Pairing a Jiuta Shamisen with Tsugaru Strings?


#1

Hello
Earlier this year, I ordered through ebay auction a very nice vintage beginner shamisen. It seems to have the characteristics of Jiuta style. The original set of strings were pretty dried and snapped quite quickly. So I then ordered the strings for Jiuta off of amazon which were shipped from Japan. Now I have some backup strings and so far have only snapped one since. Its been a more discouraging instrument for me though since having to tune slightly lower because these strings are very close gauge and quite thin. But doing so, somewhat dampens the characteristic of the instruments sound especially for the tighter bass strings buzz. But if tuned to (what I’ve thought is standard tuning), they will fall out of tune very easily, and the high string will be so stressed/close to breaking point.
So I wondered…
Would it hurt or be unorthodox to use your Tsugaru Ito, where the gauge difference is more prominent, for this Jiuta style shamisen?

Thank you for all you do and have done in this Instruments community
Love from Montana, US
Tristan


#2

I don’t have a shamisen (yet) so I cannot offer any assistance, but did you see this post:

It’s not the exact same situation but it might offer some insight.


#3

Hey there.

When you string your shamisen, no matter the genre, you need to stretch the strings out a bit before the tuning will even start to hold. So before you start thinking about switching over or whole-sale discarding what you have, consider that.

To more directly answer your question, as long as your strings fit the itomaki holes it doesn’t matter.

String selection is a matter of taste and genre. Jiuta would tend to favor lighter strings not because the instrument won’t hold the necessary tension - but because the sound is different from what the genre expectations require.

As a point of reference, I actually keep an 1分5厘大 Shamisen stringed very much like a tsugaru (1- Gidayu-Futoguchi (Silk), 2 Kotobuki-15 (Silk) 3-14 (Tetron)) and it very much plays. I have a video of it being played over on Facebook. Hit me up if you want to see it.