How long is it safe to leave koma in without playing?


#1

How long can you leave a koma on your shamisen while not playing before it starts to cause wear and possible damage on it? I’m using the bone tip koma and fibersen skin for reference. Sometimes I want to switch to a different instrument and take a break for 20 minutes or so before going back to my shamisen, and I’d prefer to not remove and apply the koma each time.


#2

Hi Kabukiman,
As no-one has yet replied I’ll give you my thougts.
My koma is always fitted. The only time I’d ever remove it is when my shami is being taken somewhere, like a car journey etc.
My skin is synthetic but if you’ve got a natural skin you may want to take it out if you’re not going to to be playing for a few days. I’m pretty sure a twenty minute break won’t do any harm.
Alternatively you can just gently slide it into the maebachi position and this will take a lot of the tension of the strings.
I put a couple of small pencil marks on the neo side of the koma so it can be quickly slid back into tuneable position.
I initially use to remove it but this became pretty tedious very quickly.
As I say my koma has been fitted for nearly two years in -10C and 40C + days where I live and only removed when I’m renewing strings, travelling etc…
Hope this helps,
Neil


#3

What is maebachi? And I’m confused about how the pencil marks on the koma itself help you put it into tuning position.


#4

It is recommended to remove the koma when you are not playing, to reduce tension on the skin and strings and insure a long skin-life.

I generally keep it in during practice sessions (2-3 hours on the top end) even if I take breaks during them. Do not store or ship your instrument with the koma inserted.

Maebachi is the area on the dou (the top 1/4-1/3) nearest the sao. It is the usual playing position for non-futozao shamisen, and is often protected by a half moon shaped bachigawa.


#5

Good to know for those like me who hasn’t gotten around to asking :grin: