Hi all, I’m trying to make a comprehensive table of various shamisen ito (strings) and their diamters. I’ve seen some “gauges” listed like 14-3, 15-2, 28-1 but I’m not certain what those mean. I’m guessing the second number after the hyphen is just the string number, but what are the first numbers? Are those American Wire Gauge (AWG)? That would be a little surprising since Japan uses the metric system.
Knowing the actual diameter in mm would let me figure out exactly what weight test of fishing line to buy to make cheap “beater” strings for shamisen. I think this info would be valuable to the community.
If anyone knows whether the gauge listed for shamisen ito is AWG please let me know.
Edit: Alexey was kind enough to provide information. The gauges listed are not AWG, they are mo ( 毛, 毫) a Japanese unit which is a 10,000th of a shaku.
And here is the real conversion to mm and fishing line weights:
14毛, 毫, = 0.4242mm ≈ 20lb test monofilament fishing line
15毛, 毫, = 0.4545mm ≈ 30lb test monofilament fishing line
28毛, 毫, = 0.8485 ≈ 85lb test monofilament fishing line
Also, only the 3rd string is normally “monofilament” so maybe you could use braided fishing lines for string 1 and 2. I will test out both braided and monofilament fishing lines.