Website: Simple Sanshin Source


Simple Sanshin Source is “an English-based guide to the Okinawan sanshin” that features kunkunshi (sheet music), lyrics, and tips by Kenji, a self-taught sanshin enthusiast. Given that I haven’t been very good at updating Three Strings, Simple Sanshin Source looks to be the online place to learn about the sanshin. There’s also a YouTube channel with sanshin tutorials so check it out!

El Okinawa Goes YouTube and We Love It!

El Okinawa, known as being a great online (although they also have a brick-and-mortar store near Kokusai-dori) resource for purchasing Okinawan instruments has just started posting instructional clips up on YouTube about a month ago. Besides the how-to on attaching a guitar strap to your sanshin, they also have a clip on the correct way to hold your bachi (plectrum) and one on stringing your sanshin.

Highly Recommended: Sanshin’s Matsuda (

I mentioned in my “In The Works…” post that I was in the final stages of procuring a few CDs direct from Okinawa and today, I received my shipment. 😀

The best (or only) way to get your hands on Okinawan music is on the web and although there are very, very good online stores that ship outside of Japan such as CDJapan,, iTunes, and, you won’t be able to find that gem of an album of upcoming utasaa (folk singers) on those. So I decided to check up on my favorite online sanshin store (they also have a fine brick-and-mortar store in Futenma too) (aka Sanshin’s [also Sansin’s] Matsuda) and they had it in stock! It took me some contemplating on whether to contact them via email or not and after a few days the message was sent asking them if they would be willing to ship to Hawaii which they wholeheartedly said yes to. 🙂
Continue reading “Highly Recommended: Sanshin’s Matsuda (”

Other Ways to Tune Your Sanshin

Tuners for the sanshin.

Here’s additional information on gear you can use to help with your sanshin tuning.

  1. AW-1 Micro Tuner from Korg — all the cool kids are using it.
  2. TU-12 Chromatic Tuner from BOSS — the ol’ standby which I’ve owned for over 15 years but used mostly for guitar/bass tuning.
  3. Pitch Instrument (P-13E) from Tombo — your grandfather’s father’s tuner! Durable, easy to carry around in your pocket.
  4. iPod from Apple — Me? An Apple fanboy? It’s possible to make an audio file of different pitches and have it on the ready in your iPod. Yes, really. 😉
Korg Micro Tuner on a sanshin.

A reference pic for those who may be wondering what that thing (it’s the AW-1 Micro Tuner from Korg) is on the ‘ten’ of a person’s sanshin. Now you know. 🙂