Samisen(redirected from shamisens)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
a Japanese stringed instrument played by plucking. The samisen consists of a body, the wooden sides of which are covered on the top and bottom with skin, a wooden neck and fingerboard, and three strings; the body has no sound holes. The strings are tuned in a fourth and a fifth, in two fourths, or in two fifths. The sound is produced by means of a large, shovel-shaped plectrum, used to strike not only the strings at the point where the neck joins the body but also the belly of the instrument. The chosen and kirisen are variants of the samisen.