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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #46 
I use wound steel electric guitars strings made for us by D'Addario longer than normal. These types of strings CAN be used on an acoustic sitar but may over-stress the neck especially if they are being meended to extremes. They will however not break so easily as brass or bronze but the sound (and perhaps the loudness) will be quite different from brass. If you expiriment I would approach this with great caution and use lighter than expected string gauges and work up cautiously. Depending on the scale length of your sitar loop-end banjo strings may be long enough. As with all things relating to the classical acoustic sitar the safe assumption is that in the 400 or so years the instrument has been made and perfected, assume it is close to optimal as is and be very cautious with any mods.

If you have a bone jawari the wound strings may cause issues on the surface, less so with delrin. Use the Wahuiddin Guitar String Gauge Calculator to figure the correct string gauge based on the pitch your sitar is tuned to and the note of the string in question. To be safe start out with 10 pounds of tension and slowly work up to as much as 12 or 13. Observe and measure the straightness of your neck several times daily and if you see any changes remove strings at once. Do not blame me if you ruin a perfectly good sitar, acoustic sitars are not made of carbon like the Ultra is.
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ragamala

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Reply with quote  #47 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "mayer141"
I was thinking of using my teeth as well........ :wink:
Ronson lighter fuel is still the best for setting fire to your tumba on stage, and causes less panic than walking on with a Maude jerrycan full of petrol.

Available on Amazon with Free Super Saver Delivery.
Just thought I'd throw in a useful on-topic tip.
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #48 
If you DO plan to set fire to your priceless sitar (or smash it to bits onstage)
be sure to use recent production from the sub-continent, almost all of which
is firewood anyway regardless of the name on the label as they are all made
in the same sweat shops anyway by unskilled labor at 40c per hour (day?)

The "smart" game in India these days - if you are lucky enough to be the owner
of a highly respected sitar-maker's name, is to buy sitars from the sweat shops
for $300, slap your name badge on'em, and sell them to the "farangi" for $3,000.

I am sorry to disillusion those of you who are unaware of current practices - and
I bow in obescience to any of the old school - anywhere on the planet - who still
make sitars with devotion to detail. The great names among sitar makers were
established by such people and their devoted and highly skilled employees.

There are few left unfortunately. If you want a sitar made with devotion talk to
Tony K. The love and zeal for the building of these instruments has for the most
part moved from the east to the west I am sad to say. Such is life. It has ALWAYS
been my policy in business to praise the competition so this is not self serving. I
am not in competition with ANY acoustic sitar maker anyway, I build electrics.

And I tell it like it is to the limit of my perception. It is what it is. I am not privy
to the practices of every shop but this is the general trend unfortunately. I would
put the golden age of sitar making in the 1950s through 60s, Calcutta, with the
sitars from the original Rikhi Ram shop in Dehli right up there. Things change. GF
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #49 
Before using your teeth, please make sure electric sitar is well connected to the mains!!!!!

Nick
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #50 
This is especially true if you intend to use your tongue. As for smashing it to bits.... well, good luck with that one.
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barend

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Reply with quote  #51 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "fossesitar"
I use wound steel electric guitars strings made for us by D'Addario longer than normal. These types of strings CAN be used on an acoustic sitar but may over-stress the neck especially if they are being meended to extremes. They will however not break so easily as brass or bronze but the sound (and perhaps the loudness) will be quite different from brass. If you expiriment I would approach this with great caution and use lighter than expected string gauges and work up cautiously.

If you have a bone jawari the wound strings may cause issues on the surface, less so with delrin.
So to conclude these guitar strings are useless on a normal sitar. Too much negative side effects.
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #52 
As I have not personally expirimented with this I cannot venture an opinion. Tony K tried this and did not care for it, found the sound "a bit too growley". For him it was a sound issue.
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #53 
make that "growely"
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #54 
Trippymonkey has used wound bass guitar strings for a surbahar low sa and liked it. The sitar jor (or joditar? I forget the proper spelling) to me is too integral to the sound on my sitar, particularly in the GP stringing, whereas if the low Sa is a little funky or unusual on a surb, it doesn't affect the whole performance. But yes, it would be wonderful if some string designer could come up with some interesting material less prone to breakage but preserving good tone for acoustic sitars!
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pfintucson

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Reply with quote  #55 
First I MUST confess that the burning and tooth picking is only convincing on a right handed sitar restrung and played lefty , and I'll tell ya, those tarab pegs really are hard to get around on fast taans

