Any advice for a new starter?

I’m just starting out and need as much information as you can provide.
I especially need advice when it comes to choosing a bachi because they’re quite expensive and before folking out for one I’d like all the information for what I will need.

Hi, welcome to Bachido!

In terms of getting started, your options are:

Fingernail (free, totally legit when getting started and some other styles of shamisen playing like Kouta are 100% finger plucked)

“Plastic fantastic” Bachi (the completely black or completely white one you can see on the store) - where everyone starts off, teaches you how to hold a Bachi, does all the techniques but can just be a bit stiff/heavy and hard on the wrist for extended/energetic playing - but again as a beginner this should be totally fine

Wood ones - feel more comfortable than the plastic fantastic, edges have a tendency to snap off during energetic playing but again as a beginner should be totally fine

Modern acrylic/acetal Bachi such as those on the store or made@theloudhouse (google him). Comfortable, light weight, easy for long playing sessions, durable. But potentially just not quite the same “snap” or sweetness of tone as;

(Synthetic) tortoiseshell bachi - the king! (For tsugaru playing at least - as above not necessarily for other shamisen playing styles such as nagauta etc.) Flexible, light (if you spec it that way), very loud but crisp percussive effects and dynamic range… but totally extra for someone just starting out (unless you have the cash in which case go for it!)

I hope this is helpful? What does everyone else think?

Thanks, that really helps clear things up for me, hope to be playing soon.

Agree with comment above. I started with a plectrum from my guitar box because it was quieter and I wanted to become accustomed to left-hand movement and the tune I was learning. I then looked at and moved on to bachi and have bought several of the ‘cost-effective’ types to learn with. I did receive some contradictory advice about whether or not the resin bachi can be repaired if you chip/break one but I bought one of the faux-bekko ones anyway and these are very nice. I have subsequently also purchased a very (very) expensive top-end bachi which is staying in its box until I have the skill — and the courage - to use it properly.

My suggestion would be to get one or two (if you can) of the ‘cost effective’ ones to learn with. Go for the faux-bekko later when you are confident in your technique.

Yeh that sounds like the best compromise to me. Thanks for the advice.

I really like the wooden bachi. It has a warm sound, way better than the plastic one. Also, you can find faux bekkou but they are pretty expensive.
I would start with a wooden one. Plastic is really only good for scraping your window in the winter.