Striking san-no-ito while "soloing" on ichi-no-ito

Usually in the opening section of tsugaru jongara bushi or similar pieces, one plays on ichi no ito only for a while, before proceeding to ni then san. I noticed from a few of Kevin Kmetz’s videos that in that opening section he sometimes strikes san no ito (open string) in between the many ichi no ito notes. Actually in some renditions, he alternates between ichi and san no ito in that opening section, playing one note in each for some time. I don’t recall seeing any other player do that, but then again I am not an expert.

I found that really enjoyable. Is that common, or is that more Kevin’s style? Any other references, and is there a name for that technique? Thanks!!

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I know exactly what you’re talking about! Nasically none of the music is set in stone and every player tends to do their own rendition of the same song.