Second Hand Shamisen Help!?


Sorry if this is the wrong category!

I want to start learning Shamisen and I’m looking at buying second hand (reducing carbon footprint/waste and all that) and unsure what a good deal is or not.

I love vintage/retro things so I was wondering if this Shamisen would worth getting and repairing

or if I should just stick to something with less work involved like this Shamisen

Thank you guys so much!

Hmm…Both seem like equally good options! I think it honestly just comes down to how much effort you want to put in. It seems like both options do not come with a set of strings, so you’ll need to invest in those. Both options seem to have tears in the skin as well, so that’ll need to be factored into cost as well.

However, there’s one thing that you need to keep in mind: the first link you posted is to a nagauta shamisen. The second one is a tsugaru! It all depends on what you want.

I would weigh out the pros and cons of each listing. The first one doesn’t seem to have a case, while the second does. They both seem to come with a doukake, and they both look like quality instruments.

My final thoughts? Both look amazing. It depends on the size of the dou that you want. You want a nagauta? Go with the first. Want a tsugaru? The second one, then. In my opinion, my choice would be the second link. I’m a bit biased though. I have two nagautas, but not a tsugaru. It also seems like a better value. And from what I can derive from the pictures, $250 USD is a paltry amount for what is actually in the package. It seems like a real deal!

Anyway, have fun choosing. No matter which you pick, it’ll be an amazing choice.


As @Matsubusa said, those are two different instruments, and are on aggressively far ends of the “needs tlc” spectrum.

It’s extremely difficult to compare them adequately - I would personally stay far away from the first, but I am not a luthier. If I had the tools, it might be a fun project.

The second I might watch, but would likely not buy due to the superficial damage. If the price remained low, it might be a good buy but…that’s the kicker.

While your first link will likely remain cheap, that second instrument’s price is going to skyrocket as the deadline draws near. They always do. The chipped tenjin, busted skin, and neck-wear will limit how high it jumps… but it’s still going to jump.

1 Like

Thanks for your reply! As much as I love a good auction I have no idea how they go for shamisen. I’ll definitely start looking for more second hand options than those two and hopefully find something just right!

Thank you for your reply! I’ve always been bad at choosing things for myself, so it’s always nice to hear other peoples opinions!

1 Like

I’ve seen that they have broken skin. Just be patient and wait for a better auction and you’ll surely find a good item ready to play.
Through Buyee I’ve got my 2 shamisen, a jiuta and a nagauta payed each about 80 euros and perfectly playing. You should just follow the auctions and wait.
If you buy a broken skin shamisen you must take into account other 200 euros to reskin it (shipping costs to Japan apart).


The issue would be if he’s aiming for a Futozao… Price always get rocket high :pensive:

1 Like