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How to read KunKunshi and Basic Finger Positions:

                           Tuning Your Sanshin

                         The general tuning for the Sanshin is called Honchoshi. The common tuning is CFC
                                      However it is ideal to adjust the tuning to match your singing ability. 

                                                                 Other common tunings are
                                                                                 B E B
                                                          See the video for a BEB Tuning


                                                                                                                                                                                                                         San Sage                  Hon Choshi          NI Age                      Ichi Ni Age

           The above chart illustrates various Tuning from the Honshoshi tuning  position, forexample if you are tuned to CFC as your honchoushi and a song requires a san-sage tuning, your new tuning will be CFA#

                           Setting The Uma*

                                            * Special Thanks To Simple Sanshin Source for Info

The uma is the bridge that holds up the gen (strings) of the sanshin. Usually made of bamboo, uma are quite fragile and just as necessary to keep spares of as strings.

Setting up the uma is pretty simple. Thread the uma under the strings where the sou and chiiga meet, and as you lift the strings up, move the uma down towards the end of the sanshin. It’s important to lift the uma up as you move it over the body of the sanshin so you don’t scratch up the snakeskin.

Then you’ll want to set the uma so that it’s two to three fingers away from the itokake. Set it too close to the middle and you’ll lose sound quality. Also, most uma are shaped slanting one way, and look somewhat like a right triangle; you want to make sure that the straight side is facing the itokake.
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Sanshin parts*
 * Special Thanks To Simple Sanshin Source for Info

bachi, tsume  - The nail like piece used to play the sanshin.

chiiga  - The square-like wooden body of the sanshin.

chiru/jiru/gen  - Strings used with the sanshin.

itokake  - A round threaded piece placed at the end of the sanshin to the hold the gen to the sanshin.

karakui  - Pegs used to tune the sanshin.

sou  - The long piece of wood that makes up the neck of the sanshin.

tiigaa  - The decorative cloth that’s wrapped around the body of the of the sanshin.

uma  - The bridge used to hole up the strings on the drum.


chindami  - The sanshin’s tuning.

kunkunshi  - Music sheets used for the sanshin.

miijiru  - Literally translated as “Female string,” it’s the thinnest and highest pitched string on the sanshin.

nakajiru - “Middle string.”

ten  - The “head” part of the sanshin.

utaguchi - The bar below box-like cutout in the head of the sanshin where the gen are set.

uujiru - Literally translated as “male string,” it’s the thickest and lowest sounding string on the sanshin.

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The format

In Japanese, traditional sentences are written vertically from right to left; kunkunshi are also written in that order. So when you read a kunkunshi, you want start at the top right and work your way down, and then move from right to left.

You should also notice that the kunkunshi is made up of squares, and for your basic songs, one note will take up one square. One square equals one beat, so remember to play the notes at a faster beat whenever you see two notes in one square, or three notes across two squares.

The symbols
The circle means to “rest,” usually for one beat.
This marks the start of a repeated section. (Repeat starting here.)
This marks the end of a repeated section. (Return to the down-pointing arrow after this note.)
*note: Similar to the arrows, there are sometimes extending circle markers to show where to start and stop playing from.
This apostrophe-like mark above a note means to press down on a note w/o strumming. Sort of like hammering a note on a guitar.
Usually notes are played by striking the bachi down on the string, but for these notes you play striking up.
These small circles mark where the singing begins.
The squares mark where the singing ends.
*note: The circle and square are used in two different ways. Sometimes they only mark where the singing starts and ends, and other times they mark each phrase of the song.

Proper Sanshin Posture

Proper posture is very important when playing the Sanshin. Here are some posture tips:

1. Back Straight, Head up

2. Chest out and shoulders rolled back slightly

3. Sanshin neck (sao) or top tuning peg, at near       shoulder height on same side.

4. Sanshin spaced about 15cm 4-5 Inches from

5. The wrist of the strumming hand should be relaxed and placed at about the ten or eleven o'
 clock position on top of the Dou (Sanshin body)

6. The hand holding the neck should be relaxed,  and should not grip the neck. The neck should be simply set on top of the hand in between the thumb and the forefinger.

See Photo:

Lets Practice Asadoya Yunta

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