The skin is the most important part as it influences about 80% of the sound quality. There are two kinds of skin used on tsugaru shamisen.

Natural skin

Natural skin for tsugaru shamisen used to be thick dog skin, but nowadays, it is being replaced with goat skin. Natural skin produces a very warm and responsive sound. It’s also fun to talk about on a first date! Anywho, a professionally stretched skin really makes the shamisen sound alive and is well worth the cost if you can afford it.

The downside? Being a natural material, it affected by climate, moisture and stress. If you live in a climate that changes considerably, the skin may only last a year or two. If your climate is consistent (like it is in California) or you keep your shamisen indoors, the skin may last more than seven years. To get the best sound quality, watch how to properly care for the skin.

FiberSen: Advanced Synthetic Skin

FiberSen is an advanced synthetic material different from older versions of plastic skin used for shamisen (which was created by layers of film). FiberSen can be stretched much farther and so produces a much sharper and brighter sound that lasts for years. Unlike plastic skin (which sounds like plastic), FiberSen skin sounds very similar to natural skin. Jamming in the park and it starts to rain? No worries! Fibersen is waterproof! Watch the official video!.