Hey! Looking to get a shamisen. This one for sale for $75

Should I purchase it? Is it worth the work?

Hey George,

That actually looks to be a Chinese sanxian, not a shamisen. The snakeskin head also looks busted, so you’d need to replace that, and there are a lot of CITES regulations about using python skin now. I’d keep up the search if what you’re looking for is a shamisen, or if you’d like a sanxian, take a look at www.easonmusicstore.com. They’re based out of Singapore and provide CITES certificates with all snakeskin outfitted instruments.

For a starter shamisen set, it’s hard to get a better deal than Kyle’s beginner shamisen here on Bachido. You can find instruments on auction site for cheaper but the quality is going to be a toss up for sure.

Hope that helps.



This is not shamisen. It is sanshin (Okinawa)
The skin used originally is a burmese python skin. As mentioned by Denver it is falls under CITES with all related issues.
The repair would cost you close to the nagauta shamisen IMHO, depending on your location.


From right to left : shamisen, sanshin, sanxian. I don’t know the left one !

Oh, stand corrected. The tenjin is different from sanshin for sure

The far left is a 火不思 - it is read as “huobusi” and seems similiar to a komuz

You can hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8Y7b_3p0tI

It’s used in Mongolian music.

This website has a closer photo of the huobosi, btw

Thanks guys! I’ll keep a lookout for an actual shamisen!