I recently won an auction for a used tsugaru shamisen and it’s finally arrived. It’s a handsome boy but it has a couple things that I’m wondering about… I’m fairly certain it’s a tsugaru: the base of the neck is 3cm, it has the extended fingerboard and the chunky itomaki? Pictures below!
Anyway, my biggest concern is that the skin that it came with doesn’t feel like a natural skin. I have a nagauta shamisen where the skin is more like a rough, papery texture (I’m assuming this is a natural standard skin) but the tsugaru has a very plastic-y type with a strange vinyl layer?? When I feel the inside of the dou, it actually feels very rough-papery and solid despite the weird smooth, plastic outer surface. When it’s played, it sounds robust but something just doesn’t add up… Has anyone had experience in this before?
Also, it came with a black bachi with what I can only guess (and hope) is bekkou. The handle of the bachi is cracked though. Any ideas how to repair this?