When a shamisen has been frequently played, the neck will naturally wear away on the spots pressed the most – Usually, positions 3, 4, 6, 9, 10. When this happens, it can strongly affect the string’s tone when we press on these worn spots, creating an inferior buzzing (not the good kind) or preventing a resonating tone. When this happens, the topside of the neck needs to be re-leveled with a process called ‘kanberi’. It’s not difficult to do, and most luthiers should be able to re-level the neck for you.

So when you hold the shamisen, simply run your fingers along the topside of the neck. If the neck is worn, you will be able to feel sudden dips or bumps around those main spots!