Guitar effects on Shamisen


I wonder, has anyone ever tried using guitar pedals/effects on their Shamisen, whether it’s trough the pickup, through the mic, or added in the mix (The latter 2 of which would be really interesting to see, since it retains the acoustic properties that are lost with pickups)
I think a flanger of phaser would be interesting to see. Or perhaps a chorus, so one can properly play La’Mule songs xDD.


I have, although not through a physical one. I used garage band. There are several shamisen players who also use guitar pedals.

One thing I noticed that with the sawari, it makes the tone somewhat sharp and clear.


Yeah, I was wondering to see what it’d sound like through something like Garage Band. Audacity can also be good to use since it has a built in Phaser and Wah. However, you’re gonna need to download a plugin for Flanger.
If I ever decide to do La’Mule covers when I finally get my Shamisen, I definitely will be using chorus, since most of their songs use the effect. Even their heavier ones xD


Looking forward to those covers! Good thing about garage band is that you can record it first and then play around with different amps, pedals etc. Bass amps make it more shamisen -ish. Electric guitars are perfect for heavy metal


I think a Shamisen would sound amazing through a healthy dose of delay and reverb, but I tend towards producing a lot of ambient music.


Hm. A Delay definitely would be interesting. Could allow for some very experimental styles~


You can apply digital effects on pre-recorded samples/pieces via Garage Band, Audacity, Cubase (actually, the effect addons for cubase are really great and don’t sound too … well, digital ), you name it. But this can sound kinda sloppy in post-production, since the sound of the instrument itself gets a little “twisted”.

But what’s even better for recordings of amplyfied instruments, or even just acoustic ones, is recording directly off the amplifier itself.
That means, you can just tap a clip-mic to your instrument and connect it with an amplifier.
This actually does great justice to the sound of the shamisen, because most clip-mics (used for violins or contrabass) catch vibrations and percussive effects from the body of the shamisen itself. Just set the amp to an effect of your liking and record through an attached condenser mic.

Or you if you are a little proficient with microphoning techniques, record your shamisen over an external mic (dynamic or drumming) and connect it to a pedalboard or something else that can be connected to a analogue mixer. A Line6 POD is actually quite fun for stuff like that.


Applying effects after the fact can kind of work for some things, but I don’t prefer it. Having an effect applied live greatly influences the way you play the instrument, especially if it’s a modulation effect or a prominent delay. I’m definitely going to try running my shamisen through my guitar effects rig and amplifier once I get better at playing it…


Hey - I know this is an old thread by now but I just had to share this. Apologies for the video quality but it’s the first and so far only time I’ve seen this done - Shinobu Kawashima hooked up her shamisen to a wah-wah pedal!

It’s such a cool sound imo.

Edit: and well this is an awesome modern cover in any case imo, but Taichi Hikida (of Hayate, Shameleon, and Aufheben) uses a neat reverb effect especially noticeable at the end