Son of a Bachi Gomu

Here are some ideas on making and installing your Bachi Gomu. This is a follow-on to Kyle’s instructions in Shamisen of Japan p. 94, aka THE BOOK. Presented are also a taped handle and slip-ons.

Son Of Bachi Gomu I

(The original inner tube gomu from THE BOOK.)

Note: If you already made your aromatic bachi gomu per THE BOOK, skip step 1)).

1) Get an old bicycle inner tube, cut off about 4 " (10 cm), and using a rotary punch, make holes about 3/8 " to 1/2" (0.9 to 1.3 cm) apart.


Space the holes all over the rubber tube. The more holes, the easier it will be to pull the tube over the square end of the handle. Easy is good.


2) Safety tip: Tape the protective wood or plastic sleeve onto the business end of the bachi. Painters masking tape will hold nicely, is easy to get off, and will help prevent finger lacerations. Pain is bad.


  1. Just before sliding the perforated sleeve over the end of the bachi, get some hand creme and slather it inside the sleeve for about 90% of the length of the sleeve.


Leave the part nearest the handle free of creme so that your fingers can grip the rubber.

Make sure this is water-based crème, NOT vaseline or petroleum jelly – vaseline will remain greasy forever, whereas the water-based stuff will evaporate after a little while.

Also, do not get creme on the bachi handle itself, as a slippery handle is hard to handle. … er …

4) Take a deep breath, Padawan learner. While struggling to slip the bachi gomu over the handle, it may help to give it an assist by slipping a round stick (chopstick works great, or a flat screwdriver) inside the gomu and levering the gomu over the back edge of the handle.


This may only be necessary for pulling the very first part of the sleeve.

After the first part is on the handle, using the thumbnails helps yank the sleeve up.


5) Don’t worry about wrinkles on the gomu. Once it’s completely on, just smooth with the thumbs toward the business end and the wrinkles will disappear.


6) Wipe any excess creme off, take off the masking tape, and play away!!


Son of Bachi Gomu II

These slip-on finger protectors are very easy to pull on or off the bachi, and are soft and very comfortable. I got them from Amazon as “uxcell Blue 10PCS Sports Elastic Finger Sleeve Protector” for $7 plus shipping for a package of 10.


The extra protectors are also good if you failed to follow my advice about the masking tape and cut your fingers – these really do give good padding. Extras go next to the band-aid box in the medicine cabinet.

Son of Bachi Gomu III

This tape is called Scary Sticky Goat Tape. Some of my weightlifting friends use it at the gym, around their palms and knuckles. It’s adhesive and peels off easily, and doesn’t seem to leave a gum residue when peeled off, which is nice.


Very good grip. Wind more tape for more padding. Got it on Amazon for $9 plus shipping. It’s maybe a 50 foot roll, enough for 50-75 bachis. Comes in different colors.

Son of Bachi Gomu IV

This is really easy. Get some athletic tape, wind it around the handle, and presto: a nice grip and the tape can just be pulled off. No muss, no fuss.


In addition, the tape is very stretchy, and easily conforms to the bachi handle. Wind more tape for more padding. About $5 a 15 ft roll at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Aha! Option IV should be easy for me. I don’t think anyone would notice if I surreptitiously slip a roll of coban (the technical term for this type of medical tape) from work into my pocket, particularly if it’s close to the end of the roll. Excellent idea! Thanks, Dave! (I work for a large group of orthopedic surgeons; remember to do your stretches, kids!)