New to shamisen - any and all advice appreciated!


Good morning from beautiful Miura, Japan!

I recently returned from my first trip to Aomori (Hachinohe/ Oirase/ Aomori/ Hirosaki) I fell instantly and madly in love with Tsugaru Jamisen. I have listened to traditional Japanese music since junior high, but this was my first introduction to Tsugaru Jamisen and live performances.

I studied piano for about 10 years, a year of cello lessons, and have played around with several other instruments, but none of them string instruments (so I have zero familiarity with guitar or similar).

I have been researching trying to find instructors locally, but it is difficult as a) all instruction is only in Japanese, and I am nowhere near fluent and b) my work schedule makes it nearly impossible to find a convenient time for lessons.

So for the last month, I have been watching countless instructional videos on Bachido Schoolhouse and YouTube. I am looking to purchase my first beginner Tsugaru Jamisen and will likely be teaching myself from videos.

My one concern is about the noise of practicing in a small Japanese apartment, Will the shinobi koma reduce noise significantly?

I plan on spending at least one hour a day on practice.

When I go back to Hirosaki next summer, I would like to invest in a more expensive instrument and accessories, including Tsugaru Nuri Doukake, pegs, etc. (I’ll be back in Hirosaki for several craft workshops including embroidery, lacquering, and Tsugaru Jamisen lessons).

Nice to meet you,


Welcome aboard! :smiley:

To answer your concern, yes - a shinobi koma very much reduces the overall volume of an otherwise very loud instrument. I haven’t used it personally but I believe the deluxe one helps to reduce the sound of the tataki (percussive snap) of the bachi against the skin as well.

This is the best site out there for talking about shamisen with English (and some Japanese) speakers haha, glad to have you!



I too am new to the shamisen world, but do have a shinobi koma in my arsenal. It will work quite well for your situation. I liken it to playing an electric guitar without the amp plugged in. Mine drastically reduces the volume.