Due to its maneuverability, fun, and wide range of applications, it became widely popular among the people during the Edo period, and today it is widely recognized around the world as a representative national musical instrument.
During the Edo period, strict restrictions were placed on music: Gagaku was limited to the aristocracy, Noh music to the samurai class, koto music to the blind, and shakuhachi to the komuso monks. The only thing that was widely left in the hands of the people was the shamisen.
Moreover, for 250 years during the Edo period, the people of Japan researched and studied this unique shamisen, honing its skills and crafting it into a musical instrument of astonishing precision and precision.
[Tenjin]...The part above the top of the shamisen from where the upper neck is inserted. In the past, this was called Ebio, but now it is collectively called "Tenjin" from the "milk bag" onward. Tenjin has the following names.
《Kou》...The rounded raised part at the top of Tenjin.
《Tsukigata》...The tip of Tenjin. A place that curves like a crescent moon.
《Iso》...The curved side part of the upper part of Tenjin.
《Aze》...A frame into which a thread spool is inserted.
《Itogura》...The space between the banks. Where the thread is wound with a thread spool.
《Chibukuro》...just below Itokura. The name comes from its resemblance to the swell of a woman's breasts.
《Hakamagoji》...The upper part of the breast pouch. The name comes from its resemblance to the waist plate of a man's hakama.
《Sawari Mizo》...The lower part of the itokura and the tip of the upper pole.
[Sao]: Usually, the word Sao refers to the part from Tenjin's moon shape to the tip of the wood, but sometimes it also refers to the part from the milk sack to the pigeon's chest.
[Joint]...The part where the neck is joined together.
[Listing (Uwaba)]...The plane of the neck. Where the thread rides.
[Hatomune]...The bottom of the pigeon's chest. The area at the base of the torso that resembles a pigeon's chest (Nagauta, Kouta, etc.).
Folk songs, jiuta, and Tsugaru are not pigeon-toed.
[Saruo] The name comes from the back of the pigeon's chest, which looks like a monkey's tail.
[Nakagi]: A thin rod that is directly connected to the lower shaft and passes through the body. (Also called chuko)
[Nakagisaki]: The part of the neck that protrudes beyond the body to attach the chord.
[Oral]...The part where the skin is glued. The skin is glued only at the oral part. The glue used is mochi flour mixed with water.
[Temporary joint]...To protect the tenon of the neck and joint. (It's like a cap that protects the joint when the neck is disassembled.)
Types of shamisen can be roughly divided into ``fatty shamisen,'' ``nakasao shamisen,'' and ``hososo shamisen,'' but there are also differences in the size and weight of the plectrum used, material, scale, sound quality, etc. depending on the event and school. are different. Also, it may vary depending on your personal taste and song title.
When choosing a shamisen, there are many types, so if you are not sure what kind of shamisen to purchase, please contact the Japanese Musical Instruments Market.
The uses and characteristics of each are as follows.
Fatso shamisen (Tsugaru)
Uses: Folk song accompaniment, Tsugaru Shamisen, Rokyoku
Features: The Tsugaru shamisen is played by the Yoshida brothers, and is the most popular shamisen in Japan. It is characterized by a thick neck and a large overall size.
It can produce deep, weighty tones at a fairly high volume, allowing for powerful performances. It looks best when playing outdoors.
The image is more like "hitting" with a plectrum than "playing."
Nakasao shamisen (folk songs, small songs, local songs)
Uses: Folk song accompaniment (folk song shamisen), for ensemble with koto (jiuta shamisen)
Characteristics: Folk songs The shamisen is used as an accompaniment to folk songs. The tone is beautiful with the eastern touch.
The jiuta shamisen is a shamisen that has been improved for use in ensemble with the koto, shakuhachi, and kokyu. If you are learning the koto, we will use the jiuta shamisen.
The sound is resonant and colorful, and the volume cannot be adjusted much.
It is easiest to harmonize ``playing'' and ``singing.''
Kouta-shamisen is played with the nails without using a pick. This is called "nail flipping." The song is sung at a light and fast tempo.
Uses: Nagauta, etc. (The shamisen is often used as an introductory instrument)
Characteristics: Nagauta was established as Kabuki music in the early 18th century, more than 300 years ago, and is a type of shamisen music that developed mainly in the Edo period. The overall size is small, the neck is the thinnest, and it produces a light, dry, transparent tone.
In addition, it is often used as a school teaching material or as an introductory instrument for the shamisen, so we recommend this Nagauta shamisen Hanabayashi wood for those who are starting to learn on their own as a hobby.
The leather we use is the highest quality leather used by professionals.
This is a rare item that can only be purchased by a few highly skilled companies in the country. (Only a few companies in the Kanto area, including our company, can purchase this item)
The greatest feature of leather is the strength of its fibers. The skin, which is the heart of the shamisen, is stretched to its breaking point to maximize the tone, but the quality of the skin and the strength of its tension greatly affect the tone.
As explained in the diagram on the left, the strength of tension (tension) is expressed as a number from 1 to 10. The leather we use has very strong leather fibers and can be stretched to a value of 10, but other companies' leathers do not have strong fibers and can only be stretched to a value of 8. is.
With a value of 8, you will not be able to bring out the maximum tone of the shamisen, and if you pull the skin any further, the fibers will be weak and will tear. This difference in limit points is the "difference in skin" and has a great effect on the tone. We have used leather from other companies in the past, so the difference is very large. Of course, increasing the number to 10 is not a skill that everyone can do.
Each piece of skin has a different thickness, and even within each piece, the thickness varies slightly. This is pulled evenly in all four directions, which is an extremely difficult task.
If the way you stretch the leather goes beyond the number 8, it will break at that point, so it takes a lot of skill and nerve to stretch the skin to the number 9 and then 10.
At our company, this leather covering technique is one of our specialties, allowing us to bring out the maximum tone of the shamisen.
The shamisen is a very deep and delicate instrument, so unless you have these skills, you will not be able to make the most of the shamisen.
The reason why our shamisen has received high praise from so many people is not only its quality, but also because we have one of the best leather covering techniques in the country.
Benizoku raw wood, work scene...
The process from inking to finishing is the same for each material, but inking red wood logs is particularly difficult, and depending on the inking technique, the beautiful ``conker'' that is wrapped around the pole may or may not appear. This is the most important task as it will reduce the amount of time. We use harvested rough wood that has been naturally dried for more than half a year.
↑Red wood (origin: India)
↑Red wood before cutting the wood *The inking technique brings out the horse chestnuts well.
↑Hanarin wood for the body (origin: Thailand)
↑The wood-cut torso
↑Cut the pole into three pieces.
↑Joint and tenon work completed,
↑A craftsman handcrafts the wooden pole.
↑The torso after completion.
↑ We will prepare the thread roll after you place your order.
↑After placing your order, we carefully select the skin suitable for the shamisen,
Hanarin wood (for practice) Used for beginners.
Hanarin wood is mainly produced in Thailand.
Rosewood intermediate grade product
Rosewood wood is mainly produced in Thailand.
*Rosadanzai is positioned as an intermediate quality among shamisen, but among the ``erhu'', which became popular for a while, rosewood is positioned as a luxury item.
Iron wood medium-high grade product
Ironwood is distributed in the jungles of Ghana and Nigeria, and is characterized by being extremely heavy and hard.
Red wood (for concerts)
*About the red wood used by the Japanese musical instruments market
How to choose a shamisen and its techniques
The most frequently asked question from our customers is, ``I'm just starting to play the shamisen, but how big of a shamisen should I buy?''
| Recently, there are many used shamisen on the Internet (auctions, etc.), but used shamisen often have damaged skins, twisted necks, unadjustable thread windings, uneven ha heights, and repeated repairs to the necks. I often hear from people who have purchased used shamisen that they are dissatisfied with the fact that the shamisen is thin, the repair costs are higher than the purchase price, and the shamisen is unusable.
Very delicate musical instruments such as the shamisen can produce beautiful tones when the skin is stretched using the skills of an excellent craftsman on a brand new shamisen that has been precisely made to perfection.
Japanese musical instruments such as the shamisen and koto are made with precision and are all about technique.
It's definitely not okay if it's cheap or bad.
Without skill, even a high-quality instrument will never produce a sound. For the shamisen, the main technique is to wrap the leather, and for the koto, the technique is to tighten the strings.It is the craftsman's ``techniques'' that bring out the maximum sound of the instrument. In particular, the sound of the shamisen is determined by the quality of the skin and the technique of tension. We receive inquiries from customers who say, ``I purchased an expensive shamisen from another store, but the sound quality is not very good.'' This is mainly due to the quality of the leather and the poor tension. The best tensioning technique is how strong you can tension it while considering the balance between the thickness of the skin and the strength of the tension between the front and back sides, but this technique is extremely difficult.
At our company, we have the high-quality skills of our craftsmen who have cultivated over 80 years of experience, so we have absolute confidence in the quality and sound quality.
|The condition of the pole
・The neck is warped more than usual due to the tension of the thread over many years.
・The shaft is twisted
・Key points are decreasing
・The neck has become thinner due to repeated repair of the canberi.
・Joints easily come off
*Even with maintenance, it is physically impossible to return a twisted or thinned neck to its original state.
|spool of thread
- Shortened due to repeated adjustments
- Loose and won't stop
・Needs to be replaced as it cannot be adjusted.
|Thread winding metal fittings
・The metal fittings have become thin due to repeated adjustment of the thread winding.
・If the metal fittings are old, it may become unstable even if you replace the bobbin winder with a new one.
・It is expensive to replace the metal fittings with new ones.
- Due to the tension of the string over many years, the lowering of the body is distorted, and the sensation between the surface of the rod and the string is too wide, making it difficult to play.
height of ha
* Explained in the diagram below
・Ha may become high due to repeated repairs.
・Ha becomes too high and the feel of the surface of the rod and the thread are too wide, making it difficult to play.
・Repairs will be required after purchase.
・There may be gaps in the four corners
・Generally damaged due to long-term use
Carefully selected skin
We will attach it after you place your order.
- Damaged leather fibers
- Loose skin
-The skin is peeling off
・Due to repeated skinning, the edges of the skin become deep and look unsightly.
|Recommended for people like this
・Those who are looking for an elaborately made shamisen
・Those who are ready to start seriously
・People who want to use musical instruments for a long time
・For those considering purchasing a new product
・People who are not confident that the product will last long and want to purchase it at a lower price than buying a new product.
Note: We often hear about failures of used shamisen that have been maintained, so please be careful if you are considering buying a used shamisen.
``Down'' means that when preparing the neck and body, the tip of the wood in the body (at the ``ni'' in the diagram) should be aligned parallel to the ``i'', ``ro'', and ``ha'' points. The goal is to lower the temperature from 8 rin to about 1 minute. This ``drop'' is one of the important points to improve the sound of the shamisen.
A shamisen always has a ``down'', and of course there are people who know this, but there are also people who ask, ``What is a down?'' Even if you don't know, there's no need to worry, as new shamisen are made according to regulations.
However, with used shamisen, this drop is often out of order.
The ``hang'' plays an important role in adjusting the sound of each bridge, and is fine while the body is new, but as it gets older and the skin is replaced many times, the ``hang'' will become lower. ” becomes higher, and accordingly the “ro” of the neck becomes higher and the “down” becomes out of order.
If you apply a ruler to the ``i'', ``ro'', and ``ha'' in the diagram, you will see that the ``ni'' part is lowered. There is a particularly close and inseparable relationship between the height of "downward" and "ha" and the piece, and since "downward" is caused by the "ha" depending on the piece, if the "downward" goes out of order, it will inevitably result in "downward". The pitch of the "Ha" becomes out of order, and the sound becomes worse.
The height of the ``ha'' is determined by the ``down'' of the shamisen body and the pieces. In general, the locations where "Ha" is said to be high or low are indicated by the arrows in the diagram. In other words, it is the upper surface of the torso where the skin is stretched, and the space between the threads.
When the interval here becomes wider, it is said to have a "higher C", making it difficult to play and making the sound pop, making the sound less solid.
This is because the ``down'' of the torso has become incorrect.
The height of "ha" changes depending on how high or low the piece is. If you hang a higher piece, the "ha" will naturally become higher and the sound will be louder.
If you hang a lower piece, the "ha" will be lower and the sound will be smaller.
If the height of the ``ha'' becomes out of order, it means that the ``ha'' part in the diagram becomes too loose, and this can happen when the neck becomes out of alignment, or when repairs are made repeatedly.
Used shamisen often have an unusually high “Ha” so be careful.
Humidity (moisture) and heat are prohibited for the shamisen. Therefore, please note the following:
1) The shamisen is made of animal skin pasted with glue (mochi powder mixed with water).
This is because the skin cannot be attached using other adhesives. The leather is stretched to its limits in order to produce a beautiful tone, so even the slightest amount of moisture or heat can loosen the adhesive and cause the skin to separate from the body.
2) Avoid storing the shamisen in humid or hot places. Especially avoid places exposed to direct sunlight.
3) It won't last even 10 minutes in a hot car. (When parked with the engine turned off)
Especially when riding in a car during the summer, be sure to turn on the air conditioner to avoid exposing the shamisen to hot air.
4) When playing the shamisen, the moisture "sweat" from your knees and abdomen can hit the lining of the shamisen and cause the skin to peel off from the body, so be careful of sweat, especially in the summer. If it absorbs moisture, wipe it dry with a dry cloth to evaporate the moisture.
5) It is preferable to store the item in a box made of paulownia wood, such as a paulownia core case, paulownia stand box, or paulownia chest.
The shamisen, which has a tradition of 400 years since its introduction to Japan, has undergone various improvements through the efforts and wisdom of its many predecessors, and has been perfected into the fine Japanese musical instrument it is today. The excellent and beautiful tone and emotion produced from just three strings is the wonderful ``Japanese sound'' that is unparalleled anywhere in the world.
However, no matter how great the sound is, the tone will stop depending on how you handle it.
This is because the shamisen is a living thing .
1) It is said that the tone of a shamisen is determined by the way the skin is stretched, and craftsmen stretch the skin to its breaking point, ``on the verge of breaking''.
This requires a high level of skill, and it is said that this is where the true worth of the craftsman is tested. Therefore, no matter how expensive the shamisen is, the beautiful tone will not come out depending on the thickness of the skin and how it is stretched.
2) The shamisen has something called a "sawari" sound, and the "vibration" produced by the string 1 must produce the correct sound. The sound of the shamisen can live or die depending on whether it has sawari or not.
If the sound is well-defined, the sound will have a lingering effect on its own, making the song lively and vibrant, and can transport the listener to a state of euphoria. Therefore, touch is the most important thing for shamisen.
So, a good sawari is not just a one-note lingering aftertaste. For example, a good sawari is one that has a lingering aftertaste that feels like waves surging (gaan, gaaan, gaaan).
When this good sound is achieved, it resonates with the 2nd and 3rd strings and turns into a wonderful sound.
3) The shamisen produces beautiful sounds using only three strings, so if the strings are old, stretched, or fuzzed, the beautiful sound will not be produced. The new thread has sufficient elasticity, which produces beautiful sounds. Avoid using the thread until it breaks, even for practice.
4) As I mentioned earlier, the tension of the shamisen skin has a lot to do with the sound, and if the skin becomes loose, the beautiful tone will not be produced. In that case, try lowering the position of the pieces. If there is still no change, the leather is loose, so check the timing and replace it if the tone starts to deteriorate.
5) As I said, the shamisen is a living thing, and if you leave it unplayed for a long time, the sound will stop.
It is impossible to suddenly demand a beautiful tone. It's the same way that humans can't produce a good voice unless they practice their vocalizations.
6) Always handle musical instruments with love and care, and always try to use them.
While playing, the sound is good and the skin vibrates and comes in contact with the air, so the skin is less likely to tear. It is not good for the instrument to be stored unplayed, and it is often in this condition that the skin tears or peels off from the body.
The bodies are all made of Karin wood, from cheap Karin poles to high-end red wood products. This is because the wood is soft and is the most suitable for producing tones. There are two types of body: round body and ayasugi body. Aya cedar bodies are carved with aya cedar on the inside of the body to improve the sound quality, and there are two types: single cedar cedar and child cedar cedar. Komochi twill cedar is made by carving another twill cedar on top of one twill cedar, and the child twill cedar further improves the sound quality effect. A round body is attached to the Hanarin or Beniki wood, while a twilled cedar body is attached to a high-quality one such as Benigi Kinsho. *All the Ayasugi bodies of the Kinhosagi Shamisen in the Japanese Musical Instruments Market are made with child-like Ayasugi bodies.
* For the body, we use high-performance chemical adhesive instead of glue.
Glue has an extremely high adhesive strength, but the adhesive surface can be easily broken down by applying heat, making it suitable as an adhesive for sticks. However, it is not very suitable as an adhesive for the body.
The reason is that the body is heated during the process of stretching the skin.
When stretching the skin, moisturize the skin itself to make it easier to stretch and stretch.
The process is carried out with the skin moist, and during the final process, hot air is applied to the skin to quickly remove the moisture. Glue is sensitive to heat, so at this time the glue components break down and the adhesive strength weakens. If you repeat this process, the adhesive force will naturally weaken little by little, and since the body is constantly under strong tension due to the skin being stretched, gaps will eventually appear at the four corners of the body, or the body will fall apart. This will cause some inconvenience.
In the days when there were no high-performance chemical adhesives, glue was used in all cases, but in order to prevent these symptoms, high-performance chemical adhesives are now used.
It is not necessary to use glue on all adhesive surfaces, but it is recommended to use glue in places where glue is suitable and use high-performance chemical adhesives in places where high-performance chemical adhesives are suitable. This is the most important thing for the shamisen.
* Flat tenon <br>With only one tenon, there are no grooves, and the Hanarin neck of the practice shamisen becomes a flat tenon.
* Single groove <br>A groove is created parallel to each tenon and is applied to second grade products.
* Double grooves <br>Two grooves are made on both sides of one tenon to stabilize the seam of the neck, and are used on high-quality products.
"Kanahosa" is the name that expresses the highest quality of shamisen, which is made by inserting gold fittings into the joint of a red wooden pole with a conker inside.
(All of our Benimoku shamisen have two grooves.)
*Sawari is like an echo in karaoke where when you play a sound, it sounds like a "bean".
It has the effect of increasing overtone components, adding flavor to the tone, and extending the resonance.
Higashi Sawari is mainly used for folk shamisen and Tsugaru shamisen. This Higashi Sawari is not included for Nagauta, Jiuta, Kouta Shamisen, etc. To keep the sawari balanced, turn the screw on the back and move the core up and down until it touches the first thread.
If the folk shamisen or Tsugaru shamisen does not have Higashi Sawari, the sound quality will not be the same.
For Nagauta-shamisen, Jiuta-shamisen, Kouta-shamisen, etc., touch the first thread to the sawari groove to add the sawari.
If you don't add the crisp sound properly, you won't get a rich tone, so you need to carefully and carefully adjust the crisp sound to get the maximum sound possible. This is the most important thing when tuning.
...About the shape of the upper piece...
The shapes of the upper pieces of the shamisen with and without the Higashi Sawari are different.
For the upper piece for Higashi Sawari, threads 1, 2, and 3 all rest on the upper piece, but for shamisen without Higashi Sawari, string 1 touches the wood directly, producing the sawari sound. Therefore, only threads 2 and 3 will be placed on top of the upper piece. Occasionally, we receive inquiries from customers such as ``The upper piece of thread 1 is torn and missing,'' ``The width of the upper piece is too short,'' or ``Only thread 1 is not on top of the upper piece.'' This is normal for the upper pieces of a shamisen without sawari.
All thread winders are hexagonal and are made of materials such as ebony, ivory, red wood, etc., but ebony is most suitable for any shamisen because it fits well with the washer.
There are two types of ebony spools: (Joroku) and (chamfered), and the (Joroku) spool is hexagonal, making it an excellent spool because your hand won't slip when winding the thread. A ``chamfer'' is a spool of hexagonal material with rounded corners. Other shapes such as Ugara and Ugara chamfering are also available.
Ivory spools are good on stage because they have a good "hing," but unless you prepare them very well and push them inside to turn them, they tend to return.
(Returning means that the thread winding loosens on its own while playing, and the thread returns all at once.)
This is because ivory fabric is hard and does not blend into the washer like ebony.
The part of the red wood thread spool that corresponds to the washer is the same as the ebony thread spool, but other than that, the core is left and the red wood is hexagonally laminated (chamfered) to it.
In addition, we also have acrylic (crystal) and ivory-like (synthetic resin).
If the thread is tightly attached to the thread storage (inner wooden part) as shown in the photo on the left, the thread will not penetrate further into the metal fittings, making it easier for the thread to loosen. Be sure to leave a slight gap as shown in the photo on the right before completing the tuning.
◆ About the importance of skin
I would like to explain the importance of skin.
The skin is the lifeblood of the shamisen. The skin plays a very important role, as the sound quality changes greatly depending on the skin, how it is stretched, etc. Even if the quality of the shamisen is excellent, if the quality of the leather and the technique of covering the leather are not good, no matter how high the quality of the shamisen is, it will never produce a good tone.
The technique of making leather is to look at the thickness and quality of each piece of leather and determine how strong they can be.
Our company has used leather from several companies, but the one we currently use is the one that produces the best sound. This highest quality leather can only be purchased by a few shamisen stores across the country with advanced leather finishing techniques, and our company is one of them.
[Type of skin]
Four cat skins, dog skin, and synthetic leather.
◆ How to cut leather
The cat skin (4 pieces) is torn from the back and spread to the left and right to reveal the milk. The breasts are divided into (upper four) and (lower four). (Upper 4) refers to the upper part of the skin, and (Lower 4) refers to the lower part of the skin.Which is better? (Upper 4) has better average skin thickness. (lower four) have uneven skin thickness. Basically, the top four will be used as the outer skin, and the bottom four will be used as the lining.
*We also use ``Ue Yotsu'' for the back side.
Unlike cat skin, dog skin (kenpi) is finished by tearing it from the belly and spreading it out from side to side, so unlike cat skin, there is no milk.
◆ Why do cat skin and dog skin have different sounds?
The first reason for the difference in the sound of cat and dog skin is
1) Difference in body size between cats and dogs.
2) Differences in hair quality
3) Differences in hair density.
It will be considered.
The thickness of the skin varies depending on the size of the body. Naturally, the thicker the skin, the heavier the sound, and the thinner the skin, the lighter the sound. The difference in hair quality is that if the hair is thick like a dog's hair, the pores will be larger and the sound will be emitted more easily, causing the vibration rate of the sound to weaken faster.
The narrower the pores, the slower the sound dissipates, and the longer the vibration rate of the sound is maintained within the body.
The difference in the density of hair is the difference between good (thin) and bad (coarse) skin, and the root is the same as the difference in hair quality, but the thicker the hair, the larger the pores. Naturally, larger pores mean rougher skin. Cats have fine fur, so their pores are fine and their skin is fine-textured.
This is the difference between the sound of cat skin and dog skin. In the case of cat skin, the pores are narrow, so when the sound passes through them, it causes delicate vibrations in the skin, resulting in a softer tone. It appears.
Yotsuhi is mainly used for high-end Nagauta, folk songs, and jiuta shamisen, and doghi is mainly used for intermediate and beginner level instruments.
However, in the case of Tsugaru shamisen, even high-quality shamisen uses dog skin.
At our store, we preferentially purchase the highest quality leather from leather shops. The high-quality, strong fibers of the leather are stretched evenly to the limit using our unique stringing technology and work process, which is unmatched by other companies, and brings out the maximum tone of the shamisen.
It should not be "cheap or bad". Our uncompromising selection of leather and uncompromising reupholstery work have earned us high praise from customers across the country and a high repeat rate.
The skin of the shamisen is the lifeblood of the sound and plays the most important role.
By stretching the high-quality leather to the best condition using the skills of craftsmen, you can bring out the maximum tone of the shamisen.
At our company, we carefully stretch the highest quality leather using techniques developed over many years of experience to bring out the maximum tone of your shamisen.
Note: Only the "polar epithelium" can bring out the maximum tone of the shamisen.
The tension (strength) of the skin differs depending on the shamisen shop, and the sound changes depending on whether it is rainy or sunny, so those who are interested in fine tuning the sound can adjust the final sound by adjusting the pieces. adjustments must be made. For example, if the leather is loose, you can create a tighter sound by adding a lighter bridge and moving the bridge slightly closer to the chord.
On the other hand, if the skin is too tight or the skin is dry due to sunny weather, hang a slightly heavier piece in the correct position, or move the piece slightly closer to the center of the body as shown in the diagram. I'll move it around to adjust the tone.
However, by moving the position of the piece, the standard distance for determining the key point (distance between the upper piece and the string path of the piece) changes, and the key point (position of the pot) also changes slightly, so please keep this in mind when playing. be careful.
Of course, the area where the plectrum is applied is where the leather repellent is pasted, but even a slight difference in the area where the plectrum is applied can make a considerable difference in the sound. The dotted line in the figure represents the thickness of the mouth of the body, and the black dots (3 places) on the skin repellent indicate the changing position of the sound.
If you place the plectrum on the spot indicated by the black dot on the left of the diagram and play it, the sound will be soft and not distant. This is because it is played above the mouth of the torso. Most of the time the tip of the ivory plectrum gets chipped when it is played at this point.
The point of the black dot is between the oral cavity and the trunk space, avoiding the oral cavity of the trunk. If you play it here, it will produce a nice, clear and tight sound.
The sound at the right black dot is louder than the left black dot and the middle black dot, and depending on how you play it, you can hear the sound of the skin, which can be unpleasant. This is because it is far away from the oral cavity and towards the center of the torso. If we consider the case of a taiko drum, we can see that if you hit the edge of the taiko drum, you will not get the original sound of the taiko drum. The life of a drum is to strike the center of the skin and let it resonate through the skin to produce a loud sound. Similar to the theory behind this drum, if you pull the shamisen closer to the center of the body, like the black dot on the right, the sound will become louder, which is not good.
As shown in the figure on the left, I have listed three places where the sound resonates, but the left sunspot is too tight and does not resonate, the right sunspot is too loud because it resonates with the skin, and in the end, the middle sunspot is the part of the skin that resonates. The sound is appropriate and clear, and although there may be slight differences depending on the style, it can generally be said to be the place with the best sound. For those practicing the shamisen, it is important to get into the habit of playing the shamisen so that the plectrum always hits the center point.
*In the case of Tsugaru, unlike other shamisen, the strength of the sound is adjusted by moving the plectrum back and forth.
Although our company has a long history in this industry, having been established for 90 years, the Japanese musical instrument industry is currently not as vibrant as it was in the past.
Furthermore, since around 2004, Japanese musical instruments have become a compulsory subject in music classes in schools, and although there was optimism within the industry that the industry would regain its former dynamism, things are still limited.
How can we increase the number of people who take up shamisen and koto, and how can we bring back the vibrancy of the past...
One vendor had a variety of opinions, including ``Maybe we should just offer free trial lessons'' and ``Maybe we should increase the number of classes at schools.''
After receiving various opinions, we came to the conclusion that the musical instruments are too expensive.
I think there are many people who want to learn the shamisen or koto but end up giving up because they are unable to purchase an instrument. However, lowering the price of musical instruments is not easy...
It was after we started selling online that we significantly reduced our prices, but the following circumstances occurred before then.
Normally, there is a general rule that ``when the number of customers is large (fast selling), the profit margin is low (low price), and when the selling rate is slow, the profit margin is high (high price)''.
Previously, we only sold locally, so like other stores, we set a high profit margin and sold shamisen and koto at high prices to compensate for the slow sales.
Of course, shamisen and koto are traditional crafts, so they have a high value.
However, I felt that ``musical instruments are too expensive nationwide'' and that the Japanese musical instrument industry would definitely become obsolete.
We started selling online about 10 years ago, but as our sales area has expanded across the country, many customers have started using our services, and our profit margins have increased significantly compared to before. It is now possible to set it as low as possible. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our customers.
Even now, Japanese musical instrument stores that are only open locally sell their products slowly, and their profit margins are as high as before, which is why prices are so high.
However, even though we are now able to set our profit margins much lower, there was a time when we wondered whether it was necessary to lower prices this much. We decided to take the plunge and drastically lower the price, thinking that we want people to understand our products and to pass on the goodness to the next generation, and if we do that, we might be able to regain the vibrancy we had before.
We no longer live in an era where musical instruments are too expensive to start, or where the monthly tuition for classes is too high to continue, but now we live in an era where instruments are cheaper than before, and you can easily start studying on your own with introductory books and DVDs. I think so. This is also thanks to the customers who use our company.
Nowadays, we receive a lot of criticism from our peers for selling not only musical instruments but also accessories at low prices, but we strive every day to make as many customers as possible across the country happy. We will continue to sell our products at low prices so that the Japanese musical instrument industry can regain its former vibrancy and more people can appreciate its quality.
I would be happy if the Japanese music world could regain some of its former vibrancy.