Bachi (Plectrum)

Commonly mistaken for a putty knife, the bachi is the plectrum for the shamisen. Choosing the right bachi for you is just as important as the shamisen, as it greatly affects your playing experience. What’s the most important factor in choosing a bachi? Flexibility.

Flexibility changes your playing experience the most. When you hold the bachi, you strike the strings with the tip. When there is flexibility, the tip will bend, which makes striking the string feel smoother. If it is really hard, it will feel like the tip is getting caught in the strings. A good rule of thumb is that more flexibility is better. However, higher flexibility means that it may break more easily. Knowing that, please consider your budget as well as your desired experience.
About Bekkou Bachi
Bekkou bachi are bachi made from tortoise shell, commonly used in Japan. Bekkou is favored for it’s flexibility and tradition. However, production of these bachi is decreasing, due to limited availability (endangerment) of materials. They are still sold in Japan, but thanks to developments in synthetics, newer synthetic bachi (like Pantera or Neoko) are almost identical to real shell. Happy tortoises!

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