Stains on skin - any suggestions?


#1

Hello all and thanks for your input!

My Shamisen has an artificial fabric skin on it along the likes of Ripple or Hibiki (not entirely sure what it is exactly as it is second hand). Over time and with prolonged contact (due to bad form my fingers tend to come into direct contact with the skin) some unsightly brown patches are starting to develop on it. I have only taken a damp cloth to it (without much success) for fear of damaging the fabric.

Does anyone have any suggestions of how to get it back to “whiteness” as much as possible?

Many thanks!


#2

Without knowing the exact material it’s hard to say. A damp cloth (and care to avoid the edges) has always been my answer, but I use natural skins.

As an aside, touching the skin with your fingers isn’t necessarily bad form. It’s a way of creating a mute, which may or may not be desirable.


#3

Thanks! That’s interesting about technique as well - the worse stain is at the base of where the koma sits, as when I mute the koma with my pinky I tend to rest against the skin a little - I was under the impression that in a perfect world your finger would be contact with the foot of the bridge only?


#4

Placing your little finger on the bridge is one type of mute, placing your finger directly on the skin is another. I’ve known players who keep their little finger nearly glued to the skin as a way of creating a quieter, gentle sound for slower songs.