Making Music with a Nakaya Kikyo Piccolo Music Nib
I’ve been curious about music nibs since I first read a comparison review on FPN about them. I wasn’t sure I would like such a broad nib, but I decided I had to try one after seeing such gorgeous results from people who wrote with them. I debated between Sailor, Platinum, and Nakaya, knowing that trying to find a wonderful vintage music nib would be almost impossible. I decided on Nakaya since most of my favorite pens are Nakayas, and I knew I could get the nib adjusted if necessary.
I really, really wanted the Housoge Kikyo Platinum, but couldn’t afford it. So, I went with a plain Kikyo Piccolo. When I first received the pen, I wasn’t all that impressed with the music nib. It was wide and juicy, but hard as a nail. It had no personality whatsoever. So, I sent it back to Classic Pens and asked if Mr. Mottishaw could add some flex to the nib. It didn’t come back a wet noodle (I didn’t expect it to). But it does have a little more bounciness and personality.
First, the pen. The Piccolo Writer is one of the shortest Nakaya pens at only 5.14 inches. I love the style, having bought my first Nakaya (Enjoying the Moon Cat) a few years ago. I have small hands, so the short length of the piccolo does not bother me. As with all Nakayas, it balances perfectly in my hand. The Kikyo color is stunning. It is a rich, deep cobalt blue. The optional gold clip sets of the blue nicely. The pen is light and never causes writing fatigue. It is a cartridge/converter pen, which is, as always, the biggest negative for Nakaya pens in my view. The converter holds only 0.5 ml of ink, and a music nib uses lots of ink. That means you have to refill often. It’s never been a deal-breaker for me. But I do wish the converter held more ink.
Now, the nib. The Nakaya music nib is a piece of art. It is 14K gold with beautiful scrollwork and the Nakaya emblem. The three tines are perfectly aligned. From every angle, this nib is a masterpiece.
Obviously, the music nib writes a broad line. But I don’t find it too broad for every-day writing. The added flex makes the nib responsive, and after Mr. Mottishaw’s magic, it no longer feels hard as a rock. When I push it, it offers a little bit of flex, but not much. I haven’t tried pushing it very hard because I don’t want to risk misaligning the tines. But even with the little bit of pressure I used, you can see some line variation. Initially, I filled the pen with Iroshizuku Shin-kai, but it didn’t offer much shading. I bought a bottle of Sailor Yama Dori, and it is perfect. The color is gorgeous and the shading with the music nib is fabulous.
Needless to say, I’m quite pleased with my first music nib. Although I won’t be writing any music with it, I have written quite a bit of poetry. The Nakaya music nib definitely sings, and the Kikyo Piccolo dances in my hand.
4 thoughts on “Making Music with a Nakaya Kikyo Piccolo Music Nib”
What a lovely article to stumble upon! I studied music composition at university just at the advent of computers, so a substantial part of my studies were devoted to using a pen very similar to this, mastering not only the use of the nib, but the volume of guidelines for producing a hand-written musical score. I’m afraid I’m the last of that breed, since by the time I completed graduate work, the entire process had shifted to software.
There are some folks in the fountain pen community who use music nibs to create handwritten scores as pieces of art. They are just beautiful. I don’t have that skill, but I do love music nibs.
I was thinking to buy an unmodified Nakaya music nib; I thought it would be a special stub. I own a Nakaya with 0.49 mm cursive italic cut, and I love it. But I am surprised you were not entirely satisfied with the unmodified music nib and ended up with asking John to add flex to it. This customization worries me, as in my mind it weakens the tines … Do you think I would be afraid to bend them or cause misalignment? What are your thoughts? Thank you.
Hi. Sorry to be so slow in responding. The Nakaya music nib is a strong nib. The times are not long and thin like you see on vintage music nibs. In all honesty, I can barely tell that the nib flexes at all when I put pressure on it.