New Raven: dou direction, assembly?

I was going to piggyback onto @A_Tchiang but then decided I shouldn’t hijack his thread (I also appreciated the itomaki advice, I was confused also!). My question is about the dou. How do I know which way it should face? I saw Kyle’s video on assembly but I’m not sure if I’ve done mine right, I can’t seem to get the sao all the way down. Should the curve be completely flush with the dou? I can see the curved groove in the lacquer and that’s what I was trying to use as a guide, but do I just apply more force? So worried about breaking this beautiful thing!
This is as far as I can push it in.

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Hello and congratulations on your shamisen! :slight_smile:
If you aligned the neck with the curved groove in the lacquer then yes, the curve should be flush with the dou. It should make a “click” sound when the sao is set into the dou.

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Hi @Stefanie! Thank you, it’s so beautiful, I’m still in shock! I pushed down really, really hard and got the “click” noise. Yay! But there is still a bit of space. People say that it will work its way in over time, so I hope that’s true. I don’t know if I have any more strength left! I’m also mildly terrified of the day I have to take it apart again for some reason! I hope I can just leave it this way?

Yay!
Sorry for the late reply. I know how you feel, I was afraid of putting together and then taking apart an old shamisen, let alone a new one! :slight_smile: If you got the “click” sound, I believe it should be fine. Oh, and if you want to feel better, you can check this short video Tokyo Shamisen The shamisen makers are far from gentle :)) 1:12 and 2:25

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I had the same problem with my Raven. Even my Father who has a lot more strength than me couldn’t push it all the way in. We put the wooden cover from the transportation on it and used a nylon hammer to hammer it in. I wrote with Kyle and he also had this problem with one of his shamisen, but was too afraid to hammer on it. He just pushed it as hard as possible in and then tried it the next day again. So better try to push it in everyday.

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thank you @Stefanie! I just watched it…I guess if I don’t have a lot of muscle I probably won’t hurt it? I also got advice from Kyle that I can let it sit for a day or two, then disassemble and try again, and that might work. I’m going to take another stab at it right now. Thank you again!

hi @Multimikstar! Okay, I’m glad to know that it’s not just my lack of muscle! I’m going to see if I can disassemble it (I hope I can?) and then I will try again. I think maybe it just takes time for the wood to grow accustomed to the tight fit. I will let everyone know how it goes! Thanks!

Hi @Studiomaya, this is not directly related to your problem with the sao/dou, but I am looking at getting a Raven soon myself, and I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to get the black or white skin. The official pictures all have the black hibiki, and from your picture here it looks like you either have white hibiki or natural skin. Would you mind sharing a picture of the full shamisen from the front once you get it all put together?

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Hello! Oops, I don’t know why I never got a notification that you had posted! Give me 24 hours and I’ll get a pic for you! I did finally get it put together and the sao all the way in to the dou. There was definitely a trick to it, and Kyle walked me through it with a lot of patience! I will elaborate when I post the pic, thanks for your patience!
Edited to tag @Rewjeo

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Here you go @Rewjeo. Let me know if you want to see a particular angle.


Btw the dokake is made by Kyle! It’s beautiful!

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This is actually excellent timing, as I was just getting ready to make the purchase this week! Those pictures are very helpful. Thank you very much, and I’m glad you got it all fitting together properly, too!

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Hurray! How exciting! I was just messing with it tonight. I am not a string instrument person so I’m just terrified of everything, I have to keep handling it to develop some confidence. It just feels so good in the hand, though.

I forgot that I was going to elaborate on the solution for the sao not fitting perfectly into the dou. Basically the joint is just that tight, and I couldn’t push it all the way in but I also couldn’t get it back out! Kyle advised me to tap the bottom of the sao (the part that sticks out of the bottom of the dou) against the floor to dislodge it from the dou, then re-insert, and if necessary to do it a couple of times and to oil the offending joint lightly if needed. I was really nervous about “hitting” the bottom of the sao against the floor but actually it only needed a couple of firm but light taps and it popped right out. I think it took three tries before the joint came together without any gap.

Have fun! I am progressing verrrry slowly but it’s so fun and relaxing!

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OMG. It’s so beautiful. :flushed::heart_eyes::drooling_face: Thank you for sharing!

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@TinyBlueFrog you’re welcome, I think it’s beautiful too! I can barely hold the bachi properly but I do love to pick up the instrument and just hold it! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: