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Rockin' The Shamisen Japanese Lute

The above clip features Kevin Kmetz & Mike Penny playing a legendary Satriani tune on the Shamisen, a 3 stringed Japanese lute which traditionally requires an awfully large pick/plectrum.

Pribek's recent post & video of Takeharu Kunimoto on a Shamisen jammin' with Buddy Guy and Chris Duarte, got me pretty intrigued about this ancient instrument. Check it out at the above link.

I just can't get over the pick! I mean, we've talked about hybrid picking, losing the pick altogether-- and guitar players are agonizing about pick sizes, shapes, materials, thickness, etc. So here we have this large object used with the Shamisen-- and if you respect tradition, I guess you're gonna hafta learn to use the giant pick that comes with it. And there'll be no dishonorable whining about it either!!!

So ya think these two ordinary average guys simply scrapped their Floyd equipped Jackson's and Laney amps one day- out of the blue- to dedicate everything to the Shamisen? What might prompt such a transition? There's a Tarantino movie theme here somewhere...

Wiki has some whacky Shamisen trivia:

(regarding the banjo-like top) "...The skin is usually from a dog or cat... On the skin of some of the best shamisen, the position of the cat's nipples can still be seen."

The cat's nipples must be a tone thing... Yeah, that's it.

Anyway, check out the Wiki link for lots more wild details about the Shamisen.

"Heeeere kitty kitty!"
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