5 years in the making. This build has pushed me to my limits of crafting skill, incorporating art and engineering to create a one-of-a-kind tsugaru shamisen that I have put every bit of myself into. Now, I am pleased to finally reveal my completed shamisen build - Masamune. (1/n)
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When I first started the conceptual design of this shamisen, I not only wanted to create my ultimate dream shamisen, but a shamisen of legendary status, pushing the boundaries of modern design with unique features and a style not previously done before in shamisen making. (2/)
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Over the 5 years I carefully designed and selected materials that not only reflect my aesthetics, but have personal significance as well, painstakingly crafting each and every feature, and waiting to begin learning tsugaru shamisen again after years of hiatus. (3/n)
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Besides the standard dimensions for tsugaru shamisen, every aspect of this shamisen build is completely unique, from the fully laminated construction, to the custom damascus style pattern welded carbon steel hardware, heel, and sawari mechanism. (4/n)

4:16 PM ยท Oct 15, 2021

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This particular feature is one of my favorites of the shamisen - the saruo, or heel, which flares out much further than traditionally into a unique flowing shape, following the entire curve of the body, with the figured woods wrapping around the contours. (5/n)
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The shamisen itself features a number of woods from around the world, with a laminated style construction not yet adopted in shamisen making or design - figured bubinga, curly maple, Australian red mallee burl, curly mahogany, camtillo, and gabon ebony. (6/n)
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The shamisen is skinned using black Hibiki, the most advanced synthetic skins on the market for shamisen, courtesy of Kyle Abbott from Bachido, who did an incredible job skinning the instrument, resulting in an incredibly crisp, pro-level sound. (7/n)
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A big part of the inspiration of the build theme, and the name Masamune, comes from the grain pattern along the fretboard, which immediately reminded me of the hamon patterns seen on famous blades, most notably from the legendary master himself, Goro Masamune. (8/)
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One of the most unique features to the theme of this build is the custom hardware, made from acid etched damascus style pattern welded carbon steel, which can be seen for the rindou, zagane, and sawari screw cap, which took over a year alone to work out the details. (9/)
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Several unique features can be found on the tenjin (headstock), from the 14k rose gold kamigoma (nut) inspired by my wife to the unique sawari of my own design, combining both traditional rectangular and circular styles and a multi-layered pattern of ebony and brass (10/n)
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I want to also give a huge shoutout and thanks to my younger brother, who does amateur photography on the side, for spending hours over the weekend helping set up and take some truly amazing shots of this shamisen for the final build reveal. (11/n)
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Finally, a very special thanks to my amazing wife, whom I met because of my simple and humble first homemade shamisen years ago, who has supported and stood by my side through everything, and has inspired much of this build and everything else I do. (12/n)
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