What accessories to get with a Raven shamisen?

Hi all, I’m looking to buy a Raven shamisen relatively soon, and since this will be my first time purchasing my own shamisen, I’m not entirely sure what I should be looking for with each one. I’m mostly looking for functionality here, too, though if anyone has any recommendations for what would look good with the Raven (other than just black, which is what all the official pictures show) I’ll take those, too.

Bachi: I’m pretty sure I should just go with the faux-bekkou bachi, but if the acrylic ones become available again soon, how do those compare? They were at a slightly lower price point, which is nice, but what about their quality for playing?

Koma: There are a lot of options here. I assume that bamboo is just the standard one? Should I have multiple?

Ito: These look mostly interchangeable to me, so I really have no idea what I should go with here. Any recommendations?

Doukake: What’s the functional difference between leather and lacquered ones?

Fukuro: What do I need? I have no real sense of the advantages to the different options right now, I just know I used a dou bag when I lived in Japan. I live in quite a dry climate, now, if that matters.

Cases: I was planning to get the pack case, but I’m curious why it’s cheaper than even the soft case and if it’s worth getting a mitsuori case. Being more compact would be nice, but disassembling (and I assume destringing) the shamisen every time I go anywhere seems awfully inconvenient. And do I need any of the other dedicated storage pieces, like the bachi case, or can those just be stored safely in the pack case?

Other accessories: What of these should I get? Obviously I need a neo and a yubikake, and I’ll probably get a fujaku, but other than that? (I already have plenty of microfiber cloths for instruments.)

Thank you for any information or advice you may have!

Wow! Congrats on the purchase. I think you’re right on the money on what you’re thinking of purchasing.

Bachi: I would go with the Faux-Bekkou if you can afford to do so. The acrylic, as beautiful as they are, are a very hard bachi. You’d want a bachi that’s right in the middle of flimsy and rigid.

Koma: One of the bamboo ones will suffice. I think you just have to decide on what type of sound you’d want. A warm tone, a clear tone, a silent option, there’s so many to choose from.

Ito: The strings are an important choice! You’ll want to choose one of the sets with all three strings. The standard yellow (turmeric) ito are always the best bet. The best sound quality. There are two new options, the red colored and black colored ito. They’re beautiful, but have a lesser sound quality. That’s for you to decide.

Doukake: If you’d like a doukake, go ahead and get one. I personally don’t use one on my ShamiBuddy, but on my jiuta, it came with one. The difference between the leather and the lacquer is minimal. It’s really if you want a cheaper or expensive option. They both serve the same purpose: To protect the shamisen when you are playing long term. I myself have a cardboard doukake with silk over top of it. It works just as well as an expensive one!

Fukuro: I myself do not use a fukuro on my ShamiBuddy, but I use one for my Jiuta shamisen. It has natural skin. So it’s a good idea to get one if you’re not going for one of the hibiki options. If you live in a humid environment (which you mentioned you did not) it would be wise to get one. Or if you want an extra layer of protection if you have a mitsuori. For now, I’d save that for the bottom of the “spending list,” if you will.

Cases: The ShamiBuddy is not a mitsuori shamisen. So what I did was I bought a cheap guitar stand, and had it rest on there. I also bought one for my Jiuta, which IS a mitsuori. I keep that one on the guitar stand too. I have a mitsuori case, and I only use it when I’m actually going to move my shamisen. Otherwise, it stays put together, with the strings slack and no koma. As for the bachi case, that’s a luxury. If you want one, go ahead. I personally put mine in a little ziploc bag.

Other accessories: I would definitely get a fujaku, a neo (you need one), and a yubikake. If you were to get any extras, I would recommend a dou gomu shiru. It is applied to the bottom right corner of the dou to keep your shamisen from sliding down on your leg when you’re playing. I’d also recommend, if you are getting a non-hibiki skin option, to get a bachigawa. It protects the skin right under the strings so that it has a little extra layer of strength. Just in case you it the bachi hard, you don’t wanna break the skin!

Ah, well, I think that’s everything I’d recommend. I wish I could buy the Raven. It’s such a beautiful instrument. I wish you well on your choices. If you have questions, feel free to ask!


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