Which one to buy?

Hello, I have been really wanting to get into playing Tsugaru shamisen but I am not really sure which one to buy and also is the $100 shabo on rakuya really worth it?

Hi there, welcome.

Tsugaru Shamisen (or tsugarubiki) can be played on just about anything with three strings and a skinned resonator. The sound will differ depending on what you use, but the techniques will not.

Given the expense of a full sized instrument, many stores have begun offering these shamisen-adjacent instruments.

Shamisen Rakuya offers a few different “shabo” products. a cheap, cardboard one; a more durable wooden one; and higher quality wooden one, and (more recently) an electric version.

The only one that clocks in around 100 dollars is the cardboard one - which I would not recommend.

The wooden variants (https://shami1000rakuya.com/item/7293/ and https://shami1000rakuya.com/item/shamisenbox/1974/) are both more expensive, but much closer to the real deal. They’re quite pleasant to play on.

Alternatively, Bachido offers the Shamibuddy - which will soon be back in stock.


I haven’t played on a shamibuddy, but many have had excellent experiences with them.

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