2020 Update: AvailableAfter 130 years of making shamisen, the workshop 'Tokyo Wagakki' was critically close to ending business due to the Coronavirus. Fortunately, thanks to the support of the entire shamisen community inside and outside of Japan, Tokyo Wagakki received enough donations to stay open! Our deep gratitude to everyone who supported Tokyo Wagakki in their time of need!
At Bachido, we're proud to exclusively offer creative styles of shamisen made by the most respected makers in Japan. With the shamisen crafted by trusted craftsman at Tokyo Wagakki (the oldest shamisen workshop in the Tokyo area), we have confidence that our new shamisen styles will be fully realized at the highest quality possible! Like the Sakura, Eclipse and Akatsuki, our newest model proudly continues the line of exclusive and top-grade Shamisen at Bachido. With the Eclipse and Akatsuki available as our high end shamisen, we wanted to offer another mid-range model as an alternative to the Sakura Shamisen (Pink is a bit bold for some). I present to you, The Raven.
View image gallery (24 pics)
- Size: Your Choice of Chuzao (Mid-Size) or Futozao (Large Size)
- Sao: Shitan (Rosewood) – 28mm wide x 33mm thick (Chuzao) or 30mm wide x 35mm thick (Futozao) – Mitsuori (three-piece neck)
- Itomaki: Color infused Acrylic (with metal core)
- Skin: Hibiki (Black/White Synthetic) or Vintage Tone (Natural)
- Dou: Karin – Size 5 (Tsugaru)
- Hardware: Azuma Sawari, Rindo, Zagane, and Kamigoma
- Accessories not included
Color Burst Within Darkness
The Raven is made with high quality Shitan (rosewood). Shitan shamisen are pretty common, so to add our unique flavor, we’ve asked the makers at Tokyo Wagakki to expertly darken the shitan with urushi (non-allergenic). This brings an incredible new visual element to the shitan. When the background is lighter/whiter, the Raven looks black as midnight. However, carry the Raven to a darker background and suddenly the natural brown color of the rosewood pops out! I (Kyle Abbott) have never seen a shamisen like this. The visual element is just as captivating as the tone! Admiring it’s shining curves, I can proudly say this is a beautiful shamisen. While we’re listing this as a ‘mid-range’ shamisen, the quality is nothing short of top grade.
The dou is standard Size 5 for tsugaru style. Combined with the Shitan sao, I enjoyed wonderful clarity with warm resonance of the sawari. The sao is incredibly smooth with low action, which meant it’s very easy to play and yield high sustain with suri (slide), uchi (hammer-on) and such techniques.
To help you get started with your brand-new Raven Shamisen, I am including several learning materials for free!
- Bachido Shamisen Crash Course
- Premium Shamisen Course: Sakura
- Premium Shamisen Course: Tosa no Sunayama
- Premium Shamisen Course: Kase no Yakko Odori
- Premium Shamisen Course: Advanced Kamashi
Note: A Bachido membership (free) is required to access the courses. To unlock the courses, please contact Bachido after ordering the Raven Shamisen. Include the full name on your Bachido account, as well as your paypal receipt for the Raven Shamisen. After your account and purchase has been verified, the courses will be unlocked to your account.
Order the Raven Shamisen!(Note: Each shamisen is built per order. Please allow six to eight weeks for construction)
Please order accessories below the Paypal Box.
Get your Accessories!To bring the price as low as possible, all recommended accessories are sold separately. Find them below, and get cases or other accessories in the Bachido Store!. (The Raven Shamisen is shipped from a separate dealer, and can't be combined with other items from the Bachido Store. Sorry!)
Ito Set Pack (Tsugaru) 津軽糸セットパック (IT-TS)
Includes one Ichi no Ito (2X), a pack of three Ni no Ito and a pack of five San no Ito.
Neo 音緒 (NE-T)
The Neo is the tailpiece which the strings are tied to. It is fitted on the end of the shamisen.
Leather Doukake レザー胴掛け (紐付) (DO-R)
Leather doukake look very classy, and available in many colors.
Dou Gomu Shi-ru 胴ゴムシール (DO-GM)
The Dou Gomu Shi-ru is an adhesive rubber pad which is affixed to the lower-right corner of the dou (where the dou rests on your knee). Without it, the shamisen can easily slip off of your leg while you’re playing.
Fujaku 譜尺 (SF-1)
The hardest part of shamisen playing is the lack of frets, or other indicators to where the positions are. The fujaku is an adhesive plastic strip which sticks to the side of the shamisen. When placed correctly, the numbers on the seal line up exactly where you need to press the string to sound the desired position. This seal takes away lots of frustration from your shamisen experience. It can be removed when your fingers attain muscle memory so you don’t need to look at the numbers. Watch how to attach a fujaku.
Yubikake 指掛け (YB-M)
The yubikake is a tightly knit sleeve which is fitted over the index finger and thumb. When playing shamisen, the friction of your skin rubs against the neck, making it hard to play. The Yubikake adds a layer between your hand and the neck, reducing friction and making playing much easier.
Small: 3.2cm wide x 7.8cm long
Medium: 3.3cm wide x 8.0cm long
Large: 3.7cm wide x 9.0cm long
Faux-Bekkou Bachi べっ甲調撥 (BA-BC)
Hardness level: 5.
Highly Reccomended! Perfect for beginners and advanced players alike. It has the same feel & flex of a natural bekkou bachi, but is stronger and will potentially last many more years of hard tsugaru playing! The tortoise will thank you too.
