If you're like me, you feel the shamisen is unquestionably an amazing work of art. The many curves catch the light in perfect ways. I love the stunning image of the shamisen and am always left with a smile while admiring the sheer beauty.
This being said, a close colleague informed me of a rare masterpiece-level shamisen being masterfully crafted with only a limited number in existence. As one who is so focused on accessibility, the idea of a limited-edition shamisen made me think, "What's the point?".
(Update: Due to a discovery of more materials, this instrument is no longer extremely-limited!)
Well, that thought immediately vanished when I laid my eyes on Eclipse! Without further rambling, please enjoy the gallery and let the pictures explain why this instrument is such a masterpiece.
フルサイズ (19 pics)
- Dou: Karin (High Grade) Size 5 (Tsugaru)
- Sao: Karin – Highest Grade (Toguchi Tiger Stripe)
Special Feature: Sao topped with solid, high grade shitan (rosewood)
- Sao Size: 28.5mm wide x 33.5mm thick – Mitsuori (three-piece neck)
- Itomaki: Nejiri (twisted) / Satin wood joined with rosewood
- Skin: Ripple, FiberSen or Vintage Tone
- Hardware: Azuma Sawari, Rindo, Zagane, and Kamigoma
- Accessories not included
Eclipse: A Master’s Dedication
Eclipse is a incredibly unique shamisen for many reasons. After viewing the gallery, you might wonder why so much masterful detail was used for a karin-based shamisen (in a time when kouki is, in my opinion, mistakenly regarded as a superior wood). The inspiration all starts with the karin wood.
Toguchi: Tiger Stripe
When the highest-level master shamisen craftsman were inspired to make Eclipse, they weren’t looking at ordinary Karin wood. They had the highest grade and rarest variety of Karin. This Karin wood features a very intricate tiger stripe grain called Toguchi.
Karin featuring tiger stripe grain is so difficult to find, and the master craftsman thought there was only enough for ten shamisen. They decided to dedicate their immense skill to make these shamisen the most incredible masterpieces never seen before in Japan.
Update Almost a year after the release of the Eclipse, the craftsman discovered a large supply of this wood in their vast storerooms (where premium high-grade wood has been stored for several decades) and decided to continue making these masterpieces!
The Mark of a Master
To enjoy the beauty of Toguchi Karin and still achieve the clean tone of a hard surface, the craftsmen topped the sao with solid rosewood!
But that isn’t all! The craftsmen wanted to deeply express how unique these shamisen are. Together, they pushed the limits of their mastery by perfectly extending the rosewood past the sao, connecting it with the tenjin and flowing it back into the Karin wood!
Because kouki is still viewed as the number one wood in Japan, it’s unfortunate that this beautiful work from master Japanese craftsman will most likely be overlooked in Japan. However, they wanted to honor this wood and are very proud of their work. This is the result of decades of experience from a workshop with history over 120 years! Bachido recognizes their dedication and passion, and is honored to be the first to reveal this masterpiece to the world!
Ripple: A New Synthetic
Recently, the shamisen world has been abuzz with a brand new synthetic skin called Ripple. Like Fibersen, Ripple also boasts a tone nearly-identical to natural skin with it’s high tension and sharp tone (which is slightly richer than Fibersen).
Watching the development of Eclipse, I knew a charcoal black skin would match perfectly with this incredible shamisen. Thus, I reached out to another colleague who has learned to dye the synthetic skin before tightly stretching it on the dou. (Note: The coloring process is permanent and doesn’t affect the strength of the skin.)
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when picking up Eclipse. But after playing a few notes, my jaw dropped. This is the best shamisen I have ever played!
Everything about Eclipse felt right. My hands enjoyed the lighter weight combined with the hard topside for clear intonation. My eyes were feasting on the beautiful tiger stripe grain while my ears peaked at the clarity from every note! The sawari (buzzing) effect was alive and energetic, and the tone was incredibly resonant and booming. I could fully express a whole range of emotions through the instrument.
The master craftsman committed themselves to create a masterpiece, and I believe they’ve succeeded.
To help you get started with your brand-new Eclipse, I am including several learning materials for free!
- Bachido Shamisen Crash Course
- Premium Shamisen Course: Tsugaru Jonkara Bushi (Kyu)
- Premium Shamisen Course: Tsugaru Jonkara Bushi (Shin)
- Premium Shamisen Course: The Nitta Ryu Intensive Technique Pack
- Premium Shamisen Course: Advanced Kamashi
Note: A Bachido membership (free) is required to access the courses. To unlock the courses, please contact Bachido after ordering the Eclipse Shamisen. Include the full name on your Bachido account, as well as your paypal receipt for the Eclipse Shamisen. After your account and purchase has been verified, the courses will be unlocked to your account.
Purchase your Eclipse
Get your Accessories!To bring the price as low as possible, all recommended accessories are sold separately. Find them below, and get cases or other accessories in the Bachido Store!. (The Eclipse Shamisen is shipped from a separate dealer, and can't be combined with other items from the Bachido Store. Sorry!)
Bachido Doukake- by Kyle AbbottThe Bachido Doukake is hand-lacquered with a super hard resin and glistens with a "dipped in glass"-like appearance. It is very durable and will keep your shamisen protected while looking simply stunning! Prepare yourself for the oncoming compliments! Includes faux-leather cord and Bachido Saofuki. (Your choice of color.) Handmade in California by Kyle Abbott. Check it out!
津軽糸セットパック (IT-TS) Ito Set Pack (Tsugaru)
音緒 (NE-T) Neo
胴ゴムシール (DO-GM) Dou Gomu Shi-ru
譜尺 (SF-1) Fujaku
指掛け (YB-M) Yubikake
べっ甲調撥 (BA-BC) Faux-Bekkou Bachi
木撥 (BA-K) Wooden Bachi
プラスチック撥 (BA-P) Plastic Bachi
竹駒 (KM-T) Bamboo Koma
先骨竹駒 (KM-TB) Bamboo Koma (Bone Tip)
材質: 台部分 – 竹 / 糸道部分– 骨
忍び駒 (KM-SNOBI) Shinobi Koma
「静」忍び駒 (KM-SNOBI2) Shinobi Koma - Deluxe
Eclipse Shamisen are built per order. Please allow three weeks for construction)
Return PolicyThere is a 90 day return policy (which starts on the first day of shipment) for the Eclipse Shamisen. All returns are subject to a 15% restocking fee, and shipping costs must be covered by the customer.
We stand behind the quality of our shamisen with the highest standards. The Eclipse Shamisen is made by the best maker in Japan and skinned with the highest quality skin in Japan. Thus, we will not accept "lack of quality" as a reason for return. Please be certain that you are ready to invest in the Eclipse Shamisen before purchasing.
The Eclipse Shamisen must be returned in new condition. Any signs of wear or damage to the instrument, whether from use or during shipping, will void the warranty. If this is the case, we will provide evidence of the fault, and the refund will not be given. If this is the case, the customer must cover shipping costs to have it sent back to his/her address.
We apologize for the strictness of the policy. The shamisen is a fragile instrument, and there's always risk of damage during shipping, which is why we wish to keep returns to a minimum.
DamagesThe Eclipse Shamisen is fully insured from initial shipment to until final delivery. If the Eclipse Shamisen is damaged upon arrival, please proceed with the following instructions to receive compensation/replacement.
1. Contact us within 48 hours of receipt notifying us of the damage.
2. Send us at least three photos: one photo of the full product, a close-up (or several) of the damage, and a photo of the package.
3. We may ask you to fill a “damage claims form” at your local post office for reimbursement purposes.
4. In most circumstances, we will pay shipping costs for your replacement. In special cases, we may ask that you pay shipping costs.
The skin of the Eclipse Shamisen is guaranteed up to 6 months (starting from initial shipment). We will only request shipping costs to be covered by the customer. If the skin ruptures before then, please proceed with the following instructions to receive skin replacement.
1. Contact us within 48 hours of receipt notifying us of the ruptured skin.
2. Send us at least two photos: one photo of the full dou (body), and a close-up (or several) of the tear in the skin.
3. When we confirm the your Eclipse Shamisen is covered for skin replacement, we will tell you the address of where to send the Eclipse Shamisen dou (body) for skin replacement, and will request a specified payment to cover costs of return shipping.
4. Please watch this video to learn how to remove the dou (body) from the Eclipse Shamisen Watch how to remove the dou.
5. When the dou is separated from the shamisen, please pack it tightly in a box, filled with lots of protective packaging to prevent potential damage to the dou during shipping.
6. Send it to the address we provide. Once it arrives, it will be reskinned as soon as possible, and then sent back to your address.
To ensure longevity of the skin:Keep your shamisen inside, in a cool, dry environment. Extreme heat (inside a hot car, for example) or cold stresses the skin.
Remove the koma from the shamisen after every practice session. The koma puts pressure on the skin. When the shamisen is not in use, removing the koma will increase the lifespan of the skin.
Play your shamisen often! The more you play, the better your shamisen will sound! Just like how doing yoga keeps your body flexible and limber, playing the shamisen often will keep the skin vibrating. Vibrating the skin keeps it supple and responsive. On the other hand, when the shamisen isn't played often, the skin will get brittle, and thus prone to breaking sooner.