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


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.


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,


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


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.


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