Repairing a Chipped Bachi

Chip 1!

If you dabble in the hard driving tsugaru style, you may have found (or will soon find out) that your bachi chips with prolonged use. Fortunately, it’s common among all tsugaru shamisen players, and is very easy to repair, taking less than 5~10 minutes to do so.

All you need is:

  • A chipped bachi
  • 600G Sandpaper
  • 1000G, 1500G and 2000G Sandpaper (optional)
  • 4000G,8000G, 12000G polishing pads (to restore the bachi’s glassy sheen)

Before you start

You will only sand one side of the bachi tip - the side your thumb touches. Never sand the side that touches the string. Verify the correct side by holding the bachi and placing your thumb down.

Verifying Side!

Take your 600G sandpaper to the tip of the bachi (on the side your thumb touches when gripped) and sand in a circular motion.

Chip 2!

You still want to maintain the slight bevel in the bachi tip. Holding the paper too perpendicular to the bachi will result in a hard, flat edge. Holding it too paralleled will result in more shell being sanded than necessary. Just keep your sanding motion relaxed and a natural bevel should form.

Chip 3!

Within about 5 minutes, you should notice that the chip has been completely sanded away! Congratulations! It’s almost ready for action! There’s just two (optional) steps left. Removing the tiny scratch marks and restoring the tip to it’s former luster.


Though the little scratches aren’t damaging to the bachi, it would look nicer to remove them. With your 1000G ~ 2000G sandpaper, briskly repeat the same, circular motion until the noticeable scratches are gone.

At this point, the tip will be looking pretty nice! The final step is to bring the tip back to it's former glossy luster, making your bachi look good as new. This is where your 4000 ~ 12000 polishing pads come in. Repeat the same process as above.

Alternative - If you don’t have polishing pads, you can buff the tip by briskly rubbing the bachi over a soft rug.

Congratulations! Your bachi is sparkling and is good as new. Now, start playing again and chip away!


1 Like

Awesome! I’m really glad you made this article bro!

Great! thanks for posting!

Happy Birthday Kyle!

Thanks guys! :slight_smile:

Oh snap!! Kevin! We still must make that video with your birthday bachi!

Kyle, I got my bekkou bachi, finally. (The one I showed you on eBay that had the chip at one end …)

I was able to get 600g, 1200g, and 2000g at Lowes, but where do you get the little polishing disks? I couldn’t find those anywhere!

Oh, and question: How come you can’t sand the side of the bachi that strikes the strings?

LIGHTBULB It occurs to me that my nails are pretty similar to a turtle’s shell … do you think I could use my nail buffer to polish the bekkou?? It works great on my nails, really brings out a nice sheen!

*A few hours later: * wow, the nail buffer worked really well!

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Hey Lorraine!

Congratulations on your newly acquired bachi! :slight_smile:

Hmm… Nuts, I completely forgot where I got those! However, I’m sure a nail buffer would work perfectly!

just read your update Yay!! :smiley:

How come you can’t sand the side of the bachi that strikes the strings?

That’s what I was told without much reason. I suspect that sanding that side ‘incorrectly’ or unevenly will affect the ease of striking. Thus, sanding the topside eliminates that risk.

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I dropped my plastic bachi TWICE on BOTH sides and literally shattered both tips , and had no choice but to sand the bottom. The sanding job was rough (I hadn’t figured out the nail buffer thing yet), and I noticed that when I was playing there was a really unpleasant zinging sound that is much less noticeable with the other bachi. Do you think this could be the reason? I went after the plastic bachi with the nail buffer earlier, and this seemed to alleviate it a bit.

The nail buffer worked most excellently if you can’t find polishing pads. This is the one I use. I always buy them at the fair, but if you can’t find them, you can get them off of as well.

It’s called "Flash Shiner by Design Nail

The nail buffer is genius!

Also, TAP plastics has many supplies for polishing plastic (or horn or ivory). The whole range of sandpapers up to 2500 and various polishing options. Helpful salespeople, too.