Any thoughts on purchasing this shamisen?

Hello, I’m interested in purchasing this shamisen from the link below.

I’m thinking of buying it for my 1st shamisen before getting a high-end shamisen in the future; however, I don’t have enough confidence to tell from the pictures if the item’s condition and description is a good bargain for the price.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

I don’t own a shamisen, just do a lot of nerding out on the internet over them until I finish my build but…

It looks to me like a respectable lower budget shamisen with all the accessories( with the exception of a koma), in decent condition. As best as one can tell by the photos and the seller has a good rating. Vintage 70s makes me wonder about the condition but the same could be said for newer ones…

I’ve already spent more money on wood to build mine so it looks like a good deal to me. Don’t take my word for it, but personally I’d be very tempted.

“If you purchase this item and are not completely delighted with it, you may return it for a no questions asked refund within 30 days of receipt.”

From what I see it is a karin minyo shamisen.
I might be wrong, as without exact dimensions of the body it is hard to tell.
Not the most expensive one but no the cheapest kind. You would also need to buy koma (another 40-70USD).

Though you don’t NEED to buy one. You could make a crude one out of anything hard the right height that won’t damage the skin or strings to get you going till you make or buy one.

Agree. Very good koma’s come out of bamboo cutting boards or knife stands from my experience :wink: or even the chopsticks…
But not everyone can make them like you, as example, or me. So my suggestion was based on “buying”, not “making”, hence the price range

Hi there.

I generally won’t advise for or against buying something online - the risks are yours to weigh. I will help you identify what you’ve posted.

Based on the data and pictures it is most likely classes (as @Alexey said) as a min’yo shamisen.

Min’yo shamisens are a subset of chuuzao instruments meaning their neck ranges between 2.6 and 2.8cm wide. The body, the true indicator of the subtype, is termed a “go-rin-dai” body. Meaning it is slightly larger than a nagauta. They’re typically skinned with cat, dog, or artificial leather.

If you look at the doukake, there are some markings on it that (although not perfectly clear) seem to be 五厘大. The presence of this, the sawari used, and the structure of the neck all point to its min’yo status.

This particular example has a sawari and most of the relevant accessories aside from a koma. A fujaku (position marker) has been applied. I see no structural damage to be concerned about - but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any. Should you buy it, be particularly attentive to the sawari mechanism and how tight the itomaki are.

There are some cosmetic chips to the tenjin. The bachi appears to be plastic. It is not kinhoso, although it is a (simplistic) mitsuorisao.

It is probably made from karin, or red oak, so the sound will be very warm and lively.

Oh yeah that is a little bit smaller then tsugaru shamisen…