Cases and humidity - Tips for a beginner


#1

Hello Bachido community!
I am a beginner from Montreal Canada here playing with the Beginner Shamisen for about 2 months.
I was hoping to share with you my current set-up for storage, case and humidity control and see if any of you have some tips or recommendations (and also to make sure I am not doing something terribly wrong :sweat_smile:).

-For a case, I actually purchased a secondhand firearme case and cut out the foam to fit my shamisen exactly. It is actually super robust, watertight and has wheels for easy carry! Seems funny to use a weapons case of an instrument, but it was actually cheaper for me to buy this used locally than to get a case specifically for the shamisen.

-I also got a Manyo sheet which I leave on between my playing sessions.

-Finally I have two silica canisters, which I can put in the case if needed for extra huminity control.

Based on the above information, I would essentially have two questions:

1-Would you recommend that I store my shamisen in the case all the time when I am at home? I have been doing that since I got it, but was wondering if it is good have it in an air-tight case all the time. Should I simply keep the Manyo sheet and have it out on a stand in a cloth Fukuro? The wheather in Montreal varies greatly over the year (going from 30°C in summer to -30°C in winter), however my home is air conditionned and heated therefore I am not to worried about large changes in temperature or humidity inside my home (except if there is a power outtage which does not happen that often).

2-About once a month in the summer, I will be bringing the shamisen out in the woods for a 3 day event, essentially staying two days and two nights camping. I would be staying in a cabin that is not air conditionned during this time and we would be in the woods near a small lake so heat and humidity will surelly be present. I was therefore planning to bring the shamisen in my case with the Manyo AND the 2 silica canisters inside the case, I would be leaving the shamisen in the case anytime I am not playing it and plan to play only indoors or on a covered balcony (ie. not in direct sun light). Do these steps seem like resonnable precautions? Any other tips you could give me would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance for any tips for a shamisen newby here! :smile:
Here are a few pictures of my case.:relaxed:


#3

I see your hard case with locks reminds me of my sturdy travel one for a flat student biwa. It is tight and seems incredibly waterproof and fireproof [heat resistant) and actually was for electric keyboard travel.

I have had an artificial skin shamisen stored in a moderately cool home for five to seven years in various cases. No warping and any of my lute instruments in the case like yours is amazingly like new even after 10 years.

I have in comparison an old wooden biwa from Edo period and that sweet old thing sometimes leaks the superglue repairs…but no wood warp in moderate circumstances with temp control. My father had repaired a slightly younger vintage biwa supposedly of vintage wood but shade and indoor storage has preserved the wood…its.only the silk strings are frail after several decades. Those can be replaced.

Anyway all your precautions seem amazing for the skin and strings! Hope that my answer made some sense!


#4

Hi Mari,
Thank you so much for your answer!
It is reassuring to know that I am on the right path.

Wow if I can maintain my instrument in perfect condition for 10 years like you it would be great!

For the instruments that you stored in a hard case simar to mine, would you normally store it in the case at all times between play sessions? Or only when you would not play it for prolonged periods of time?

Thank you again for your feedback!


#5

I use it as a spare closet for instruments I rotate. My flat student 5 string biwa lives there. My biwas are going to be ghostly singing to me in my head while I rotate my shamisen.

My shamisens rotate in a
_softcover biwa case actualy for the student chikusen …use soft cover biwa case when going to practise,
_a hardcover velvet lined jiuita shamisen case and _canvas/cotton/linen pillowcases of high quality threadcounts…

I have two jiuta shamisen [one old recycled with old squeaky and twangy parts/one newer10 years old and beautiful but heavy)

and the Made in Santa Cruz shamisen.

Hope that info helps.

Mari


#6

Thank you very much for all the information!
It is very helfull for me!

Have a great day!

Stephanie


#7

Thanks for the tip about firearm case, such a good idea! I’m looking for a safe way to store my shamisen now and this might be a good option. Did you buy online or used?
Btw, I’m also from Montreal!


#8

Great!! Nice to see another person from Montreal here!

I found my case used through Kijiji (althought it was essentially new and never used).

Another option i had been looking at was padded cases for keyboards. If you look around you may be able to found some used, but I did see some new online as well.

Good luck in you case hunting!
Stephanie


#9

Good luck!

I took my shamisen with the widest tail and longest neck and went to local Guitar Center to find a keyboard case…one I could find a softcase zipper closure.

A suggested alternate is test what you have…when you go online to Kotos & More from Reiko Obata (US) you could find that a student flat biwa with a zipper case…the zipper case has a soft blue lining. While pricey, I have had the student biwa for years and discovered I can use it for my single smaller biwas …and my shamisens can fit when carrying one instrument