OK- that being out of my system....on the subjectof different string materials.... I have always marveled at the tone of a few low SA string players- listen to NB's alaps, for instance. Whenever I attempt this I have two issues- tuning is a challenge of course but also trying to get that nice "growl" out of the low SA, not just a wimpy plunk, is impossible. It has to be the jawari, am I correct? I imagine (never tried it) that a wound string would be much more solid in this heavy gauge- that is one reason why heavier strings on most fretted instruments are wound. Has anyone tried this? 2ns part to my question- is there a trick to accomplishing this sound with the normal unwound low SA?
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #56 
When strings are much shorter than their "ideal string length" the only way to get a good sound out of them is to add MASS without thickening the actual vibrating string in a way the kills tone. This is why windings are added to guitar and piano and harp strings. Think about it:

The ideal string length for middle C is about 2 feet (24 inches). That is approximately the pitch AND the string length of the bajtar at the SA fret. So the SA drone 2nd string (one octave LOWER) ideally should be 4 feet long!! But the scale length of a sitar is less than 3 feet !! That is why a BRASS (or bronze) string is used because their ideal string length for that note is SHORTER than steel by about 1/3rd due to the difference in the material or mass or something. Same for kharaj strings.

If you want to use steel you must put windings, if you used a steel string thick enough to give any string tension on the deep kharaj (ideal string length 8 feet !!) without using a wound string it would be completely dead sounding, no tone or overtones at all.

If you want to re-engineer or re-invent the sitar, or even the strings for the sitar after 400 years in development these are the types of things you will run into. Everything is a COMPROMISE. If you change one thing it changes EVERYTHING ELSE and you start over ad nauseum and almost all of this has already been done to DEATH by virtuoso players and builders over decades- centuries.

Even with the incredible metallurgy available today it is virtually impossible to come up with a better string or string system than we have haqd for 100 years. Nothing is impossible - do you have 18 million dollars to invest until we get some real financing to pursue this?? Smile. GF
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kalyan

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Reply with quote  #57 
One thing I have found about getting the growl out of the jewari on the low sa is if you are going to have a half or very closed jewari is is ok to let the open note rattle a little bit. This took me a long time to figure out I would set a nice curved jewari so the ma and chikaris were just right then open the pa string a bit with a chisel ( this can be done with just a tiny scrape at the critical point and works very well and easy) then I would do some more heavy work on the low sa but I would find when I would get the sound I wanted with the fretted mended noted it would be a bit loose and have a slight rattle when played open. Then when I would close it a bit so the rattle would go away the fretted notes would get dull. Til one day when we had quite a few Hiren roy's and one Sanjay Sharma in the store at the same time I decided to examine them and see what the trick was and I found they all had a little bit of the rattle when played open. So now I get the pa nice and open then I try to get the same sound while pulling to pa on the second third and fourth frets on the low sa, and don't worry if there is a slight rattle wnen it is open. If you have a full open jewari on the whole bridge you can easily achieve a nice open growl on the fretted notes and not get that slight rattle while playing the open string. The reason for the difference is on the more closed shape you have the back of the bridge lower and an incline that stops with a more severe roll of at the front of the bridge where the strings leave, where as on the full open you have a much flatter shape with a longer slighter curve this will be much more conducive to the fairly stiff and low tension bass string conforming to the shape of the bridge. When you try to recreate that open sound on a bridge with more and tighter angle changes you get more problems because the string is not really tight enough to be forced in to that shape easily . You could file a totally different shape for the low string but it would cause many problems when trying to touch up the jewari and you would run through the bridge much faster so I think it is best to have the compromise.

I have found that replacing the bass string with a more flexible wound string has a few issues, one is that you will not get the range of mend any more. Another is that generally when you replace a solid string with a wound you have to go to a much wider gauge like a .028 will end up a .049 and it just does not feel right also it will wear both your frets and the bridge much faster. I have used the karuna flat wound strings like on surbuhar before the one to use is the pa string from their tanpura set but it has a duller sound an decreased meend range.

Kalyan

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #58 
How much range of meend does one require from the bass SA??

Nick
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #59 
Also going back to the original post, remember that, about third finger use, I was watching an old clip from a prog about Indian music & dance. It featured Pt Nikhl Banerjee & Sri Mahapurush Mishra on tabla. I don't recall him once opening his left hand fingers & just simply dropped his third if it was over the 'right fret' so to speak.

This seems far more prevalent in what we might call 'instrumental' sitarists as opposed to the Etawah 'lot'. We seem to go laterally across the frets a heck of a lot more too so that's why we need our first 2 fingers to be strong.
This action makes that little black groove on our fingers go diagonally across the fleshy part rather than just straight across as we play with a kind of 'scissors' stance with our left.
A recent post about a student of Rajeev Jhanardhan's on youtube did the very same thing as re the third finger dropping.

Now this is NOT a blanket rule of course but just one that I've noticed a lot more, recently.
Even Tony K aka sitarfixer, when he saw me play in his Pune flat those years before, when I visited him while he was still in 'Hell' as he calls India, 'oh, you play with your fingers like scissors' almost as if he hadn't seen it before, although I'm sure he MUST have.
Do you remember Tony?

Nick
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