About the bekkou bachi

Hello everyone!

My name is Ricardo and I’m a shamisen player/student based in Brazil. :slight_smile:
I have no musical education and actually the shamisen is my first experience playing an instrument. :smile:

I’ve been playing for a year and I use a plastic bachi. It has been serving me well but some friends started using a bekkou bachi and they totally swear by it, saying it’s a much better playing experience. :open_mouth:

But since my friends are much more experienced musicians and shamisen players, I wondered if a newbie like myself would actually feel the difference. :thinking:

Do you guys think it’s a good idea for a newbie like me to make the switch to the bekkou? Or should I get more practice and playing experience before acquiring it?

Thanks everyone!

Just my opinion but yes, you should get one as soon as possible. It’s your contact point with the instrument. It has a slide and a give and finesse that is impossible to achieve when playing with a rock hard slab of plastic.

Definitely try to get one. The playing feel is completely different in my opinion, possibly due to a very small amount of flex in the bekkou (faux) bachi. Expensive but definitely worth it.
Plastic are OK for nagauta style but the percussive nature of tsugaru is completely suited to the bekkou.

Assuming you mean a real bekkou bachi and not a faux one, I’ll be bold and say that I don’t think any beginner needs one. They are very expensive and until you are significantly more skilled you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between a real bekkou bachi and a good faux bekkou or acrylic bachi.

I have been playing for a few months now and have made several different bachi from several different types of flexible plastic, including acrylic. Even when listening very carefully and having my sensei explain the differences he hears between the different types of plastic and his real bekkou bachi, I still can barely tell the difference.

Definitely upgrade from your rigid plastic bachi to something more flexible. It will make a world of difference. But do you need real bekkou? I don’t think so…


If someone can correct me would be nice, i thought that you cannot get out from Japan Bekkou bachis… You know all those things about animal abuse stuff.

I had the same question tho, the difference between a faux Bekkou between a real Bekkou bachi is that big?

The import of bekkou is basically illegal in every country that follows the CITES laws, similar to ivory. So it’s certainly a risk to try to import something like that.
I can’t tell much about the differences between faux bekkou and real one, however from my experience with different instruments I would say that it’s mostly about the feeling of the player when it comes to such things. The average listener won’t hear any difference at all probably. But it can feel different for you as player. Ot really depends on what you like and what you’re used to.

Its probably because he’s in Brazil. Different countries have different laws regarding the imports of animal products such as Tortoise shell and ivory. While I don’t actually know the laws for this kind of thing in Brazil, I’m assuming that the reason he can buy it.