What is this piece of cloth?


I’m new on this forum and also on the shamisen world, I’ve just bought a second hand shamisen and it came with lots of goodies. I found the use of everything instead of this think. I asume it’s something for the bachi but I don’t know for what it’s used, can someone give me a clue?

Thanks a lot!

It’s a kind of doukake gomu - an anti-slip sleeve placed on your doukake to help keep the instrument from slipping.

Here is a picture to give you a sense of how usually sits.

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OMG thank you! I didn’t knew I need it until now. I have a nagauta shamisen with a chuzao sao and I’m short so I’m having problems to keep my shamisen in place and my arm over the doukake (also I don’t had much information about it yet).

Anyways, my doukake is black with flowers and this thing is green, what a horrible combination of colors, I will no longer be that cool with my shamisen :sob:

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Here is a link to my ongoing project to collect data on shamisen.

Take a gander at the “What kind of shamisen do I have tab” and measure your instrument carefully to better understand what you have.


Sorry for the delay @Brown, It seems I have a Chuuzao as it measures exactly 2.6 cm and the do is a Go rin dai. Also I have Hatomune and the general size is Seisun. I don’t know if I have a Hauta or a Kouta Shamisen. What does it means and what does it implies?


No worries @Saraku ! Fundamentally speaking the subtype of your shamisen matters very, very little - unless you have a particularly strict teacher.

Generally speaking (and to the best of my current knowledge), Kouta and Hauta shamisen are essentially the same! The biggest indicator for the intended genre are the accessories found with the instrument when purchased on the secondary market.

The presence of a particularly wide, tall koma and no bachi generally suggests a kouta instrument.
The presence of a more standard koma and a nagauta style bachi (whatever the size) generally suggests hauta or perhaps utazawa.

Still, the intentions of an instrument matter little when compared the intentions of the player. So worry more about what you want to do with it than what its previous owner though of it :p.


Fundamentally speaking, your shamisen is on the smaller end of the spectrum.

A go-rin-dai body is just ever so slightly bigger than a nagauta, and so will tend to be lighter and brighter than its larger cousins. This is the same size we generally use in min’yo, incidentally!

A chuuzao may be more or less comfortable for you to use compared to a thinner hosozao or wider futozao. It doesn’t impact the sound overmuch.

A hatomune will make playing the highest positions of your instrument very difficult if not impossible - but those positions are only rarely used in regular songs.

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OMG thanks for so much info!

I mostly want to learn Tsugaru shamisen but I would like to learn to play shamisen meanwhile I’m explaining a story, mainly for roleplaying purposes, what style would be so? Like the storyteller from Kubo and the two strings (my main inspiration to be here hehe).

This is a shamisen to learn, as I invested 300$ only on it, then I will move on a new and good shamisen when I have enough practice with it. Anyway I don’t have a teacher for now, I have searched for one and it’s quite difficult as I don’t speak japanese and my english is not the best. I’m from spain, so I discarded a presential teacher.

For now I’m learning from the bachido school videos and Big K videos on youtube, maybe I need a teacher with clear english like him, do you know anyone who could do that online?
Or maybe do you think it’s enough to start with the courses for now?

The original performers of what we now call tsugaru shamisen used whatever they could get. It was not until after World War II that the futozao/tsugaru that we know and use now was created.

Itinerant performers of other kinds of shamisen music were much the same. Examples of these include the Goze - blind women who wandered the country side.

This is an excellent chance to link my favorite example.

Classical Joruri, or Storytelling, generally uses chuuzao to futozao shamisen. Examples of this include Kiyomoto (which will be chuuzao, though generally with a slightly larger body than you have)

and Gidayu (which will be futozao, with a body smaller than a tsugaru)

The courses here on Bachido will get you going in terms of basic technique. If you join the discord, you can ask for feedback on things like posture and technique.

Also, I’m a registered Assistant Teacher of min’yo shamisen; although I am not yet capable of accepting my own students :slight_smile:

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I’ve seen the puppet theater too and I loved it, but didn’t know about the Goze thx for the info! I love the first song the most. Does these songs are min’yo style? I’m still a bit confused although I have searched info on the internet about the styles.

So my shamisen is good to learn these kinds of music?

I’m already on the discord community and I read all the messages but I’m a bit shy as everybody seems to know a lot and I’m a noob :frowning: and I can’t say much more than bother on the conversations haha. Anyway I will try to share a video of my first song (crash course 1) when I feel comfortable with it!

Thanks for all the information you bring me, it’s hard to find so much good quality information on the internet about shamisen (I think if I learn japanese it would be easier haha)

Min’yo is a very broad genre, so that’s difficult to say. It’s literally just “folk music”.

Goze music is sometimes included with min’yo, and many canonized min’yo songs supposedly have goze roots. But whether this is…? :thinking: I’d need to consult my sources once again.

The other examples are drawn from classical Japanese - the theater. But many theatrical productions have more humble roots.

Very typical examples of min’yo are things like Soran Bushi, Kuroda Bushi, Awaodori, Ecchuu Owara Bushi, and Otemoyan. Traditional tsugaru is also min’yo.


I see you’ve posted in the discord!

I’ll take a look when I have some time later.

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