More DIY Shamisen Bachi (for Tsugaru Shamisen)

Here are two DIY bachi I made after my first one.

In 2017 September, I began to make another Shamisen bachi. The idea was to use my spare Delrin block to make the handle. Delrin is a type of heavy duty plastic, yet very machinable. It does not scatter like the acrylic ones. In fact, Delrin is common material for guitar picks. Indeed, I was thinking about using my blocks as the plectrum part. A small appears to be the right size of a handle, and appeared to be heavy enough. The end product hence does not require additional lead insert. Of course, it wouldn’t be difficult to insert weight.

I now favor this bachi very much. I do own a bekkou bachi, but I always fear that I would damage it. With this, I am sure that it wouldn’t scatter easily. I have no problem throwing it into my soft case, or in my chaotic bag. It is quite flexible, and make moderate snap. Of course, the bekkou bachi would produce a much stronger snap.

Same as my last bachi, I used Dr. Mike’s crafter glue to glue the cellulose acetate to the Delrin, both are tricky material to be glued. Speaking of gluing Delrin, apparently modern harpsichord jacks are made of Delrin. Last month, I had to glue a broke jack, and the super glue we had really could not glue it. I did not have my Dr. Mike’s glue. Luckily, we found some fish line, which I tied the parts together and glued together with our regular super glue. The glue would glue the nylon fish line, that’s why.

I didn’t know how I broke my plastic bachi. Although I did not like it at all, it still felt a loss. Then, I drop it another time, and it scattered further. Darn! It wasn’t that bad… It is not that easy to make a handle. Therefore, I cut off the top, and made a new plectrum out of it. I was not very patient, it turned out not as symmetrical as it could have. It’s alright to use. I kept the plectrum fairly thick, as it snaps less and is quieter when I practice at night. If I wanted it thinner, I could certainly shave more material. This blue sheet is also cellulose acetate, I bought another one since the shipping is the same.

Chung Wan Choi