Futozao Tsugaru Shamisen Set | Homura

  • futozao shamisen (sao width: 33 mm, height: 32 mm; fingerboard: 29,5 mm)
  • style: Tsugaru
  • neck made from shitan wood
  • freshly skinned with black Hibiki synthetic skins

also included in the package:

  • neo
  • tsugaru lacquer doukake
  • tenjin cap
  • dougomu
  • strings


Out of stock


I named this shamisen “Homura” (焔) , which means “flame”, because of its fiery looks. The combination of the black skin and the red-gold tsugaru lacquer doukake reminds of lava streams giving off this mysterious ancient energy! I hope this name will be a good omen for your burning passion for shamisen to never stop seizing and your skills in playing solidifying constantly over the span of time 🙂

This shamisen is a pretty retro futozao shamisen (wide neck) with synthetic skins and a three part neck, typically used for Tsugaru playing style. The saruo’s shape (that’s the cute curve on the underside of the neck where it sits on the sound box (dou) is an indicator for this instrument’s age. The itomaki have an extra cool shape called “soragara” (even the name sounds cool!) that also make them easier to hold and twist.

Wood: The instrument’s neck is made from shitan wood – that’s the best wood out there, although it has been outdone by koki wood’s deep dark sheen and crazy figurations in the last decades. an established choice for beginner instruments. In my personal opinion, shitan wood sounds livelier and more multi-faceted.

Accessories: The instrument comes with a red tsugaru lacquer style doukake (sound box cover) and a red neo that complement the black skin. Also included in the package are a set of attached strings, a dougomu, and a fujaku strip. The dou is skinned with Hibiki – the newest generation of synthetic skins with a warm tone that’s closer to the sound of natural skins than any of its predecessors. Hibiki skin is extremely durable and robust. In comparison to natural skin, you don’t have to worry about humidity or sudden rain when playing the shamisen outdoors (you’ll still want to try to avoid both to protect the wood though). This means, you won’t need to use a washi bag to protect your shamisen’s skin.

Neck size: The neck is 33 mm wide and 32 mm high at the top and widens slightly towards the dou. The fingerboard is 29,5 mm wide at the narrow end. Its hatomune – the part where the neck enters the sound box – ends in a sharp edge that makes it possible to play up to position 20 and slightly beyond on this instrument.

Sawari (buzz): The installed azuma sawari lets you adjust the sawari (buzz) to your liking. This means you can switch it off completely (for modern pieces, pop/rock/metal genres or certain ensembles) and also have the perfect buzz no matter how high or low you tune your shamisen. There’s been a previous repair on the sawari – I guess the head joint glue gave up at some point and had to be redone causing a bit of a gap that was filled up (see photo). All is firm, smooth and well, and the bit is covered by the big string when the instrument is set up.

Itomaki: The itomaki (tuning pegs) are made from ebony wood and carved in the extra cool fluted star shape “soragara” – easier to grip and even more pleasing to the eye than the usual design.

More: The ebio (the curved end of the tenjin) is in perfect condition. The neck is crafted in mitsuori style: It can be separated into three pieces and makes travelling with the instrument super easy even if you have to travel with small luggage. The fingerboard is in tip top shape, but you can feel where the different neck parts connect on the underside – if you do that with the plain finger. Which you don’t when you play 🙂 The finger cover (yubisuri) lets you smoothly glide over that and you won’t notice a thing when you play (well, I didn’t – so I assume you won’t, either 😛 ).

All you need to add to your set to start playing are a koma, a bachi and a yubisuri. Yubisuri come in different sizes and colors, so you can either match your shamisen’s look or have a colorfur contrasting highlight. There’s a variety of different koma and bachi you can choose from in the shop.

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.