Back story: My mom is Japanese, I'm half Japanese. We're both from Okinawa (and so is my brother). A few years ago I went to Okinawa to visit family and decided to buy a shamisen (which I was just told is technically a "sanshin"), so I got a cheap-ish one and brought it back, but never really played it. My mom's friends have a shamisen group, so my mom ended up asking if she could buy it from me and started playing in that group. Now she wants me to build her a better one. Luckily, she said she doesn't care if it sounds like a sanshin and she's okay with it being a little different as long as she can play it the same way. She decided she wants claro walnut for the front and back of the body. The front and back would normally be covered with skin (snake skin for the expensive ones) or some type of cloth from what I've seen. The rest of it will be made of maple. I went to Menards today and found this cool looking piece of maple hidden behind a bunch of ugly boards. Look at the flame! And it's mostly brown instead of white, but has different shades and dark lines and a white edge. I like it. This board (it started as one) is 6" wide and I only need 3.25" of it for the body parts and for some reason my mom doesn't want the white side, so hey, I think I might make a neck or two out of the scraps! Of course the side she doesn't want has the most flame too. Here's the claro walnut I'm going to use. Here are pictures of the current sanshin for reference. The snake skin is fake. (I wouldn't have bought it if it were real skin). It doesn't look like it should be too difficult. No frets, no fingerboard, the neck is level with the body, not really a whole lot of shaping to do, no truss rod or anything as far as I can tell, no electronics, no cavities, and I don't really need to buy any hardware. I think I can make the pegs, bridge, and nut. From what I've seen online the neck attaches to the body by having basically a square dowel rod extending from it all the way through the body, which ends up being the end pin. I assume it's also glued in place. The body seems to be a hollow square that ends up rounded. I think I can do most of that on the bandsaw.