I hope I post this into the right category…
I just registered here because a half year ago I found a Shamisen on Ebay by chance and it was a real bargain (you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you the price), from a seller who didn’t know very much about this instrument (else I hope he or she would have included a bachi). Since then I have become a regular visitor to this forum which is indeed very helpful
As I got it right before I had to leave for Japan, I didn’t have time yet to post here, but now that I want use the opportunity of being here to buy stuff, I have so many questions. After reading me through the internet I have concluded that I probably got a Nagauta Shamisen. Could I be right?
In any case it is a starter shamisen as it has a positions sticker attached. I don’t know what materials it is made of, but I guess no really good ones. Two of the attached strings have already broken and the skin has some dents.
So now I’m on a mission to get everything I need to start learning. Help… I have so many questions. I would really appreciate any answers and advices.
- I need to get new strings. I concluded that I’ll need nylon for the first and tetron for the second and probably for the third string as well, if I don’t want to risk them breaking again soon. Am I right? What are your experiences with strings?
- How do I fix the skin? Any advice?
- How do you tune your instruments? Do I really need the Korg-tuner?
- Can you help me deciding on the size of a tenjinbukuro? My Shamisen has none and so I don’t know what size would fit. My tenjin measures something between 6 and 6,2 cm. Would that be the size 19?
- I’m not such a big fan of Nagauta, I’d rather try out Kouta and Jiuta. Do I need a special koma for this or would the standard plastic one I have now do as well? And I’ve read that playing without bachi on tetron and nylon strings is hurtful for the fingers. What are your experiences? Have you ever played Kouta with a plectrum? And how can I learn more about the differences between both styles?
- Is it possible to play bushi and other Tsugaru-styles on Nagauta?
- Are these kind of cases foldable? I’d like to have a transport case for my Shamisen, but can’t take a hardcase with me on my flight. So I’d need something that fits into my backpack.
- On a flea market here in Kyôto (I simply love them!) I found a boxwood bachi, about 19,1 cm long, 10,2 cm wide and weighing 115g. Am I correct if I assume that this is a 30 monme-Bachi and suitable for my case? It fits into my hand very nicely.
- And finally, do you have any recommendations for books (English or Japanese) for self-learning? Or how do you teach yourself?
I will be really happy about any answers and advices you can give me.
Btw, I’m from South Germany, so if there’s anybody is in my area… send me a message!