The sanshin, more than any other instrument, symbolizes Okinawan and Yaeyama music. The three-string instrument has had a tremendous influence on the rustic and earthy folk songs of Yaeyama and Ryukyu as well as on eisa folk dancing, pop music, and even rock.

Sonica Instruments has successfully sampled all the distinctive warmth of the sanshin’s cozy tones, creating a comprehensive Kontakt library.

Besides capturing the raw sounds with absolute fidelity, we spent considerable time researching the sanshin and enhancing the library to allow performers to personalize the instrument to their taste.

You will feel the breezes of Okinawa and Yaeyama the moment you hear this library.

Main Features​

  • The library features samples from two sanshin models with different tonal characteristics: a modern genuine snakeskin model with bright, transparent tones, and a vintage genuine snakeskin model with very deep and rich tones.
  • Contains a wide assortment of finger-whistling sounds essential for enlivening performances of Okinawan music.
  • Comes with nine picking styles, as well as finger-slide noises and string-muting noises.
  • Alternate picking function lets the performer play a succession of alternating downstrokes and upstrokes.
  • String mode mechanism specifies the string to be played to bring out the instrument’s full range of expressiveness just like a real sanshin.
  • In addition to three preset tunings — standard tuning (hon choshi), second-string raised tuning (ni-age choshi), and third-string lowered tuning (san-sage choshi), the instrument’s key can be freely transposed.
  • Tuning mechanism allows for relative volume adjustments and fine-tuning of each string.
  • Three plectrum types are available — fingernail, water buffalo plectrum, and guitar pick — with control over the picking impact component.
  • The string character selector offers three types of strings: Thick, Normal, and Thin.
  • Keyboard legato function provides instant execution of hammer-ons, pull-offs, and trills.
  • 257 sanshin accompaniment patterns recorded as MIDI grooves taken from 72 melodies based on traditional songs and folk tunes from Okinawa and Yaeyama.
  • All samples recorded in 24-bit / 96 kHz high resolution for vivid, powerful sounds.
  • Create your own mixes with the multi-microphone samples and a dedicated mixer with individual controls for Direct, Overhead, Room, and Stereo Mix.
  • NKS ready and Kontakt Player compatible.


$260  $195

Special sale price available until August 25.

Product Specifications

  • Kontakt Player 6.6 and higher.
  • Native Access compatible
  • Data size:29 GB

User manual

You will feel the breezes of Okinawa and Yaeyama the moment you hear this library.

Features samples from two sanshin models: modern and vintage.

Sanshin contains samples from two sanshin models with different sound tendencies. The vintage model is over 50 years old and features a mellow but deep and rich tone that is perfect for performing classic songs. The modern model is a recently produced specimen with bright, very versatile tones suitable for many music styles.

Finger whistling is an essential element of Okinawan music, making an appearance in nearly any eisa or kachashi folk dance. The library includes a large assortment of these finger-whistling sounds with various lengths and variations. The pitch and length of each sound is adjustable so you can incorporate the ideal cheery accompaniment for your musical composition.

Nine picking styles, plus finger-slide noises and string-muting noises.

To recreate the sanshin’s kaleidoscope of expressions, we included finger-slide noises and muting noises for each string in addition to multiple articulations.

Pursuit of reality as a musical instrument​

Sanshin performances are centered on single-note phrases. To recreate this playing style, Sanshin has a string mode mechanism that lets you select and play a specific string. In this mode, each string behaves like an independent instrument.

While performing, the string to be played can be instantly selected with key switches. This mode lets you move precisely between the three strings, just as you would on the real instrument.

Sanshin comes with three common sanshin tunings: standard tuning (hon choshi), second-string raised tuning (ni-age choshi), and third-string lowered tuning (san-sage choshi). After changing the tuning, the pitches remain arranged chromatically on the keyboard, but the open-string pitches change, thereby recreating the distinct sound of each tuning. The instrument’s key can be transposed from -7 to +4 in semitone increments.

In addition to adjusting the relative volume of each string, you can fine tune each string in cent increments over a range of ±100 cents.

Instrument Editor controls the character of the instrument’s sound

The Instrument Editor gives you a choice of plectrums and string gauges to find the ideal sound for your song or musical style. There are three plectrum types available — fingernail, water buffalo plectrum, and guitar pick — and three string gauges — Thick, Normal, and Thin. You can also adjust the picking impact (attack) component and the volume of the string-touch noise.