Note: On very rare occasions, the blades of these bachi sometimes crack or separate from the handle. (It used to be a frequent problem but that issue seems to have been eliminated recently.) That being said, these bachi are covered with one-year insurance. If your bachi cracks or separates from the handle within one year’s time, send it back and it can be replaced!
Wooden Bachi 木撥 (BA-K)
Hardness level: 7.
The Wooden Bachi can be used for a variety songs and techniques. It’s only weakness is that it can break fairly quickly with hard tsugaru playing. Perfect for wood lovers!
Note: In the video, Nitta san plays an earlier model which we used to sell. The pictures show the current model available.
Plastic Bachi プラスチック撥 (BA-P)
Hardness level: 8.
Reccomended only for trying shamisen with little investment, or if you need an ice scraper. Unfortunately, it is difficult to use and can make the shamisen experience less enjoyable.
Bamboo Koma 竹駒 (KM-T)
Soft and warm.
Bamboo Koma (Bone Tip) 先骨竹駒 (KM-TB)
Clean and crisp. Bone tip brings a sharper tone, compared to the Bamboo Koma
Base – Bamboo
Saddle – Bone
Shinobi Koma 忍び駒 (KM-SNOBI)
Neighbors keeping your sound levels down? Desperately wanting to play shamisen now but still recovering from that hangover? The shinobi koma (Stealth Bridge) is made for you!
Replacing your normal koma with the Shinobi Koma will lower the sound level tremendously.
Note: Though the sound from striking the string is significantly reduced, the percussive sound from the bachi snapping against the skin isn’t affected by the koma.
Shinobi Koma - Deluxe 「静」忍び駒 (KM-SNOBI2)
Prepare for extra-awesome! This Shinobi Koma is loaded with extra features!
1) Unlike the Shinobi Koma (Standard), the Shinobi Koma (Deluxe) is shaped in such a way that you can freely execute maebachi and ushirobachi techniques without being constrained by the size of the koma.
2) Though the Shinobi Koma (Standard) mutes the sound from the string, the loud percussivness of the bachi striking the skin remains at full volume. The Shibobi Koma (Deluxe) reduces the percussive volume as well as the volume from the strings, providing a satisfying and balanced low-volume experience.
3) The timbre of the (muted) sound quality can be adjusted.
Plastic and Aluminum
Import TaxPlease be aware that Bachido is NOT responsible for covering import tax, and must be covered by the customer. Because import tax varies depending on the country, please check your country's import tax and make sure you will be able to cover the cost of the tax as well as the items you are purchasing from Bachido.
Return PolicyThere is a 90 day return policy (which starts on the first day of shipment) for the Raven Shamisen. All returns are subject to a 15% restocking fee, and shipping costs must be covered by the customer.
We stand behind the quality of our shamisen with the highest standards. The Raven Shamisen is made by the best maker in Japan and skinned with the highest quality skin in Japan. Thus, we will not accept "lack of quality" as a reason for return. Please be certain that you are ready to invest in the Raven Shamisen before purchasing.
The Raven Shamisen must be returned in new condition. Any signs of wear or damage to the instrument, whether from use or during shipping, will void the warranty. If this is the case, we will provide evidence of the fault, and the refund will not be given. If this is the case, the customer must cover shipping costs to have it sent back to his/her address.
We apologize for the strictness of the policy. The shamisen is a fragile instrument, and there's always risk of damage during shipping, which is why we wish to keep returns to a minimum.
DamagesThe Raven Shamisen is fully insured from initial shipment to until final delivery. If the Raven Shamisen is damaged upon arrival, please proceed with the following instructions to receive compensation/replacement.
1. Contact us within 48 hours of receipt notifying us of the damage.
2. Send us at least three photos: one photo of the full product, a close-up (or several) of the damage, and a photo of the package.
3. We may ask you to fill a “damage claims form” at your local post office for reimbursement purposes.
4. In most circumstances, we will pay shipping costs for your replacement. In special cases, we may ask that you pay shipping costs.
The skin of the Raven Shamisen is guaranteed up to 6 months (starting from initial shipment). We will only request shipping costs to be covered by the customer. If the skin ruptures before then, please proceed with the following instructions to receive skin replacement.
1. Contact us within 48 hours of receipt notifying us of the ruptured skin.
2. Send us at least two photos: one photo of the full dou (body), and a close-up (or several) of the tear in the skin.
3. When we confirm the your Raven Shamisen is covered for skin replacement, we will tell you the address of where to send the Raven Shamisen dou (body) for skin replacement, and will request a specified payment to cover costs of return shipping.
4. Please watch this video to learn how to remove the dou (body) from the Raven Shamisen Watch how to remove the dou.
5. When the dou is separated from the shamisen, please pack it tightly in a box, filled with lots of protective packaging to prevent potential damage to the dou during shipping.
6. Send it to the address we provide. Once it arrives, it will be reskinned as soon as possible, and then sent back to your address.
To ensure longevity of the skin:Keep your shamisen inside, in a cool, dry environment. Extreme heat (inside a hot car, for example) or cold stresses the skin.
Remove the koma from the shamisen after every practice session. The koma puts pressure on the skin. When the shamisen is not in use, removing the koma will increase the lifespan of the skin.
Play your shamisen often! The more you play, the better your shamisen will sound! Just like how doing yoga keeps your body flexible and limber, playing the shamisen often will keep the skin vibrating. Vibrating the skin keeps it supple and responsive. On the other hand, when the shamisen isn't played often, the skin will get brittle, and thus prone to breaking sooner.