Tenjin measurements?


Hello everyone!

It´s been more than a year since I first logged in to the Bachido forum! Since then, I gathered some materials and finally decided to build a shamisen. Yay! I follow Kyle´s book and everything was clear until I started to make the tenjin…

The tenjin top template aligns well with the bottom part of the side template but not with the upper part (green arrow) :frowning: Before I continue, please, could anyone advise me where I am making my mistake?

The red lines are where the side template begins and ends.

Or maybe if someone could tell me, what is the length of the itokura on their tsugaru, that would a great help too! I could make some adjustments from there. If it is 3in though, I am lost…

Thanks for any advice!


Hi Stepanie
It could be that the shape of the Tenjin was intended to be transferred on the flat. With it on the curve, the length then shortens somewhat which then means it won’t reach the end. This would also explain why it fits fine at the bottom part which is less curved.

What you could do is shift the pattern towards the red line, trace the general shape of the tenjin, then shift it back to get the angled lines that move towards the ‘pegbox’.

You can rough out the in-between parts to something that appeals to you. I think it is ok if it is not exactly the same and believe that you would not likely be arrested for such an activity.

That’s what I might do… ahem… did.


Hello Catherine,

yes, the „short“ tenjin would make sense on the flat but as I followed the book by first making the curve and then transferring the pattern, it threw me off :)))

I ended up tracing it as you said, by shifting the pattern. Honestly, I did it before getting your reply after viewing your work and getting bold to… just do it. So opening the mail today and seeing your name was a total bonus! Thank you for making my day!


Sounds like your instincts are spot on!
Enjoy! Something so wonderful about making an instrument that you will play.
Is that the case with you? Is this shamisen for yourself?


Yes, it is! Even though, it will take some time to complete and I don´t know when I will learn to play it… So for now, I only enjoy the woodworking part :slight_smile: One day, I hope to post some pictures.