Second string (ni no ito) broke twice

I am going through this situation where the ni no ito broke twice in less than 2 months. First it snapped around the dou area and I thought it was because I was being too aggressive with the plastic bachi that i have (I could see it was a bit frayed around that spot ), and the second time it broke at the itomaki section, so close to the top of the shamisen.

The strange thing is that it didn’t break while playing.

I discovered the string was broken when I took the shamisen out of its case. I wrap the dou in a washibukuro and a fukubukuro that only covers the dou and tie it at the neck where it connects with the dou, then store it in a hardcase.

Do you have any ideas why this might happen and how to prevent this situation in the future?

Hi there.

Are you using silk or tetoron second strings? The former are prone to breaking, and having to replace them monthly would not surprise me over much - depending on your frequency of practice, gauge, style and whatnot.

How tight are you tuning? What do your nails look like?

Silk is also more likely to degrade over time or have issues due to climate, so that could be part of your trouble.

Can you give me a little more data?

Thank you so much for replying!
The strings I use are silk ones (the people at the store where I bought the shamisen sold me these, I had no idea there were other options as well). I will have to check the gauge when I get back home and will come back with a reply.
Regarding tuning, I only used ni agari until now (cgc) and my nails are always clipped short (but I don’t press with my nails on the second string).
One other thing that came to mind is that I wanted to play shamisen in tsugaru style, but at the time I went to the store they didn’t have any futozao for beginners so I ended up buying a hosozao and the seller said I could mimic the tsugaru style sound with an appropriate koma and strings.

I see.

Some thoughts:

Silk & Tetoron
Some people use tetoron on their second or third strings, but not all. Popular load outs include


Tetoron is a kind of polyester and it’s very strong, but lends a blunt, thunky sound.

Niagari is a relative tuning with many possibilities, but CGC is among the most common. As long as your first string is middle-c, you shouldn’t be pushing the strings too hard here.

I asked because I’ve been known to use my nail to create interesting hajiki sounds before :stuck_out_tongue: it was murder on the string.

Tsugaru music doesn’t require a tsugaru shamisen by any means, it’s a method of play. If you’re using a different kind of shamisen, you can get the same vibe as tsugaru (even if the sound is rather different). I wouldn’t say you fully mimic the sound of a modern, full size tsugaru. Physics are just at odds with that - but the essence of the music can be managed with anything.

Anyway, I see, I see. Very honestly, I think a string a month isn’t bad for silk seconds. However:

I want you to look in a few places on your shamisen and koma.

Check for sharp points at the kamigoma (knut), and for any chipping on your bachi, or sharp edges on your koma all of these can accelerate how fast strings pop.

Beyond that, you can lower the tension after playing… But very honestly, you’re not playing at such a high tuning. I don’t think it will help over much.

It is also possible that the strings you have are older, which will mean they’re a bit more brittle than usual. Silk is a natural materials after all!

Thank you for all the info! I will check all the points you’ve mentioned (including the shinobi koma I have) and maybe try out different strings as well. Wish you an above average day :blush: