Introduction: PVC Shamisen Stand With Bachi Holder

About: I have a FB page called "DIY Taiko". I am a classical trained composer, taiko player, and sound engineer. Most of my DIY are creative solution to a frugal living style. Sometimes it's just easier to …

Shamisen is a Japanese 3-string instrument, which resembles the banjo. They are hard to get by outside Japan. Depending on the style, it would cost more than $2000 for a well made one. When we finally get one for ourselves, we are afraid to damage them. The plectrum (bachi) are expensive fragile pieces of accessory; they shatter easily if dropped to the ground. Moreover, holding a bachi correctly takes a lot of practice, which means they are more prompt to damage. Basically, we love this instrument, and we want to keep them safe.There are various commercial products out there that can hold a shamisen, such as violin holder.

If you have seen my other Instructables, I have built various practical objects with PVC pipes, shamisen stand is very simple to construct. I have used my shamisen stands for over a year, they have even been on the stage. Most handy feature is the bachi holder, and it's foldable.

My most ambitious project is DIY Taiko, you can find more info at

Step 1: DIfferent Variations

The base are the same. I usually wrap something soft between the shamisen and the stand. I have used bike tire, foam pieces, and old socks. Then I use zip ties to tie them.

  • Tools
    • Measuring tape / ruler
    • PVC cutter (since it only involves few pieces, you might choose to just use a saw if you don't have a pvc cutter.)

Step 2: Material (basic Compact Version)

This list is for the most simple version. Click on the picture for more details.

  • PVC pipes - 3/4" (length varies, see picture)
  • Fittings
    • 90 degree elbows - 3/4" x5
    • Tee - 1.25" x 1 x 1.25" x 1
    • Tee - 3/4"

This is what I have used on stage.

When you buy fittings, make sure you try to insert the elbow into the big tee (bachi holder) piece. It is unconventional to put fittings together like this. Therefore the outer diameter of the 3/4" fittings might be too big or too small. If the connection is too loose, put a piece of electric tape / masking tape to make it snug, yet still movable if you try hard enough.

Step 3: Complex Version

If you ever need more holders, the concept is the same. I just try to insert 1" fittings into 3/4" fittings.

Step 4: Yet Another Version

I still prefer to have a bachi holder.

Step 5: Add Padding!

Use any soft material to avoid scratching your beloved instrument. I typically use zip ties to tie them to the pvc pipe.

Some material suggestions:

  • Old mouse pad
  • Old socks
  • Old towel
  • Old t-shirt

Step 6: Stand on Stage

If you want, it's easy to paint the stand, or just wrap electric tape around the whole stand. I used the basic version for a performance without turning it black! I was switching between instruments, that's why bachi holder was so convenient! Although the shamisen was poorly miked, you will be able to see how I used it very clearly. (2:35)

Thanks for viewing, hope this design will help you to keep your shamisen well.