Unclear slides?


Hi, I have noticed that when I slide it’s some times hard to hear(to high resonance?), any tips?


I’d have to see a video to figure out exactly why it might be hard to hear, so I’ll just give some general tips for good tone on sliding.

A good way to get clear resonance is to make sure you’re firmly pressing down the string, and when you strike in ushirobachi you lift up the bachi after striking (rather than keeping it against the string before the next note) and keep firmly pressing the string as you slide. So, to slide from position 3 to 4 on the ichi no ito, hold the string down firmly, strike, and as you lift the bachi away from the string with your right hand, slide up to 4 with your left. Does that make sense?

There’s naturally less resonance in maebachi but it generally sliding in maebachi would be on something like the 16-19 slide + sukui to lead up to the position 16 trill in something like Jongara Bushi, so it’s not supposed to be as loud and resonant as an ichi no ito phrase in ushirobachi anyway.
Make sure you’re using your fingernail too on the san no ito.

Hope this helps!


Thanks Ian, I will practice your tips:D


You’re welcome! :smiley:
Glad I could help :slight_smile:


It could possibly have something to do with your specific instrument as well. I’ve noticed, while playing on many different Shamisens, that on certains ones I could slide all over the neck on any string and the notes wouldn’t fade at all. But on other Shamisens the same sliding technique would just result in a dead tone.
So it might have something to do with that.



Like Kevin said, different shamisen have different levels of reverberation or 余韻 (yoin).

Per my conversations with Tanaka-san at the Sansuien shamisen store in Nagoya, shamisen with a looser skin will tend to have a stronger resonance than shamisen with a tighter, tournament style skinning.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be careful with your technique, but if your skin has a lot of give (vs. an almost stoney tightness), I’d point to that as the primary cause.


I see, well thanks for the info guys:D