The clue about what makes the Madake special lies in its name: Madake is the Japanese term for a particular species of bamboo, Giant Timber Bamboo, often used in various types of traditional Japanese craftsmanship but now quite rare.  The Madake’s cantilever, rather than being made from the usual metal (aluminum, boron) or crystalline solid (ruby, sapphire, diamond), is fashioned from this specific bamboo. Why? Bamboo is light in weight but extremely rigid. And, unlike metals and stones which contain small inherent resonances, bamboo has excellent natural damping properties.Miyajima_Madake_news

Designer Noriyuki Miyajima, known to be a passionate artisan, went to great lengths to source the highest quality madake for the job and made an interesting discovery along the way: Thomas Edison’s General Electric company was founded to manufacture light bulbs made with madake filaments grown in one particular area of Japan. Edison had been trying to find a filament that would burn long enough to be of practical value for his invention. He sent researchers around the world in search of an appropriate material, testing the fibres of some 6,000 plant materials including more than 1,000 species of bamboo before discovering madake from the bamboo groves of Yawata, Kyoto. That discovery marked the beginning of the global electrical revolution.  So Noriyuki Miyajima went straight to the source and negotiated a supply of special madake from the Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu shrine in Yawata. However, the Madake’s cantilever is not 100% bamboo; the bamboo shaft is fitted with a short aluminium shaft, to which is attached the Shibata stylus. Like all Miyajima stereo cartridges, the Madake’s generator system features a unique patented Miyajima cross-ring design in which the cantilever fulcrum and coils are exactly positioned in the centre of the magnetic field. All of which is housed in a body of African Blackwood, known for its exceptional tonal and acoustic properties.

The Miyajima Madake cartridge is available now priced at £3,750 (including VAT @ 20%).

 

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