I just purchased my first shamisen and it arrived just a few days ago. It came with a standard plastic bachi and I was wondering if the acryllic/faux bachi are that much better. Should I get started on the right foot by getting a better bachi? Or should I learn on a plastic one? Thank you
It’s a completely different experience using a non plastic bachi. Wood is really nice, tone is warm and soft. Faux bekkou is super snappy which I really enjoy. As for real Bekkou…might have to sell a kidney to afford one of those, haha.
So in a nutshell, yes, invest in a better bachi, it is worth every penny.
In your case, I would highly recommend the Faux Bekkou Bachi! It’s flexible and has a great Tone, almost like real Bekkou. It’s best suited for beginners to intermediates. I also started with it and played it for years, and I still have it and play it from Time to Time.
Acrylic is also fine, a little better that plastic but still very stiff. But it might be worth it for you to get a Custom-Made Acrylic Bachi by Reigen Fujii, which is specially fitted to your hand. Here’s the link: http://reigen-shamisen.com/products/バチ/ (let me know if you need more Info and help with the Japanese Texts )
Wooden Bachis have a very nice and Warm Tone, but they chip easily when played hard in Tsugaru Style.
I would highly discourage from buying a Real Bekkou Bachi right away. They are very expensive because Turtle Shell is a rare good (and very often not sourced in ethic ways…). They are very heavy and mostly come in Standard Sizes, which I find very uncomfortable. But if you find a second Hand one, which is rather cheap (below 300$), then maybe go for it.
I bought my real Bekkou Bachi in Japan, from a dealer who had a huge selection of different Sizes, Shapes and Weights. So I tried around and found the perfect one for me and spent like 800$, but I know it will be with me for a very loooooooooooooong time.
I initially never wanted to buy a new, real Bekkou Bachi. But it was and still is really the perfect match for me. But I wish Faux Bekkou would be so good it could completely replace real Bekkou… I mean look at these cute Turtles O.O