Does Chords Canada have a catalogue?

Chords' catalogue is entirely on our website. We have chosen not to have a printed catalogue for two reasons. The first is that it is environmentally better all around not to have one. The second is that, using an online catalogue, it is easier to keep our product information up to date for you.

Do you show prices online, or do you have online ordering?

Chords Canada's website does not list prices, and we also do not currently offer online purchasing (shopping cart). There are a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost, we just enjoy giving you old-fashioned, top-notch customer service. We want to offer a more personalized experience to our customers, rather than just a "click and buy" service. In addition, our experience over the years is that the majority of our customers have many questions and/or want advice before they order. Many are beginners to Japanese music, so they have no idea what they need or - more importantly to us - what they do not need. When we discuss our customers' requirements with them, it often turns out that they would have ordered a wrong item, or that they were going to order something unnecessary (such as beginner students trying to order a set of strings with their new koto or shamisen, because they do not realize the instrument comes with strings included). So by communicating with you before you place your order, we can ensure that you get the best service and the best products for your needs. (And we get to discover what nice people you are that way, too.)

You quote your prices in Canadian dollars. What do I have to do to convert that to my own currency?

If you are paying using a credit card or PayPal, you do not need to do anything at all. The entire transaction is handled for you by the card issuer or by PayPal. Chords will bill you in Canadian dollars. If you pay by credit card, when you receive your monthly statement, you will see our Canadian charge (usually in the description column), and then you will see the charge converted into your own currency in the amount column. So you just pay the amount showing on your statement. If you are paying by PayPal, the conversion usually takes place on their website as you make the payment.

If you would like an approximate conversion of our Canadian dollar pricing before you place your order, you can use the Currency Converter provided for your convenience on our navigation bar. However, please note that the Currency Converter is for information purposes only. Actual conversion rates differ from day to day and may differ according to your credit card company or PayPal.

If I buy a koto, what comes with it?

You get a ready-to-use koto set that includes the koto strung and ready to play (even though the photos on our Koto page show the instrument without strings), a set of ji (bridges), a toriidai (low wooden head stand used for playing koto on the floor), and a zippered carrying case.

If I buy a shamisen what comes with it?

You get a ready-to-use shamisen set that includes the shamisen, a set of strings, a plastic bachi (plectrum), a koma (bridge), a hizagomu (non-slip lap pad), a yubisuri (knit finger cover), and a fukuro (thin fabric sleeve to cover the shamisen). The shamisen set does not include a carrying case, which we strongly suggest you consider getting. You can look at the various hard and soft cases we have on our Shamisen Accessories page.

Will I get a receipt with my order?

Yes. When your order is ready, we will email or fax Chords' invoice to you, so that you can see the amount to be paid.

When will you ship my order?

Once your order is packed and ready to go, we send you an invoice showing the amount due. Then we will wait for you to send in your payment. Once we receive it, we generally send out your order either on the day your payment arrives, or on the next business day.

Does Chords Canada offer music lessons?

No, we do not offer music lessons directly. Please see the next question.

Can Chords Canada help me find a teacher?

Chords is happy to suggest the names of some teachers in or near your area, if we know of any. Please note that this referral service is a courtesy to our customers. While we do our best to suggest experienced teachers around the world, obtaining the name of any potential teacher from Chords or seeing any teacher name on Chords' website does not imply endorsement of the teacher by Chords or any of its employees, and Chords cannot be held responsible or liable for any communications or dealings between you and the teacher(s). We suggest you contact the teacher(s) yourself or peruse their websites carefully in advance of starting lessons, to determine whether a particular person might be right for you.

Chords is currently gathering data for a Teacher Listing page on our website. If you are a credentialed teacher of any traditional Japanese musical instrument and wish to have a listing on our website, please feel free to send in a request to add your name. To be considered for a listing, please provide your name, your instrument(s), ryūha/school affiliation, city and country where you teach, other geographical areas to which you will travel for lessons, website, and email address. Chords Canada reserves the right to accept or decline any listing at its sole discretion.

There are no teachers anywhere near me. Is there anything Chords can do to help me get started?

We are always updating our database of teachers around the world. However, sometimes it's just not possible to find someone. In that case, you may want to try our YouTube page (see Chords' Welcome page for the link). We actively search the internet on an on-going basis for tools to help people get started. Currently, you can find some beginner videos for koto, shakuhachi, nagauta shamisen, jiuta shamisen, and Tsugaru shamisen on our YouTube channel.

The skin on my shamisen needs to be replaced. Can you help me?

Yes we can refer you to people who do re-skinning, and you can then you contact them directly on your own to arrange for the work to be done.