Shamibuddy Question (and restock question)

I know this was asked a couple months back but I grew some interest in playing the Shamisen after watching Mashiro no Oto and was hoping to pick this model up, any updates on when sales will start up again for it?

My secondary question was I noticed the Best Buddy package comes with a plastic bachi, is there anyway to upgrade that plastic bachi to a wooden one? I’d like the Best Buddy package but I don’t want the plastic bachi since I hear the wooden one is more fun to play with.

Thank you in advance.

Hope you can see Bachido facebook note by Kyle…seems he has it in mind to so Shamibuddies again…

Ya, I remember reading about that once before, just trying to find out when we can expect it as well as the answer to my secondary question :+1:

I think your best bet might be to contact @Kyle_Abbott - of course, now I’ve @'d him so hopefully he’ll see this and be able to answer the question here (and I am also curious about the Shamibuddy myself). I know there were a few factors delaying production, never mind the actual process of building them, so I could see it still taking some time even though the shop itself is ready to go.

Thanks for @ing Kyle, I’m kinda new to this forum system so I have no idea how it works, just assumed based on the footer of that the owner (I assume Kyle) would be lurking at the posts at least once a day for questions like these. Otherwise I would’ve tried to email him (assuming he receives these types of emails).

Either way I’m excited to get into this and I’m happy I don’t have to spend almost $700 on a brand new Shamisen. I really do hope he allows us to replace the plastic bachi with the wooden bachi though, I don’t mind paying a bit more for it.

Thanks for the tag, @Rewjeo!!
Hi @Dimanor3! Hehe, I really should be a lot more active than I currently am. :stuck_out_tongue: I used to be on very often checking and replying to posts, but recently I’ve been so busy with the non-computer related elements of Bachido (currently making 500 itomaki) that it’s been difficult to get on as much as I want. Fortunately, everyone in the Bachido community shares the same spirit as I do, and with some super knowledgeable people like @Brown around, I feel very at ease with the community keeping order, and am very thankful for the tags when from-the-source confirmation is needed. :slight_smile:

Anywho, excellent question! Long story short, I’m hoping to finally start making more within the next few weeks. Basically, when I made the first batch of 100 ShamiBuddy, I had assumed it would take years to sell them all, but to my surprise all sold out within 5 months. It was not only tedious to make the first batch, but I also had to pause all other projects to do it. Realizing I needed to make them much more efficiently, I fully upgraded my workshop. I’ve been waiting on the drum sander for a few months and it just arrived on Wednesday. I just need to rewire my workshop and then I’ll be able to start a few prototypes with the new building process. When I make sure it’s solid, I’ll invest in enough wood for another 100 units. :slight_smile:

Regarding the bachi, unfortunately the set only includes Plastic Bachi. The reason being I buy bachi in a bulk order of 100 to get a wholesale discount. If I can get a wholesale discount for wooden bachi, I think I’ll do that next time. In the meantime, check out ebay. Every so often there will be used wooden bachi at a good price.

Bachi on!

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Oh yeah, and if all goes well I should have them ready by the end of this year. :slight_smile:

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That sounds great, though to be honest I want to get a Shamisen a bit sooner than the end of the year, is it safe to assume that the Begginer’s Shamisen is better than the ShamiBuddy? I may just go with that one.

  1. Does the Begginer’s Shamisen come with a carrying case?
  2. Does the ShamiBuddy come with a carrying case?
  3. For the Beginner Shamisen Accessory Set, how necessary would you say that is?
  4. Would there be a separate shipping/handling fee for each of the additional accessory/parts I could select from? i.e. Beginner Shamisen Accessory Set, Bachi and/or Koma

@Kyle_Abbott Sorry to ping you again, but I may need a left handed Shamisen, is that a thing?

Nothing wrong with that! Indeed, the Beginner’s Shamisen is a legitimate nagauta shamisen, so you’d get the full shamisen experience with that. :slight_smile:

  1. Unfortunately not. The Beginner’s Shamisen itself doesn’t include any accessories, because we receive it directly from the maker who doesn’t include them.
  2. The ShamiBuddy doesn’t include a case either. I would love to have that, but I haven’t yet found a source that could provide them cheaply enough to affordably include in a set. (I don’t think I have the storage space to fit that many cases either)
  3. It’s pretty necessary. Because the shamisen doesn’t include anything when we receive it, I arranged that set to have all the essential basics to get started (besides bachi and koma, which are separate so the player can have more options).
  4. The shipping fee would be the same for either one or all items. :slight_smile: All together, the shipping fee is $35 (at the current time of writing this. The shipping cost should lower by 2022)

Oh yes, all you need to do is flip the strings around to make a the shamisen playable for left hand. For the full experience, adjusting the kamigoma is also something to be done, and I have instructions for that here - Can Left Handers Play Shamisen?

Before making such a big investment, what do you think is the best way I can go about trying the Shamisen, or is the only way to just outright buy one?

