Shamisen from Goodwill


#1

Scored this baby for $200 from Goodwill! I’ve been wanting to upgrade for the longest time, and while it’s not a Tsugaru, it still seems like a really good instrument for the price.

I’m hoping you guys can help me identify some things and tell me more about it. But first, pics!

I used the resources here on Bachido to identify things. My first Shamisen, a cheap nagauta I got from ebay over a year ago, is definitely karin wood. This one has a beautiful flamed grain pattern like a fiddle, and it’s also much heavier than the karin wood sao on my other shamisen. From what I have read, this is kouki, right?

This sao is also a little wider than my other shamisen, but it’s definitely a nagauta. Then, why the azuma sawari? I didn’t think nagauta shamisen ever incorporated this device.

One last thing. the bachi is huge, and freakin’ heavy!

Juita bachi?? It’s almost impossible to hold (I have small hands).

So, that’s it for my latest thrifty find! I’ve scored a few cool instruments at second hand shops, but this is by far my favorite!

[edit]
P.S.
What are the dots on the kawa for?


#2

Are you kidding me??? At a Goodwill??

If my understanding is correct, that shamisen is easily worth $2000. It is made from very prized kouki wood with a ‘toguchi’ (tiger stripe) pattern. The skin is probably cat, as those dots are the nipples.

Kyle, you should be careful, people are going to cut off your feet and wear them as lucky charms! :wink:


#3

Dang dude! You’d better start buying lottery tickets like crazy!


#4

Seriously? That much?? Wow! I would have maybe thought closer to $1000 for a Nagauta since they seem to be less popular than Tsugaru.

There is a label on it that reads Fujimoto, but I’m not able to find any information on the brand online, even when searching in Japanese. I’ll take a pic of it and post it to see if anyone can help identify the maker. I guess I should also take the sao off and peek inside the dou, too.

Maybe I should sell it and get a decent Tsugaru and a Kokyu.


#5

D’oh! (_8^(|)

I KNEW it was too good to be true!

This thing is all synthetic! LOL!

Pics soon.


#6

The spike of the sao. See the seam? Yep, that’s straight outta the mold.

The screw that’s holding it together. You may not be able to see it in the photo, but it has the tiger stripe painted across it.

Inside of the dou. Unpainted fiberglass…

Complete with a stamp.

The label on the back of the peghead.

Well, at least there are a few upsides.

  1. It actually plays and sounds much better than my other shamisen.

  2. The skin is probably real. The inside of the dou smells of leather. Weather it’s cat or dog or… rat, who knows.

  3. Road shami! I can take it on the road and not have to worry if it gets damaged. I won’t even feel bad about drilling a hole in it for an input jack and a pickup. :wink:

So much for selling it and getting a Kokyu. Bummer, that!


#7

Whoa, I’ve never seen anything like this before. As long as it sounds good, great find, man! Even if it is synthetic, it’s still in much better shape than most second hand instrument. I wanna hear it!


#8

I’ll try to make a video at some point.

I’m curious about this Fujimoto manufacturer. I have found literally nothing on them. No website, no other instances of one of these being sold, etc.

My guess is that it’s a school instrument or something.


#9

:-O! Wow, that completely fooled me! Jamie, doesn’t it look exactly like exquisite toguchi kouki? Still, looking at the first pictures, I still can’t believe it’s plastic!

Yeah, as Jamie said, if it sounds good, that’s all that matters! :slight_smile: I request a video too, please!

I’m going to send the pictures to my friend in Japan. Maybe he’s heard of it.


#10

Man, I know you said you already tried looking for information on them, but I figured I’d give it a shot too, and yeah, nothing. I tried every combination of “shamisen,” “synthetic,” “man-made,” “Fujimoto,” “sao” and anything else I could think of in English and Japanese, and nothing but a few websites on some school of minyou called the Fujimoto-kai. Unless these are shamisen specifically made for that group (which nothing I found gave any evidence of anyway), then it seems the mystery continues.


#11

Okay, I found one thing about a net auction in Japan for another one of these “三味線 FUJIMOTO 藤本・奏 206,” but it doesn’t actually give any useful information. So still nothing.


#12

There is only one explanation. https://imgflip.com/readImage?iid=101470


#13

Oh man, of course! How could I not see it until now?


#14

Got the dealio from my friend. He said, "Fujimoto is the biggest Minyo association in Japan. They have made own brand and sale for their students.( force to sale, actually) but lately, they are crumbling their business style and many students are gone. "
So, I guess it’s their shamisen? Assuming it’s the same one, I think there is a Fujimoto branch in San Francisco.

Of course, Jamie could check them out, but he decided to move to LA instead. :frowning: :frowning:


#15

I still give my vote on aliens!


#16

So…what you’re saying is this thing originally came from a…Faux-Dou Shop?

Ba-dum-crash!

I’ll be here all week. :slight_smile:

So, now we know. Fiberglass Shamisen exist.

Because. Aliens.

They did a really good job at making the wood look legit. When I saw it, I thought it was just really lacquered up. Would have been nice if it was real, but hey, how often do you find a shamisen at Goodwill?

So my next project is figuring out how to amplify it.


#17

Speaking of fiberglass… That’s what’s used in fiber network. I know this might blow your mind, but what you’re holding might actually be a relay node for alien communication! :open_mouth:


#18

This definitely fooled me. It looks like those high end shamisen my teacher has.

Using fiberglass is definitely a smart move. Strong and mold-able.


#19

When did Jamie move to L.A.??


#20

About a month ago! When did you come back to this thread to notice that I moved…?