Traditional bekko bachi for Tsugaru playing style. Bekko bachi are the standard for Tsugaru playing style. The flexibility of the blade and the distinct snapping sound when striking the strings is an important nuance of the authentic sound of Tsugaru Shamisen. Playing with a bekko bachi feels entirely different from playing with a standard student plastic bachi. And it transforms the sound of your shamisen immensely, too.
The blade of this particular bachi is nice and thick and will withstand harder playing styles. The coloring of the blade is gorgeous: Lots of bright spots on a dark background. That’s not just the aesthetic ideal for this kind of bachi (the lighter the better, many people say), but rumor says the bachi also sounds better when the blade is lighter. I personally have not spent enough time on trying out different shades of blades to confirm or reject that hypothesis, but I can definitely say that it looks very pretty with the bright speckles. It makes it a joy to simple hold the bachi against the sunlight and marvel at its beauty. The corners show slight signs of use but are still super fantastic to play.
The handle is pretty long and I would recommend it for players with larger hands. It has some small matte spots from storing and three “subliminal cracks” – I don’t know how to better describe it. The material is not cracked, but you can see lines that look like cracks. They feel very smooth though, so they surely won’t chafe. The blade is also rather wide, which gives the bachi a very balanced feel. With these dimensions, it seems also very suitable for minyo style.
With its weight of 137,7 grams, this bachi doesn’t feel heavy while still providing you with some extra momentum when you swing at the strings. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to weight and it has nothing to do with your body size or playing style. It really is personal preference.
If you’re just starting out with playing the shamisen: It’s pretty common that the bachi feels a bit weird at the beginning. But it should not cause any pain – neither in wrist nor in any of the fingers of your bachi hand. Please make sure not to grip the bachi handle when playing but to have the bachi wedged in your hand in a relaxed way (I know, it’s hard! But that really is the key to a healthy swing, painless play and a great tone).
- blade: 10,3 cm
- length: 19,5 cm
- hilt width (bottom end): 25 mm
- hilt height (bottom end): 23 mm
- weight: 137,7 g