Shota is a great companion for players with larger hands that don’t want to get a futozao shamisen yet or are looking for an instrument that’s not as heavy to carry. The style of this shamisen is associated with Minyo style, but it really is very versatile and makes any kind of style fun to play. Playing Tsugaru style is possible, too, because you can adjust the sawari buzz and the instrument has a very full sound. The width makes it comfortable to play no matter what hand size you have, and the thickness/height of the neck makes gripping it feel super easy!
The instrument is made from tochi karin wood – the common hardwood for student and beginner instruments with a little extra: “tochi” refers to the especially beautiful figure. It’s impossible not to see the fantastic gleam in the pictures. And believe it or not, it looks even more fantastic in real life when you play in a sunny spot.
I chose a stunning gold-and-blue doukake with traditional Japanese graphic elements and paired it with a matching golden neo. Also included in the package is a set of attached strings, a bachigawa (skin protector), and a tenjin cap. I will send it wrapped in a washi bag for maximum protection! The dou is skinned with natural skins that will wrap you in the authentic and warm sound of shamisen music. The skins have a very good tension and provide a wonderful sound.
This neck is 28 mm wide and 28,5 mm high at the top and widens slightly towards the dou. This makes it almost a futozao shamisen. The fingerboard ends in a sharp angle that makes playing high notes up to 20 and beyond possible. The fingerboard has been freshly planed and is in pristine condition. The instrument is a bit shorter in overall length, which is a common thing for Minyo Shamisen. The difference in length is about 4 cm – not visible at first glance, and certainly not making a difference finding the positions. The big upside: You can use a shorter case that fits better in your car’s trunk.
The tsukigata (the curved end of the tenjin) has a slight imperfection. It had been repaired by its previous owner and you can see some irregularities if you look very closely (see pictures). The end of the tenjin is usually covered by the tenjin cap (which is also part of the set). The neck is crafted in mitsuori style: It can be separated into three parts. This makes travelling with the shamisen very easy – even if you have to get by with light and small luggage.
The itomaki are made from ebony and are carved in the fluted star shape. They’re unusually long – the former owner had large hands and chose longer itomaki for higher comfort.
The dou is also especially pretty. Have a closer look at the last pictures: look how smooth and shiny the corners are!
All you need to add to your set to start playing are a koma, a bachi and a yubisuri. Depending on the style you intend to play and your personal preferences, you want to pick a certain kind of koma and bachi. Yubisuri come in different sizes, and I didn’t want to deprive you of the difficult yet fun choice between all the wonderful colors. I also recommend getting an adhesive dougomu or a hizagomu that will prevent the instrument from slipping off your thigh.
If you need help with picking the right additions to this set, don’t hesitate to send a message and we will find the perfect match for you together.