If you dabble in the hard driving tsugaru style, you may have found (or will soon find out) that your bachi chips with prolonged use. Fortunately, it’s common among all tsugaru shamisen players, and is very easy to repair, taking less than 5~10 minutes to do so.

All you need is:

  • A chipped bachi
  • 600G Sandpaper
  • 1000G, 1500G and 2000G Sandpaper (optional)
  • 4000G,8000G, 12000G polishing pads (to restore the bachi’s glassy sheen)

Before you start

You will only sand one side of the bachi tip – the side your thumb touches. Never sand the side that touches the string. Verify the correct side by holding the bachi and placing your thumb down.

Take your 600G sandpaper to the tip of the bachi (on the side your thumb touches when gripped) and sand in a circular motion.

You still want to maintain the slight bevel in the bachi tip. Holding the paper too perpendicular to the bachi will result in a hard, flat edge. Holding it too paralleled will result in more shell being sanded than necessary. Just keep your sanding motion relaxed and a natural bevel should form.

Within about 5 minutes, you should notice that the chip has been completely sanded away! Congratulations! It’s almost ready for action! There’s just two (optional) steps left. Removing the tiny scratch marks and restoring the tip to it’s former luster.

Though the little scratches aren’t damaging to the bachi, it would look nicer to remove them. With your 1000G ~ 2000G sandpaper, briskly repeat the same, circular motion until the noticeable scratches are gone.

At this point, the tip will be looking pretty nice! The final step is to bring the tip back to it’s former glossy luster, making your bachi look good as new. This is where your 4000 ~ 12000 polishing pads come in. Repeat the same process as above.

Alternative – If you don’t have polishing pads, you can buff the tip by briskly rubbing the bachi over a soft rug.

Congratulations! Your bachi is sparkling and is good as new. Now, start playing again and chip away!