Crescendo - Rokudan


Hi All,

I’m new to Bachido and new to playing the Shamisen.

I’ve been learning the Shamisen for about 2 months now and I am addicted to being able to play Rokudan perfectly.
My only problem is that I am stuck on playing the crescendo part at the beginning, 3 and 4 measures in at a good speed. Sure I can play it slow over and over and over again but when I up the tempo it all becomes a mess!

I’m just wandering if anyone has mastered this and how long it took to get this part perfect at a good speed and perhaps hear from people who have perfected this and may have some pointers.

I have watched Kyle Abbots - Rokudan slow speed video numerous times and also Kevin Kmetz video on the “secrets” of Rokudan which have some great info on this.



Perth, Australia.


Hey Steve!
Welcome to Bachido!

So, when I was first learning Rokudan (And hey, it can always improve :p), any time I ran into a troublesome part, I just played those two or so phrases on repeat to really build the muscle memory.

That’s what I’d probably recommend for you, just slowly build speed as you get more comfortable with it, and don’t move on to the next part until you have this one down.

In the end as a beginner it really comes down to muscle memory and you just have to keep drilling until you get the feel down.

In the very, very beginning with the two 4300 phrases, you just have to kind of break down the motions (hit, hajiki, sukui, hajiki) and slowly work on building up speed.

Then, once you start going up and down the neck on the ichi no ito (6 6 6 9 9 9 10 10 10) with the sliding, for that part you just have to make sure you have a nice steady rhythm and it’s a good way to work on striking technique.

Then, once you amp up the speed a bit at the transition and start moving up the san no ito (and for that matter the rest of the song, especially given that ichidan-sandan [first three movements] all share some of the same parts, and the sandan up to rokudan all are very similar and use some previously learned phrases) that can be tackled the same way - lots of repetition to get that muscle memory.

It takes time, so don’t worry about it - it’ll come.
I hope this helps, lemme know if you have any questions!


Hi Ian,

Thanks for a fantastic reply regarding the 4300 phrase!

I’ve never heard of the muscle memory before so I had to look it up.
It all makes sense now which is good because I was just about to throw the shamisen at the wall with frustration.

After reading your post I believe the muscle memory is the way to go, and I’ll just have to pace myself and be patient.

I’ll let you know how I go.

Thanks for the tips



You’re very welcome!
We’re all here to help each other out.
Glad it makes sense. :smiley:
Keep it up and everything will fall into place.
I look forward to hearing about your shamisen journey!


Welcome to Bachido Steve


Good comments, thanks Ian.


You’re welcome, and thank you, Alex :smiley:


Welcome to Bachido, Steve!
Great explanation about getting used to that phrase, Ian! Yeah, it all comes down to muscle memory. :slight_smile:

and don’t move on to the next part until you have this one down.

Just tossing in my two centimes. That particular phrase can take a super long time for some people to get comfortable with, so I would say it’s fine to continue in order to not get frustrated with a particular section.

Though I completely agree that repetition (and building it up from a slow speed) is a critical way to get comfortable with something, I also have noticed that if I put 100% focus on only one phrase without moving on, I unconsciously put too much ‘mental weight’ in that one phrase/technique. That keeps me from executing in a comfortable relaxed way. Too much focus, in a way.

In my personal example, it was in learning Masahiro Nitta’s intro phrase to Jonkara Bushi. It’s short, fast and intense. When learning it, I put it on an ipod and listened to that phrase hundreds of times while working. I just repeated that phrase over and over and over, and yet, I kept getting caught or stuck in it. In the end, when I practiced that phrase by also playing the prior and following sections as well, it kept my focus pulled back, relaxed enough to where I could pull off the phrase much cleaner.

So, in conjunction with spending time on the trouble spot, also learning they melody past the trouble spot helped me stay relaxed.

Just my thoughts from experience, but solutions differ depending on the individual, for sure! :slight_smile:


Thanks Kyle! That’s a great explanation - I hope I didn’t make it sound like it was my way or the highway, certainly not what I meant to do.

I personally like to put all my focus into a single part, but I totally get the idea of too much mental weight. That’s me with chemistry right now. :stuck_out_tongue:

It takes experimenting, and now you have quite a few opinions bouncing around as to how to approach it - see what works best for you, Steve!


Thanks Kyle for your input.

I’ve been practicing the 4300 part every night over and over and geez the neighbours must be hating me! not to mention wifey also.

And it looks like its beginning to pay off as the muscle memory is starting to kick in.

Wahoo! Time for more practice now.