The ShamiBuddy (made in Santa Cruz)


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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Wahoo! So awesome! Thank goodness!

This question is for @Kyle_Abbott but anyone can answer if you know what I’m doing wrong:

I seem to be having a problem (keeping the itomaki from slipping I think) when I play. Sometimes the note drops for each string by half a note every 5-10 minutes it seems. I stretched them as Kyle outlined in his intro video (two or three times) so I’m not sure if they’re still stretching out every time I tune it or if the itomaki are just not wedged in enough. Any advice would be great! Ty!

My experience is that it took over a week for my strings to settle and hold their tune for extended periods. Give it some more time and keep a tuner handy. :wink:

Good question! If you gently twist the itomaki inwards as you tighten, it should stay pretty well locked in there. :slight_smile: As Marilyn said, it can take time for the strings to settle.