Open Back Shamisen?

Im wondering if anyone has ever experimented with a shamisen that has no skin on the back? banjos have opened backs and either use a back plate resonator to turn the sound back towards the front. In clawhammer playing they remove the resonator completely to open the sound up some. I wonder how an open back shamisen might sound. Anyone ever experiment midway through a reskinning? @Kyle_Abbott

@Alexey I saw you’ve been perfecting your silent shami; maybe you’ve done some other experimentation in the past?

My silent shamisen is open on the back for sure :wink: The reason for this is simple: I was trying to make it quieter. My understanding what the back of the shamisen does resonate to the front, especially if the tension is set correctly (Back has less tension level compared to front as the front has mass and damping effect of the strings pushing on the skin thru the koma and lowering the front skin resonance frequency) In this case you can maximize the sound output, assuming both skins are in same phase. This is most critical for street and outdoor performances. So, keeping just front you loosing power and some obertones.

Not that I have played a regular shamisen without back skin. My experiment with PVC shamisens have shown a drastic lack of resonance without the back, hence a lower volume and thinner tone quality.