Advice for practicing correct string strikes?

Hey everyone! I’m currently trying to work on my bachi strikes. A problem I want to take care of is that I sometimes hit the wrong strings while playing, especially when there are a lot of string crossings.
I’m looking for advice on how to practice this paticular problem!

Thanks :smiley:

The school part of the website has free lessons covering basic techniques that might help.

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Hey Luke,

The honest answer is it just takes more practice.

As far as the technique itself goes, try and take note of how your hand and arm feel when the bachi is hitting each string. If you’re mindful of it, you will start to internalize how that physical placement feels and develop muscle memory. Looking at your hand to help with your aim can be helpful, but don’t overdo it. Turning your head down and to the side like that is going to pull your shoulders out of a good, level position and will probably create problems elsewhere.

Proper form is important to keep in mind, as you can develop incorrect muscle memory if you’re not careful. Watch through this Bachido course a few times and mimic along with your instrument:

A lot of the time, playing way slower than you think you need to can help a lot. Hypothetically, if you’re practicing with a metronome, which I’d strongly recommend, and you’re currently around 100bpm, try dropping it to 60bpm and go from there. If you keep messing up, keep dropping it by 5bpm or so until you can play without mistakes. Then you just work your way back up.

Playing slowly can feel discouraging, especially if you’re used to playing faster, but it can prevent you from developing bad habits or sloppy playing. You’ll also find that you need much less work on some techniques vs others, depending on how naturally they come to you.

Biggest thing is to keep practicing even when the slowness kills some of your motivation, because it can definitely feel draining when you’ve been practicing slow strikes on open strings for hours over the course of a week or more. The reward from improving your technique and comfort with the instrument is worth it though, and it makes future slow practice a lot easier when you keep that in mind.

Hope that helps.

Thank you! Altough I regularly use the metronome, I get easily carried away to faster speeds. I’m going to keep in mind to chill a little more :wink:
Funnily enough, while thinking about this topic for the last few days, I found that gripping the bachi slightly different and trying to relax as much as possible also helped a lot! :slight_smile:

I would recommend to look at the following videos:
Body mechanics of Tsugaru Shamisen parts 1 to 10
on YouTube. There is an excellent explanation on how to correctly hold the bachi and etc.


I watched through the videos again and they also helped a little bit. Actually, positioning the shamisen differently was more helpful than changing anything with the bachi grip :smiley: