Frustrated trying to figure out what to buy

Hi all. I have been looking for a Shamisen on and off for a few years. Usually I get all into it, contact a few people on Etsy, give up when things don't turn out.

As I see it my options are, a shamisen with a broken skin off of eBay, one of the intact ones I have seen on Etsy, A very inexpensive canjo version (also on etsy), or the beginner one offered on this website.

These are my options because I just don't have the money for a more expensive one. I'm wondering if anyone here to give me some advice? For instance with the one offered on this website, the artificial skin is much more expensive. What is the difference practically speaking?

In the description of the less expensive skin, it makes it sound like it may come already torn and that there's nothing to be done for that. That makes me very nervous about ordering it, but the price makes it very appealing.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I love the sound of the instrument, and I'm fascinated by how difficult I'm finding it to even find one to mess around with.

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I'm no less in awe :) I learn new stuff from you and Christopher and all everyday, it's amazing :D

I hope you enjoy it Ben! We'll always be here if you need us haha
You can't go wrong with a shamisen made by a real craftsman (or craftswoman in this case!) like her, I've heard nothing short of the highest praise for Catherine's work.

Just pitching back in to say, while not quite just listening material (it's some videos , so, watching material I guess :p) but if you dig through Kevin Kmetz's Youtube channel there's a series on him teaching Aiya Bushi and the theory behind it, which I've found to be wonderfully detailed. He has a lot of videos covering a lot of topics so you might want to check there.
Also, Shamimaster Toshi (on youtube he has a few channels, try one named Shamimaster Toshi and one named 獅子道) has a lot of content about individual techniques. He has a lot of tutorials for songs as well.
And of course Kyle has all of the live lessons and dozens of videos covering techniques, songs, and such in great detail on his channel as well.
It can be a big help to just put on a playlist from one of these guys and listen to it, since between them there's literally content for days.
Best of luck! :)


Alright people, my Shamisen has finally made it to NYC from Thailand, send positive thoughts towards it getting safely to NC in the next few days!

Picked out my first few songs to learn, and I made my paint scraper bachi!



Congrats! :D haha your new shami is in my thoughts and prayers :p

Best of luck! Keep us updated on your journey :)


Lol totally feel you Ben … I wore out my F5 refresh key on the EMS tracking page waiting for mine. Don't let that in/out of customs thing drive you insane lol.

I would say, you've gone through a lot of trouble to get an awesome shamisen (seriously, how many of us can say our shamisen was made by an artist woman that lives in the mountains of Thailand?!), go that extra mile for a proper bachi. It truly makes a big difference.

Have fun man so stoked for you!! And please post pics the pics on her website show some very cool and unique crafts(wo)manship.


good for you ben I feel happy for you!! good luck on that long road of shamisen experience!

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