General purpose scissors, GP shears or Ashinaga Basami, are used for all sorts of pruning activities (as the name would suggest). Its an essential tool for any bonsai trainer and can be used for anything from pruning leaves, roots, cutting branches or even wire (although the latter is not advised; your shears will become blunt from cutting wire). The ergonomic handle, long neck and sharp lengthy blades make this a true multipurpose tool.
When to use it?
The general purpose scissors can be used for pruning of the leaves, twigs, branches and roots. If you are just starting out with bonsai, this should be the first tool to buy. Because you can use it for a variety of tasks, it will be an invaluable asset to your tools collection.
When not to use it?
Well, there aren’t a lot of situations that you can’t use general purpose scissors. You can ask yourself whether you should use it in any situation of course. As mentioned before, don’t use your GP shears for cutting wire, because your blades will get blunt. Also consider the size and weight of your tool in comparison to the task it has to fulfill. Small general purpose scissors aren’t the right tool to cut a massive branch or get rid of a very thick root. Obviously.
For a comprehensive overview of all bonsai tools and their application, check out the Daily Bonsai Tools Wiki page.