Purchased Used Chuzao: Questions about replacing/repairing parts, skin, glue

Finally decided to purchase a used Chuzao shamisen which will get here soon.

For now, I think I will attempt reskinning it with Hibiki, as I do not want to worry as much about the temperature and climate changes when traveling.

Some questions:

  1. For chuzao size shamisen and hibiki, is nori needed for this process? I’m comfortable making the rice glue, or using hide glue, but I recently found nori paste on amazon, and I was wondering if this is the correct glue for tsugaru bodies etc. https://www.amazon.com/Yasutomo-NP56J-Nori-Paste-10-Ounce/dp/B0027ACSF6/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=nori+glue&qid=1575755605&sr=8-1

  2. On the off-chance that I need to replace any of the zagane, does bachido happen to sell them for chuzao bodies? I’m not honestly sure if I even want to use the zagane with the instrument, but I figured I would ask just in case.

  3. For new strings, I noticed that Bachido seems to only carry Tsugaru and Nagauta sets. Will these work with a chuzao body or will I need to source my strings from somewhere else?

Hi there.

1 - Nori is Japanese for glue! That product is starch based, but I’m unsure if it rice starch. It specifies it shouldn’t be used with vellum or plastic.

3 - Strings are not tied to shamisen type, they’re limited by stylistic tradition and itomaki hole size. This leads to trends, but you can in essence use whatever you like. I have a Chuuzao stringed with heavy tsugaru strings (Futaguchi-15-14) and another stringed with more typical 17-14-13. I have another stringed at 20-15-13.

For Chuuzao, it’s very common to have 15-18 gauge strings on your first string, 12-14 gauge strings on your second string, and 10-13 on your third string.

If you want a heavier sound, you can use heavier strings. If you’re interested in more genre trends I can also dig up some resources for you.


Thanks for the reply.

Are bachido and amazon the only distributors of strings? I have been trying to find other sources to no avail. I’m thinking I may need to hit up amazon.jp at this point.

There are many!

Most Japan shops have an internet presence, either directly such as shamisen Rakuya


Others have a presence on Rakuten


In North America, options are much more limited.

Completely forgot about Rakuten. Thanks, I’ll check them out.

I think Chords Canada also might sell strings for North America delivery if that’s where you are located:

I cannot seem to find a pricing/cart option on ChordsCanada. I take it orders must be placed via contact?

I have been ordering strings on Yahoo Japan Auction.
Tsugaru set would cost you about $16CAD.
I have used Zenmarket.jp so I can ship it to Canada and do not need auction registration. Helps to have it translated as well 8-). Shipping prices quite decent and you can combine many purchases in one package to make it cheaper.Plenty of parts for different shamisen sizes as well as accessories. I have been buying bachi, koma, strings and etc as well as damaged shamisens.

Chords does not offer e-commerce or online shopping at the moment. We prefer the old-fashioned way of doing business, namely two-way communication with our customers. So if you’re interested in any of our products, let us know what items you’re looking for and we’ll be happy to give you pricing, shipping estimates, etc. by phone, fax or email.