Newbie purchase

Hi everyone, what a great collection of experience this is. So glad to have found this place!

I’m in the market for my first shamisen. I grew up dancing to nagauta, but I love all the genres, from minyo to tsugaru styles. I’m pretty musical but I mostly play piano with a bit of ukulele thrown in. I think my shamisen obsession will stick, because it’s a part of my childhood, and I’m a sucker for beautiful instruments, but I’m lost as to what I should buy. I have big hands and I like a big sound, and I’m willing to spend extra if it means I don’t have to upgrade later. I could make this a painless decision and order the beginner instrument but it’s a nagauta. I know @Kyle_Abbott says it doesn’t matter, but any thoughts about the other options, such as The Raven or the Karin Minyo set? Is it weird if I learn nagauta on a tsugaru? Will a minyo or nagauta instrument be very light and delicate in my big hands? Again, I’m super fond of a big, rich sound.

Thanks so much, I appreciate any opinions! Really eager to just place an order and get started, especially if there’s a wait!

Cheers, Maya in NH

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Whatever their subtype, shamisen are all fundamentally the same. Three strings and a drum.

Consequently, you can play anything on anything - but the sound will vary. A smaller body will lend a lighter, higher tone. A bigger body will add a thumpier, growlier aspect. Both nagauta and tsugaru are quite loud.

If you’re looking at playing multiple genres and don’t care about cost too much, I would recommend waiting a little. Bachido will be selling a min’yo shamisen soon, which will split the difference between the karin nagauta and nicer tsugaru instruments.

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Thanks for the input! I’m so eager to finally start learning, I have to admit I hate to wait, especially if I already have to wait due to build and ship times. I really do love a big, rich sound, but ranking right next to that would be a beautiful instrument, I have to admit!

I’d like to get it from Bachi because community means a lot to me. I also don’t know what I’m doing, so the help is invaluable! Is there something about the minyo type that makes it particularly versatile? There is a Karin Minyo shamisen available on the “more shamisen” page. Or I could just stop tailchasing and get The Raven? What’s the easiest way to get something that is bold, versatile, and pretty? Thank you again for your help!

I started with a nagauta and I played mostly tsugaru music on it. I have the raven now and yes, there is a difference but that’s okay. They are both very enjoyable to play. Bachi on!

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Okay, I won’t be so concerned with shamisen type, and I’ll focus more on what I can get and putting the cost of all the accessories in there. I’m seriously looking at that Minyo shamisen on the “more shamisen” page because it is a complete package, but I will also put together a Raven package (I love those lacquered doukake!) and see what the damages are there also. Everything is so beautiful!

Thanks so much, if anyone has one to sell, let me know…

Thanks for the tag, Maya! So happy to have you in the Bachido community, and thrilled to see the great conversation already going on! :slight_smile:

As always, Mr. @Brown makes the most validest of points that I don’t really need to add much, other than share the link to the minyo shamisen he was referring to - the Starling. :slight_smile: (

The Starling is our first step into broadening our high end shamisen selection to the other styles, so that one isn’t restricted to big and boisterous to enjoy the sparkle. However, given that you have big hands and are fond of a big, bold sound, I’d wonder if the Raven would possibly be the best option?


thanks for hopping in @Kyle_Abbott! Yes, my top priority (besides beauty) is a big sound. If I have big hands does that automatically mean I should do the futozao option on the Raven, or does that just make it heavy?

do you have any guesses as to the shipping schedule? I’ve recently received parcels from Japan very quickly, but they were quite small. I don’t know if they’re still restricting airmail to small sizes…

Thank you again, this is going to be one mondo purchase so I have to write this all out. If you or anyone has any recommendations on the accessories, I am listening! thank you again to @Brown and @Aleksandar_Antonovic for reassuring me that it’s all flexible and good.

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Hmmm, we were supposed to receive a fairly large package from Japan last month but at this time, at least in Canada, they only ship small parcels. (So we got 5 smaller packages of goodies instead)

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Hews update:
Just ordered a package from Japan and it’s pretty large. They said it won’t be a problem to ship.

Good luck!

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Yay! Thanks for the update @Aleksandar_Antonovic! I placed my order(s) with Kyle and am super excited! You guys are the best!


You are most welcome!!