Help looking to buy my first shamisen


#1

Hi everyone I want to get into shamisen but live in UK so is little hard. I know I will have to import was wondering is this a good one https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Electric-Shamisen-Sangen-Nagauta-Tsugaru/321459781732

Also found this one in UK for £50 but the skin has come unstuck is it easy to fix or waste of time
https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/Japanese-Shamisen-traditional-instrument/173429966509?hash=item28613b46ad%3Ag%3A7kEAAOSwcZ9bWF80&_sop=10&_nkw=Shamisen&_from=R40&rt=nc

Thanks for any advice will take recommendations too. Budget max £650


#2

Hey there, welcome to Bachido.

I’d generally advise against that first link. While I can’t vouch for or against it’s quality personally, that it’s flagged as both a Nagauta and Tsugaru (as well as the visual build quality) has me highly suspicious of its value.I’d definitely try to get someone’s first-hand review before taking the plunge on it.

The second one looks more viable. The pictures aren’t perfect, but it looks like a pretty standard mitsuori-sao Nagauta shamisen. It’s a pity that the rear skin is coming loose, but the rest of it seems to be in good shape. Repairing a skin usually requires specialized tools making DIY somewhat difficult, but Bachido actually offers a reskinning service. If you can snag it cheaply enough, you can get the repairs done and come in well under budget.

I might also have a spare instrument that could meet your needs.

Alternatively, the Beginner Shamisen (on the bachido store) would likely work with your budget too, even with buying the accessories separately. Then, you’d have the benefit of a brand new instrument!


#3

Thanks for replying. I actually finally found a video of electric one and didn’t sound like a shamisen sounded more like a guitar.

Will look into maybe buying that other one cheap or the beginner one


#4

Just wondering is this a good one compared to beginner shamisen on here https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F322486800159


#5

Do you mean is it better?

No.

Both are mitsuori nagauta shamisen crafted from Karin, and both feature yamazawari and ebony itomaki. The one you linked has an artificial skin of indeterminate origin.

At best, this makes it as good as the Fibersen “Beginner” shamisen found on the shop. However, it’s more likely to be the older style artificial leather. Which doesn’t sound too great.

I’d link a comparison, but the forum isn’t playing nice with my attempts.


#6

Hi there!
You’re from the UK? Have you tried contacting Hibiki Ichikawa? He’s the Shamisen Player/Teacher in the UK, based in London. He might even have rental instruments to try before you buy something. :grin:


#7

Thanks will look into that. Found this one on ebay is it any good https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F332727711373


#8

That’s a pretty basic nagauta shamisen, my dude. No different from the store’s offering except that it’s older and used.

You’ll note some damage on the itomaki, bachi, and koma. The neck seems to be in relatively good shape, but that skin (dog, done up to look like cat) is rather old and yellowed.


#9

Yeah started to realise that myself. I contacted hibiki the guy who teaches shamisen in London like the other guy said and he got a one in like new condition. For £620 getting it on Thursday