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: