Nervous to start out/learn shamisen

Ever since the movie Kubo and The Two Strings brought my attention to this amazing instrument (thanks, Kevin!!), I’ve been listening to vast amounts of shamisen music and quickly became inspired to learn to play it.

In the past, I have been interested in learning instruments, I took piano lessons for 7 years, as well as clarinet and ukulele, but I never ended up sticking with them. However, even after all these months, I still feel a deep connection to the shamisen. An instrument has never made me feel like this, and now that I noticed the feeling of intense excitement and awe hasn’t faded, I’ve been feeling compelled to actually pick up a beginners shamisen.

The problem is, even at the discounted price Bachido is able to provide, they’re still expensive. I’m a bit nervous to commit to something as big as learning a complex new instrument, especially at a $600 price. I viewed all the free course material by Kyle Abbott and it only got me more excited, but I can’t help to doubt myself.

I’m sure I’m just getting cold feet, so would any of you like to share your stories and grievances as you started out/prepared to start out playing? I believe it might boost my confidence.

Hi Lee! I used to play the guitar many years ago but could never bring myself to continue playing. I even quit. Then I happened to pass by a shamisen performance and instantly I got attracted to it. That’s when I thought, why not? It’s much more unique than your normal guitars and all that.

Then I stumbled on a private group which has shamisen sessions so I decided to go for it. Felt extremely alienated at first but after the second session I decided to buy one and make a new hobby! Didn’t have any regrets after that.

I get what you mean by having a deep connection to shamisen. The songs have such excitement and groove to it that once you start, you can’t stop!

Overall it’s a very fun and interesting instrument to play with and I’m sure you’ll feel committed to it with all the groovy songs (and the heavy price tag)

And welcome to Bachido!

It’s just like any other instrument, difficult at first, but if you start slow, can be extremely rewarding

I paid about $250 for my first shamisen in Japan. You can find them for cheap if you look hard enough, but $600 for a decent instrument is not unreasonable (though might be out of your budget.)

Hi Lee Lynne,
Great to hear from you. As it turns out I currently have a Shamisen for sale. I’ll PM you about it in a sec.

I know this feeling very good; for me, it started 2014, but I was never able to buy a Shamisen until last November, when a friend of mine sold his one to me.
I paid 350€, which is a low price compared to the Shamisen I saw in a Japanese shop here in Germany.
But after some weeks of killing the ears of my neighbours I have to say: It was totally worth it.( The time of wait and the money) :smiley:

I felt drawn to Shamisen as well.
I followed my gut.
Now it’s tattooed on my arm.
Worth it.

I lurked around these forums for a year or two before purchasing a shamisen. I had a hard time not getting obsessed with the instrument before I even had a chance to try it. In fact I started practicing on a sanshin I had borrowed until I got the shamisen. I was fortunate to find a teacher locally, but she teaches mostly minyo so I come to Bachido for tsugaru info. It’s been the most fun and rewarding experience I’ve had in a long time. It also compliments playing in a taiko group. Only wish I had more tsugaru shamisen players locally to play with. Fortunately there are great resources and a friendly community online to learn from and share experiences with. Go for it.

Grant, what’s the tattoo on your arm like? I always thought the most hardcore shamisen related tattoo would be to have a yubikake tattooed onto your left hand. I’m due some more ink, but I don’t think I’d go that far.

hello! as a new player! we’re always nervous ahahah so dont mind it!
but yeah i know here’s a lot of people that will give you many good advice’s to start in the world of the shamisen