Synthetic shamisen


Hello to your all!!
I am very new here and just getting on my shamisen journey! :slight_smile:
Well, i wanted to ask you what you think of this fiberglass shamisen? What kind of style is this one? A naguata? I haven’t purchased it yet, but its a real good deal so I think I’m gonna go for it though! :wink:
Any help would be great! Thanks so much in advance!


Hi there, welcome.

As I’ve said on other identification posts it’s very difficult to accurately judge a shamisen by looks alone - measurements are key to getting the proper read!

But here’s what I see:

A yamasawari - the traditional formation on the tenjin used to create the sawari drone. This is typical of nagauta, older shamisen, and student oriented modern shamisen.

A hatomune - a gentle curve at the bottom of the neck into the body. This is usually found on nagauta, but makes appearances elsewhere too.

A half moon shaped bachi gawa. Most usually found on nagauta and chuuzao.

The zagane look like they’re sporting a chrysanthemum design, or at least some sort of embellishment. This isn’t indicative of anything in particular.

It could be a nagauta or chuuzao shamisen. It likely isn’t a futozao of any sort.

Beyond that, I can’t say much.

What do you mean by fiberglass? Is it not made from wood?


Thank you so much for your help!!!
Yes, it is a all-synthetic shamisen, which suprisengly looks like real wood! I guess the wood pattern was kinda painted on it.
I was on a search for an affordable one and stumbled upon this one, which I’m going to buy directly from Japan.
I just want to make a new doukake, which is going to be a bit more feminine :wink:


I see. Hmm… Please take care when purchasing something remotely!

Shamisen made from wholly synthetic materials tend to not sound so great, and are often intended purely as display objects. In particular, take care if its overall size is lower than 90cm, which would make it smaller than a tanzao.

That’s not to say that purely synthetic instruments aren’t a thing. There’s a studio in Osaka that has made a crystalline acrylic instrument. And I believe Suzuki uses plastic with some of their electric models - but don’t quote me on that!

There’s a few videos of it floating around of these if you poke around. I’d recommend taking the time to compare the difference between the plastic and wood instruments before taking the plunge.