The ShamiBuddy (made in Santa Cruz)

@Kyle_Abbott I’m getting ready to purchase the ShamiBuddy, but I’m wondering what the differences are between the black and white versions. Is it purely aesthetic? I’m just curious about the reason for the price difference. I like the look of the black one, but if the white is higher quality, I might go that way.

Hi Jared! Excellent choice! :slight_smile: And excellent question about the colors. Yes, it’s purely aesthetic. The price is higher because the costs of producing the white Hibiki is higher than black. Thus, the final price reflects that. But sound and experience will be about the same.

I’ve had my ShamiBuddy for almost a month—loving it :heart_eyes:—and now seems like a good time to ask some questions:

:cherry_blossom: Should the koma be removed after every session? (I’ve gotten into the habit of leaving it in since this allows me to immediately start playing whenever the mood strikes)

:cherry_blossom: What kind of strings are on it? (My guess is that it uses the Ito Set (Nagauta) 【長唄 糸セット】 found in the Bachido store but I don’t want to assume. Besides, that doesn’t say what type of strings they are: Nylon? Tetron? Silk? Something else?)

:cherry_blossom: What maintenance is required for the ShamiBuddy? (I use a Nomad Tool to keep the dust off, but should I clean the sao with oil? Water? Never let liquid touch it?)

:cherry_blossom: Will replacement parts eventually be available in the Bachido store in case they’re broken or lost? (ex: itomaki, koma)


Hi Marilyn!

So happy you are loving your ShamiBuddy! :smiley:

  1. Good question! Well, it’s usually best to remove it from the strings, as removing tension from the strings increases the life of them. However, rather than completely removing the koma from the ShamiBuddy, you can just slide it to the side so that the thickest string pinches the edge of the koma, holding it in place. (Let me know if that makes sense, I can send a picture if not)

  2. It shouldn’t require any maintenance, although dusting with a damp cloth is totally fine.

  3. Good point! Yes, I think we’ll have replacement parts in the future for itomaki, but it should be known that the strings included is the ‘Ito Set (Nagauta)’ in the Bachido Store, and any koma in the store will work for the ShamiBuddy (and in my opinion, it makes the ShamiBuddy sound better too)


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I should be placing an order for a ShamiBuddy within the next week or so. I am currently looking at case options and was interested in getting something akin to a Pelican Storm Case and was wondering if the dimensions were available for this shamisen; overall height, length, width, and depth. To help see if I can find an appropriate sized for it. Thank you for your time and very excited to jump into a new hobby.


The case I’m using has the following measurements:

  • Interior Height: 41.5"
  • Interior Width: 14"
  • Interior Depth: 4.5"

Width and depth are fine for the ShamiBuddy but I could wish for about a ½"-1" more height if I wanted the instrument to be perfectly vertical. My solution is to place the ShamiBuddy inside at a very slight angle (my case has adjustable padded inserts to support doing this.)


Thank you for that information, it’ll help me start sizing things up.

How loose should the strings be to remove the koma? If I make them really loose (easy to lift and slide the koma right out from under) then I spend quite a bit of time the next session getting them in-tune and then getting them to stay in-tune. :persevere: If I try to keep some tension (about two whole-steps down from C-G-C), then the koma scrapes the skin and/or the strings as I try to remove it. :fearful:

Good question! Tuning to around B-F-B will be loose enough with the koma out. Then, to prevent the koma from scraping the skin, you can lift the strings up with one hand (it’s easy with low string tension, unlike guitar :stuck_out_tongue: ) and slide out the koma with the other. :slight_smile:

@Kyle_Abbott ,

I am a long time enthusiast of Japanese culture and have always wanted to try shamisen, but of course the price has always prevented this interaction. I am very excited about your affordable and durable shamibuddy and I am planning on buying one and finally starting my journey soon!

My question is: Since the shamibuddy is made and shipped from Santa Cruz (I live in the bay area) could I possibly arrange to pick it up in person instead of paying for shipping / worrying about trusting precious cargo like this to the mail system?

Thank you so much for creating an adventure-worthy shamisen! =)

Hi Rhiannon!

Yay! You’re exactly the reason I made the ShamiBuddy! :smiley:

It would be totally possible to pick up the shamisen. What part of the Bay Area do you live? I lead shamisen group classes in SJ Japantown (it’s so much fun to learn in a group!), and can bring it there if you wish!

That’s so awesome! I’ve had all kinds of worries about seeking out this instrument and you’re totally alleviating most of them! I’m in Concord currently but will be moving to Oakland soon. That’s really great that you teach classes too =D I’d love to come out to a class in SJ not only to pick up my instrument, but to be thrown head-first into learning it properly!

I’ll send you a poke when I’m all put together and ready to submit my order. ^.^ Thank you for being so cool!

Oh excellent! That will be great to have you closer and joining our merry group of shimshammers! :smiley:
Sounds good! Thanks for being part of the coolness!


By the by, is it possible to attach doukake (nagauta size) to the shamibuddy too?

It wasn’t intended to fit, but recently a local student of mine added a doukake to hers and it fit pretty well! :slight_smile:
Later on, I hope to make a doukake specially designed for the ShamiBuddy so it’ll snap in with a perfect fit!

Awesome, looking forward to it as well!

It fits. :slightly_smiling_face:


Oh wow!! That was easy!! :smiley: Goodness, I feel so lazy for not even trying with my doukake! :frowning:

Well then, the doukake will definitely be part of the next batch!

Hey there Kyle!

Finally got my situation together and since the bay is under lockdown (unfortunately) I just went ahead and had the Best Buddy kit mailed to me. I would’ve preferred to have come get it myself, but I wanna do the best I can during these chaotic times to not exacerbate things. I figured that since I’m spending more time at home these days and spring break is upon us, it would be the perfect time to get the ball rolling on this and maybe start making some noise before life gets busy again. =)

Plus, now especially is the time to help small businesses if you can, right?

Can’t wait to get my Shamibuddy! I also purchased the shinobi komi so my downstairs neighbors don’t have a cow at me lol

Thank you!

Hi Rhiannon!

Sweeet! Indeed, learning a new instrument is a great way to productively spend time at home! :slight_smile: (That’s why Su and I started learning trumpet! There’s something for the neighbors) Thank you so much! Yes, with all our workshops/gigs cancelled, I really appreciate your help. I’ll be able to send it later this week, I do believe!

Bachi on!

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