bamboo flute is a wonderful sounding instrument. To keep it in good shape and enjoy it for many years to come, here are 12 things you need to know to care for and maintain the Dizi.
1. The Dizi is made of bamboo so it is more vulnerable than a western flute.
2. When the Dizi is exposed to very cold weather and then brought to a warmer temperature setting, the bamboo may expand and crack.
3. However, usually the better Dizis are the ones which will crack easily as the bamboo is older and drier. The longer and bigger Dizis are also more prone to cracking.
4. If the Dizi cracks, use super glue to go over the cracked line. Use fine sandpaper to rub against the dried up glue.
5. If the crack is big and deep, use a combination of wood shavings and glue to fill up the crack. Otherwise, send the Dizi to a professional for fixing.
6. The Dizi can still be played or might even sound better even if it has cracked and fixed before.
7. However, if the crack is at the membrane hole, it may be harder to fix as the unique ‘dimo’ sound might be affected because of the unevenness of the cracked line.
8. If your Dizi has a copper tuning joint, take care when detaching the Dizi into 2 parts to store the Dizi. This exposes the copper tuning joint to possible damage and the Dizi might not fit properly together as a result.
9. Use the ‘E Jiao’ (mule skin herb) and water to affix the Dizi membrane. Do not use saliva.
10. Do not wash the Dizi with water because water might seep into the bamboo and affect the tone of the instrument. Use a cloth to wipe excess saliva off after using and store your Dizi in a bag.
11. To keep Dizi dry and clean, put a bag of silicone gels inside your Dizi bag. If you want your Dizi to smell nice, you can try putting a bag of tea leaves into your Dizi bag as well.
12. Most importantly, to maintain the cleanliness of the Dizi and for personal hygiene, use individually.