Elegance and Strength
Bachi are a wonderful example for Japanese minimalistic design. The elegant shape reminds of a ginkgo leaf – but due to its shape, the bachi also often reminds of an ice scraper. No matter what you see in it, the bachi is as essential for playing the shamisen as the bow is to a violin.
Bachi come in a wide variety of materials. Traditionally, high-class bachi were made from ivory and tortoise shell. Buffalo horn and wood are other natural materials that are used traditionally. Nowadays, there’s also acrylic and other plastic bachi, which are very popular among beginner students due to there durability.
While the basic shape is always roughly the same, the blade size and handle length vary depending on the genre. Tsugaru shamisen have short handles and narrow blades which makes swift navigation between the strings a lot easier. Jiuta bachi have a very wide blade and also have a slighly longer handle. Within one subcategory of bachi, there are different sizes, lengths, flexibility grades for the blade, and weights to accomodate to the player’s preferences and needs