Hey there.

Given the relative rarity of the instrument, your best options might be to reach out to any local players or teachers and see if they can help you out there. How possible that is… depends on where you’re at.

If you’re Japan side, it’s not too hard. In the states or elsewhere… you can try alternative instruments:

Cigarbox guitars

Stick dulcimers (such as the McNally strum stick)

@Brown Thank you for the recommendation, I just went ahead and picked up the Begginer’s Shamisen. Spent a pretty penny but I figure that if I find out I don’t like it I can just try to sell it and try to recoup some of my loses.

This might be better for a new topic, but since there are already others posting here…

I have some similar Qs to the OP, although more applying to the (new?) karin minyo set:
I played shamisen with a minyo group while I was living in Japan, but haven’t had one for almost a year now, and I’m really itching to get my hands on one again. Since I’ve played before, I’m happy to invest more, but atm my budget is ~$1500, which seems pretty limiting. Thus the karin minyo set. But I have a couple Qs/reservations about it:

1: the included accessories are basic, it seems, and I have room in my budget for nicer accessories. I assume, like the shamibuddy, these would just have to be bought in addition to the set. Does that seem worthwhile to you, or would they be at all wasted on a cheaper instrument?

2: Since I don’t know of any minyo groups (or even shamisen players) around here, I’m planning on diving into tsugaru. Would that work alright on this instrument? Especially given…

3: I’m an experienced musician whose current job is all about being discerning with instruments, and I’m pretty sure I played at least a decently nice shamisen in Japan. I want to play shamisen ASAP, but I’m wondering if in the end I might find this one underwhelming, both because it’s a minyo and because of its price point. Do you think I might be better off just saving up for the TSY-1+accessories? Obviously you can’t know for sure, but I have no idea what to expect from a shamisen at any given price, so I’ll take any tips I can get.

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Hi Robert,

Nothing wrong with posting here. :slight_smile: Excellent questions!

  1. Oh yes. If you want, I’d be happy to offer you that minyo shamisen without accessories at a lower price, so you’d have more freedom to get exactly the accessories you want. Although I haven’t played that exact shamisen myself, the quality and craftsmanship seem very good (unlike most cheaper shamisen, this particular one is a bit of a rarity as it’s still made in Japan), and the exact type of wood is the same as the Beginner’s Shamisen (the materials both came from the same source until the producer went out of business in the 80s, I believe), which I have played and marvel how such good wood is possible for such relatively cheap shamisen. :slight_smile: Anywho, if a good skin is on there (and they can use natural if you wish), it will sound and play great.

  2. The minyo shamisen would be just fine for tsugaru style. :slight_smile: Fun fact, the modern larger shamisen marketed as “Tsugaru Shamisen” wasn’t actually a thing until around the 1950s~1970s. Before then, tsugaru players used hosozao (nagauta), chuzao (jiuta/minyo), any shamisen they could get their hands on. The main exception used to be the skin was too delicate for the more aggressive tsugaru style, but the skins are thicker and more durable these days. Furthermore, even though the tsugaru style is more “aggressive” than the others, you actually don’t use much more force to play. The percussive tone is achieved through a whip-like snap made from a relaxed wrist. :slight_smile: Thus, there’d be no worries about breaking a thinner shamisen by playing tsugaru style.

  3. Aah… well, in that case, I would really, really recommend a shamisen like the Raven. Although it’s
    a bit over budget and doesn’t include accessories, it’s truly a masterpiece. Although the price is similar to the TSY-1, the quality is much, much higher. The reason for that is the TSY-1 comes from a regular supplier who adds his profit margin, and then my partner adds on some profit margin, and I add on a little bit (as I need to make a living too :stuck_out_tongue: ). It’s not too different from prices in Japan, but the real value is with our special relationship to Tokyo Wagakki, the makers of the Raven, Akatsuki and such. Because we receive the Raven directly from the maker, and I only add a 30% markup, (which is unheard of in Japan, as retailers there often tack on 200%~300% profit) so you really get so much more quality for your dollar.

By the way, did you write me an email yesterday? I had read it and was planning to reply today. :slight_smile: (Apologies if this is a different person!)


Thank you very much, that’s very helpful! (And no, the email was not me.)

It sounds like I’ll be saving up a bit more, maybe see if I can get people to buy accessories as gifts for me. I was originally looking more at the TSY-1 for its more traditional look (I’m always a little hesitant with breaking from tradition as a foreigner) but the quality of the instrument is by far more important to me. Along those lines, do you happen to have any pictures of it with a white skin and/or other non-black accessories? Just to see if I prefer the all-black aesthetic or not.

And one last question (at least I hope it’s the last :sweat_smile: ). Is there any chance there are still any acrylic bachi lying around somewhere? I’ve had some wrist problems, and so I was interested in them for their lighter weight. If not, I’m sure the faux bekkou will be fine, or maybe you’ll have more in by the time I’ve got the extra money saved up.