Keyboard legato function provides instant execution of articulations specific to stringed instruments

Sanshin gives you access to hammer-ons and pull-offs, articulations specific to stringed instruments, as well as hajiki trills, a type of tapping specific to the sanshin. When using the keyboard legato function, the library will automatically switch articulations when playing legato on a MIDI keyboard. Because no key switches are needed, these articulations can be executed more evenly.

The legato mode can be enabled or disabled in real time with a key switch.

MIDI Groove Browser

SANSHIN features the incredibly useful Groove Browser, that lets you quickly find MIDI grooves and drag & drop grooves directly into your DAW.

You can adjust the grooves’ velocity, swing, playback tempo, and other parameters directly from KONTAKT / KOMPLETE KONTROL.

The library contains 257 sanshin accompaniment patterns recorded as MIDI grooves, taken from 72 melodies based on well-known traditional songs and folk tunes from Okinawa and Yaeyama.

When combined with the soon-to-be-released Groove Inspirations MIDI pack, the Groove Browser gives you access to an extensive phrase bank.

Multi-microphone samples
in full 24-bit / 96 kHz high resolution

Atsushi Kajiku played the sanshin for the recording sessions, bringing out every nuance and expression the instrument is capable of.

More than eight microphones of various types and colorless mic preamps were used in the recording sessions. The library successfully recreates the sanshin’s vivid and powerful sound thanks to the meticulous microphone setup and the detailed 24-bit / 96 kHz high-resolution recordings.

The samples were captured with three stereo microphone positions — Direct, Overhead, and Room — plus a Stereo Mix. Full mixing control is available, with individual Volume, Pan, Reverb Send, and EQ adjustments for each channel. The parallel output bus sends the microphone channels to individual DAW tracks for finer mixing sessions.

The library comes with 30 convolution reverbs, including two impulse responses from a Noh theater renowned among musicians for its acoustics. The convolution reverbs permit high-quality in-instrument sound creation.

NKS & Native Access ready

SANSHIN is NKS compatible so it can be used with Kontakt Player, Kontakt Full (Ver. 6.6 or newer), and Komplete Kontrol.

When SANSHIN is linked with a Komplete Kontrol keyboard or other NKS-compatible hardware, you can quickly preview tones and make full use of the hardware’s knobs and controllers.

Product Specifications

FormatFree KONTAKT PLAYER version 6.6 and higher, or KONTAKT version 6.6 and higher.
Data size~29 GB NCW format (equivalent to 57 GB in wav format)
System RequirementsSee the Native Instruments website for the latest system requirements for KONTAKT and KONTAKT PLAYER.
User manualOnline Manual


Official artist Tetsuhiro Daiku

Born in Arakawa, Ishigaki, Tetsuhiro Daiku continues to bring the world closer together through his frequent performances in Okinawa, other parts of Japan, and countries around the world.

He has carved out a place as a preeminent performer of Yaeyama folk music, with a diverse repertoire of traditional island songs drawn from across the Yaeyama District. His intimate performances of island

music captivate the hearts of many. Tetsuhiro Daiku also runs Yaeyama folk music schools throughout Japan, as he passionately champions Okinawan and Yaeyama folk music education and appreciation. He is easily the most active musician in Okinawa today.

Performer for the Sanshin recordings Atsushi Kajiku

Atsushi Kajiku is the tourism ambassador for Japan’s southernmost town, Taketomicho. He was born on the island of Hatomajima, with a circumference of four kilometers located in the Yaeyama District of Okinawa, in the town of Taketomicho with a population of 50. Not only is he a sanshin artist performing on a multitude of stages and events, he is also a tireless promoter of Okinawan culture and tourism through events and media across Japan. He is the main personality on the Okinawan-related radio programs Okinawa Colors on date fm (FM Sendai) and Ryukyu Limited: The Super Kariyushi Express on Kawasaki FM. Atsushi Kajiku is a multitalented entertainer, even singing the national anthem at an interleague game between the Rakuten Golden Eagles and the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

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Complete Bundle

All Virtuoso Japanese Series titles, bundled with 10 products.



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