A few questions about buying from Bachido


#1

Hi everyone!
I’m fairly new to this site, but I’m gathering information about the shamisen for a good while now.
I also want to start learing how to play it soon, and for that, I need an instrument of course. Bachido here is pretty much my store of choice by now, since I’m looking for a shamisen with synthetic skin.
Currently, I’m saving some money to actually be able to afford an instrument myself. Though before I’m really confident in investing, I still have some questions in mind that I hope some of you have an answer for. I’ll try to keep it short ^^’

  1. First of all, I’m pretty much trying to find a reasonable decision between the Sakura Shamisen and the Eclipse (or the Akatsuki, should the Eclipse be out of stock by the time I can afford one). From the website, I get that the Eclipse has a Tsugaru sized Dou, I can’t find a size for the Sakura though. Is it the same, or smaller? I really want to get into learning that nice percussive Tsugaru style and I’d really prefer a Shamisen that’s suited for that matter.

  2. I’m experienced with playing E-Bass and upright Bass, my hands are used to that. I’m having problems with the closer strings on the guitar though, since my hands are quite big (I’m about 186cm tall). Would the chuzao neck be broad enough to comfortably play compared to the string distance I’m used to from the bass? Or would the Akatsuki with the futozao neck be the better choice here? I’m thankful for any personal experience on those instruments from you.

  3. Has anyone experience with fixing the guitar strap directly on the neck, without using a strap button? Does it hold well or is it more of an improvised solution? Most importantly, can it put too much stress on the neck? I don’t want to possibly damage a shamisen that way, but I’d also prefer not to drill a hole into a 2000 dollar instrument if I can avoid it ^^’

  4. Has anyone experience with shipping to Europe, especially Austria? I can’t really find any good information on the actual import taxes on musical instruments from Japan. I’d be interested in how much you guys had to pay to import an instrument to Europe.

  5. As I’ll also need strings, case, bachi, etc. I’m also interested in import taxes considering the extra stuff. Is it also from Japan? How much will it be if I order items at about 500 Dollars?

That’s all from me for now, I hope to get some interesting answers here. Feel free to DM me too!
~ Luke


#2

Hey there.

I can weigh in on just 1 and 2.

  1. The sakura has a full size dou, but uses a slimmer neck. However, the percussive sound has more to do with playing style that dou size.

What the larger resonator gives you is more sound and more bass end. Strictly speaking, this also means your percussion will be louder too, but I can get a nice maebachi tic on my minyo when I want to.

  1. Chuuzao necks are 2.6-2.8 in width, with occasional 2.9s near the dou.

Futozao vary between 3.0 and a mammoth 3.5.

The space between strings varies a little on the players preference, but the neck is generally much slimmer that a guitar or bass’s neck.

If you can, try and get a feel for the space difference with a pole or board before you take the plunge. You’ll get accustomed to either width in time.


#3

Hi Luke,

Thanks for your message! You’ve got some great questions there. :slight_smile:

  1. As Chris noted, the Sakura shamisen also has a Tsugaru size dou. :slight_smile:

  2. That’s a good question. Since you have problems with closer strings of a guitar, probably a full width futozao would be the best choice. You can get about 8mm to 10mm distance between strings.

  3. There are some performers who attach the strap from the rindo (spike coming out from the dou) to the tenjin. They seem to be okay, but I do think it can cause tension resulting in potential snapping. My friend Mike Penny will loop cord around the area where the dou and sao connect together, and attaches the other end to the rindo. it seems to work and no holes are needed! :slight_smile:

  4. We’ve shipped many shamisen to Europe. While we’ve technically had no problems, import taxes are very high. I believe 50% or higher? It would be worth checking into, as the cost of tax can unfortunately add up.

  5. The other items are also from Japan. I don’t exactly recall what the tax rate was, so if you find that out on a government website, you could calculate that in with the goods.

Feel free to write if you have any more questions! :slight_smile:

Cheers! :slight_smile:

Kyle


#4

Thank you both for the quick answers!
The Akatsuki or the Karin Shamisen with Futozao size will be my choice then I think.

Considering the import taxes, 50% seems to high in my opinion. 20% is the standard rate + 3.2% because it’s declared as a musical instrument. I’ve heard of cases where instruments get taxed as furniture or other stuff, which cost a lot more, I hope I can avoid that though ^^’

Thank you very much!


#5

Ah, that makes more sense. I forgot the exact rate, but just remember the feeling of “Hnnnnnggggg… that’s pricey!” :stuck_out_tongue: