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Apr 14, 2024 - 12:13:07 AM
3 posts since 4/13/2024

I've bought a few goatskins on amazon for repairing shamisen and the results varies quite a bit. Some are entirely opaque while others are translucent.  Traditional shamisen skins are generally opaque so I'm trying to avoid translucency as much as possible (a small patch can be okay).

So what should I look out for when I buy skins? Does it only come down to thickness or how the skin is stretched? I heard stretching works the collagen causing opaqueness but if that's the case, can i rehydrate and stretch the skins that I'm currently dissatisfied with? 

For the future, I'm probably going to switch vendors so any recommendations on that would be great (I was looking at carverbanjo).

Apr 14, 2024 - 12:46:19 AM
like this



959 posts since 2/22/2009

The man you want to consult with is John Balch he can answer your questions and has a great wealth of knowledge in the hide heads Type in JDbalch hide heads he recently had a family emergency and his site was on hold for a bit but he will help you for sure !

Apr 14, 2024 - 5:01:24 AM



8940 posts since 11/28/2003

What thickness range do you use for shamisen?

Apr 14, 2024 - 9:01:27 PM

3 posts since 4/13/2024

jbalch around 1mm according to one source. it can vary a bit though, especially with different styles.

Apr 17, 2024 - 10:00:50 AM



8940 posts since 11/28/2003

1mm seems very thick. For banjo I use goat hides that are .014" = 0.356mm

If you requitre them that thick, I would recommend sourcing those through a drum supplier or maker.

I have a couple of 18" round, whitened, goat hides too thick for banjo (maybe 0.5mm). Send me a PM if you want to try them.

Apr 24, 2024 - 7:12:02 AM

3 posts since 4/13/2024

Yeah I was skeptical of that measurement too. That came from a book that Kyle Abbott ( a shamisen player/maker) wrote. He writes a guide on how to build a shamisen. This is speculation on my part but his reasoning might be because; carnivorous animals have denser skin (he says this in the book) that a thicker herbivore skin may be needed.

Anyway, I had to acquire some calipers to do some of my own measurements from broken skins from some used shamisen I collected. If I had to guess, I'd probably need 0.6-0.8mm thick skins still fairly thick. Other styles of shamisen would need 0.4mm-0.6mm skins.

I could be wrong and my only example for tsugaru shamisen skin is just thinner than average. The others (not tsugaru) fell in between the 0.4-0.6 range. I sent a DM incase you read this first.

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