fujaku for Nagauta shamisen


#1

hi
I am a player of Nagauta shamisen and started my lessons 3 months ago with a japanese teacher (who came back to Japan for several months). I am a beginner and have some difficulties in finding the good position with my fingers to press the string.

Would the fujaku that you sold on your store be ok for me ?

Cheers

Frédéric from Paris


#2

Hi Fred,

Yes, our fujaku will work with a nagauta shamisen. It’s really helpful. as finding the correct positions is very hard on a fretless instrument.

Cheers,
Kyle


#3

The fujaku work with Nagauta? Aren’t their necks a different length than the tsugaru?


#4

Though the neck thickness is different, I believe the length (or at least position locations) are the same. If not, I’ll make sure masahiro gets it for nagauta size.


#5

Thanks guys and apologies for my belated reply.


#6

Books of hauta and min’you scores used to come with a cheap paper fujaku. The numbers on the paper were meant for use with bunkafu notation, the same notation that we use for Tsugaru shamisen.
Most of the nagauta scores I’ve seen use a different system (kosaburoufu notation) based on pitch rather than position, so while a fujaku will tell you where the notes are (i.e. that you are not playing sharp or flat), the numbers will not coincide with those in nagauta scores.
Anyway, Kyle, maybe you could check your fujaku against the following measurements, with the position 1 as the starting point of 0 millimeters. If it is about the same ( I think it will be), then your fujaku should be fine for a nagauta shamisen. A note on the paper says position 1) should be placed a distance of 1 sun 1 bun (33 mm) from the kamigoma.
(edit: There are some formatting problems, but hopefully this will still make sense):

  1. 0 mm
    
  2. 53 mm
    
  3. 89 mm
    

3#) 122 mm
4) 161 mm
5) 183 mm
6) 226 mm
7) 247 mm
8) 277 mm
9) 308 mm
9b) 326 mm
10) 357 mm
11) 375 mm
12) 401 mm
13) 419 mm
13# ) 436 mm
14) 455 mm
15) 467 mm
16) 488 mm
17) 498 mm
18) 514 mm

It should also be noted that maker of the fujaku assumed a certain positioning of the koma - if you place it too far off of their ideal position, your intonation will be off. A quick way to test this, if you have a tuner, would be to see that certain key positions are in tune. To make it easy, let’s say you tune your third string to C, then position 4 should be F, and position 6 should be G. In the second octave, 10 should be C, 14 should be F and 16 should be G. If they tend to be flat, move the koma closer to the middle of the dou; if they tend to be sharp, move it closer to the edge.


#7

Hi Gerry,

I just checked with my clear adhesive fujaku and yes, it is the same measurements (it also says the 1sun 1bun thing). So, I believe tsugaru fujaku and nagauta fujaku are the same.


#8

@Gerry,

Thank you so much for those measurements! I just got my shamisen today and I’ve been looking for these all over the internet!


#9

Alex, I really recommend just using a tuner to mark off the positions. When I did that, I was a bit off from the measurements I would find on the internet. On my nagauta, my last absolute position was 19 (at A# assuming open C) which was right at the bend of the sao. Note that shamisen uses 1-10 scale not 1-12 (has 2 #s in there after the 3 and 9).

For markers, I use guitar fret dot rub-on stickers you can find anywhere on ebay or Rosette Guitar. I marked positions 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 18.


#10

Yeah I was thinking about that too but this just makes it easier, I have a kind of base line to go off of. The general idea of the shamisen is that you “know” the positions by heart. The dots are just a rough guide for me to not have to stare at a note sheet all the time.


#11

Totally agreed. Classical guitar is the same - fretted but no markers. But even when learning that, I had to use a dot at the 7th fret until now I actually get thrown off by dots on a guitar.

Just in my opinion, the little dots are less distracting than that huge sticker - and I am sure that the positions are correct when I place the dots myself.


#12

Even if you have a fujaku or dots, the actual placement will be off a bit based on your tuning or what angle you’re looking at the sao. My beginner shamisen has a fujaku, though it was applied incorrectly by the previous owner and so it’s off by a few mm anyway. On my akatsuki I haven’t put any markings so far. It’s surprisingly not as difficult as I thought it would be, though I still miss some lesser used notes especially when trying to learn a piece. I can tell it’s definitely helping to train my ear though and I hope that ultimately I’ll just be able to play without one…


#13

Also forgot to mention is one little trick I use is to look for particular markings or stains in the wood that are nearby certain positions and use those as a quick visual aid when needed. For example my akatsuki has a dark spot right near position 10 which is quite handy. Furthermore, on a 3 piece sao I think the joints are usually at position 4 and 14.