Maebachi & Ushirobachi


Hi, just recently bought the book “Shamisen of Japan” and the book comes with many useful Tsugaru song sheets. The only problem I have with it is that I don’t know when exactly should I be hitting Mae or Ushirobachi (Striking on the center or the front part of the drum with the Bachi).

Do someone has any hints about that?

Thanks in advance


My answer here should not be taken the wrong way, but : follow the rhythm.

Maebachi and ushirobachi have different sounds, and your goal when using them is to create something interesting.

Maebachi, done properly has a clear, prominent ‘click’. It’s quieter, more delicate. It lets the strings sing.

Ushirobachi brings the full force of the drum’s size to the forefront. It’s got the boom if you want it.

Beyond that, look at some examples of people using it.


Thanks, I’ll keep practicing and trying to notice it


The second video above (Tsugaru Aiya-bushi) is great. Great technique and a great view of his hands. It really lets you hear and see the difference between the two. The only problem is that it’s a fairly advanced song and maybe not one you are ready to tackle if you are a new player.

Tsugaru Jinku has the same kind of rhythmic back and forth ushirobachi-maebachi-ushirobachi-maebachi like in Tsugaru Aiya-bushi. I think it’s a lot easier to play, though. It has helped me a lot to get the techniques down. I have the notation for a simplified version if you are interested.

I went searching for a youtube video of Tsugaru Jinku and found one from @Kevin_Kmetz (playing a not-so-simplified version). This also has great technique (of course) and a good view of his hands.


Great, thanks a lot.

I’m already used to play Tsugaru Jinku (but without Mae or Ushirobachi) so this video will help me greatly to improving it and understand the basis of this technique a little better.


The second half of my first video also includes Tsugaru Jinku (and a very standard playing of it :stuck_out_tongue:


Sure enough! I missed that…