Question for the Kokyu Gang - Strings

I am trying to reach anyone who owns a kokyu.

What sort of strings are used for the instrument? Are those the same as used on a shamisen or do you need to buy kokyu specific strings?

Thank you for any info!


@Kyle_Aaron, @Linda_Caplan ? Sorry for tagging you :blush:

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Hi Stefanie!

Nice to see another Kokyu enthusiast here. I recently got an all wood Kokyu from Shamisen Rakuya, and the extra set of strings I bought were categorized as Nagauta/Kokyu silk strings.


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Hi Karen!
Thank you so much! Just to make sure, the strings would be 15-1 13-2 and 13-3 ?

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You’re welcome! And yes those numbers exactly

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The Kokyu I have got came with the strings. The thickness is close to Nagauta strings but the 3rd string is not transparent and looks very similar tp the 2nd one, just thinner. IMHO this is because transparent one would have less friction on the bow hair and would hardly produce any sound.
I have tried to use Nagauta strings on the one I restored and ended up sanding 3rs string in order to get enough “grab” with 800 grit sandpaper.

Hi Alexey!
That makes sense, I guess for the kokyu, all the strings need to be silk. By the way, is anything used on the bow hair, some sort of rosin?

I have answered the email but not sure if it gets to the forum.
Yes, the one I have got come with rosin. I assume any violin rosin should to the trick, just not too much as with any other bow. As well my understanding is what finest violin string there made from silk as well in the past. There is a person in US who still makes them from silk on orders.
Here the video from this person:
Silk string manufacturing
and his article on the process:
silk strings manufacturing

Hi Alexey, thank you!
Hm, I didn´t get any forum email… I guess it has to be done through the site?
Ah, I remember reading about the person making silk strings, looks quite crazy (I mean, the process, not the guy :)) )