How to take care of Shamisen question. (Destring the shamisen after every session?)

So I just got my strings a while ago for my shamisen and a complete beginner. I was wondering about how to take care of the strings?

The strings need to still stretch and I followed the bachido video, with how they use your fingers to stretch in manually. I still have problems with the strings changing tone, but I know that’s because they are still new. After finishing pracricing my measures I destring my shamisen all the time because I don’t want to damage the string is my thought.

My question is,
So its been maybe 4 days, I decided to not to destring my shamisen and just keep the strings one, but of course, I took the Koma off when I am done practicing. Is this fine to keep the strings on all the time, or is this bad?

1 Like

I find the material changes how stable the pitch is. Nylon strings are very elastic, it takes some time for the pitch to settle, even with broken-in strings. In my experience, this is marginal with silk strings after they are broken-in.

I keep my strings on (all silk), but very loose. I have found no issue with this. As for the koma, it is held under the strings while resting on the top rim of the dou (where the wood supports it). The pressure from the loose strings is enough to hold it, but the strings are considerably slack. I have had no issues with this either.

I would think you are fine keeping the strings on.

I have only broken strings when tightening to play at higher pitches. Lower pitches mean strings last longer, and I personally like the sound of looser and lower pitch strings.

1 Like

Hi there.

Generally, for long term storage you want to minimize climate changes (hot/cold, humidity) to better maintain the integrity of the skin and its adhesive. A dehumidifying pack, protective bag, or case is nice to use for this.

While I wouldn’t store my shamisen with the koma in place, I don’t think I would destring it. At most, I might reduce the tension if I was practicing in a particularly high key.

It’s also a good idea to wipe the neck down with a saofuki or similar cloth to help manage oils and keep things looking nice.

If you wanted to be extremely careful, you might consider flipping the strings’ orientation from time to time (changing where the bachi hits) in order to really push their lifespan. My tsugaru teacher does this.

2 Likes

Wow thx, I released the strings a little, but also you said to keep in a case? Right now I just have my shamisen sitting upright. I have a washi bag covering the DOU. I have a case but it’s a case where you have to deconstruct the shamisen to put it. Do you think this is fine?

1 Like

Ah, well… that would certainly make me nervous, but as long as you were mindful of its surroundings it’s likely okay. Personally, I’d be worried of it falling over - but I know for a fact that many shops will store their instruments as you currently are (albeit in a stand or otherwise secured).

2 Likes