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Ramesh

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Reply with quote  #1 
Dear Respected Forum Members,

Namaste and Salaam.I know there have been different threads before about different Studio Sitar models but i was hoping i could get other member's info on their particular set ups in one thread.I have just recieved my studio sitar (Length 41" Tabli width 12").It came with a magnetic pick up which surprisingly picks up the 2nd string (the only bronze i use).There are only 6 top/mainstrings,with an ebony jawari relatively smaller than a regular jawari.Ive been experimenting on different string gauges as well as tunings to achieve the best(bright ,lound and "sweet") sound currently this is my set up.
1st string (MA) -#2 (11) steel string
2nd string (SA) -#27 (i dont know the equivalent of this but i got this in India and its just labelled #27)
3rd string (SA) -#3 (12) steel string
4th string (PA) -#3 (12) steel string
5th string (SA) -#0 (09) steel string
6th string (SA) -#0 (09) steel string
Tarafs- #2 (11) steel string

I am currently tuned at D. My original Main(1st) string was #3 (12) steel but it broke when i tuned from C# to D during meend so i changed it to #2.I am ordering a #1(010) from Raincity soon and will use it as my taraf /chikari strings(as for the advice of Tonyji Karasek from the other thread).I'd intentionaly tuned 3rd tring to SA since i was torn between tuning it to PA and tuning the 4th to GA,leaving only two left(5th and 6th for chikaris).So far it sounds good,but who knows i might tune it as MA,SA,PA,GA,SA,SA, or MA,SA,PA,PA,SA,SA. So far,the D tuning works fine,but i might move it back to C# or even C once my jawari opens and the wood breaks in. By the way,the original gauge i used for 4th string was #2 but it sounded "dull" so i changed it to #3,which sounded alot brighter. Chikari with #0 strings sounds bright but a little thin.

Also,i am interested to know how long did it take for your studio sitars to "mature" or break in.My teak KP sitar took more or less a year to finally sound "bright".Must be the meending that opened the jawari and stretched the wood.
I would appreciate any advice or criticism on my set up,as well as info on other Studio sitarplayers' set ups.Thank you very much and may God Bless all of you.

Sincerely,
Ramesh

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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #2 
I have a hard time imagining just how that chikari pattern would sound, with the sa for the gandhar string. My preference on my sitars is the traditional UVK tuning, of course dependent on raag. For most of the raags I've been learning (Yaman, Alhaiya Bilawal, Bhupali, Jhinjhoti) that means (leaving aside the main two playing strings, always tuned Ma, Sa) Ga-Pa-Sa'-Sa''. There are plenty of variations available...making the Ga komal, or raising it to Pa (Pa-Pa-Sa'-Sa''). For Sohini I've heard UVK do two gandhars, no Pa (Ga-Ga-Sa'-Sa'') and for other raags without Pa you'll often see Ma-Ma-Sa'-Sa''. It's pretty flexible. For me I usually do the standard Ga-Pa-Sa'-Sa'' for most raags that include ga and pa, and for things like Darbari, I prefer bringing the gandhar string up to Pa instead of down to komal Ga (borrowing from UVK's recordings, again). That's how my studio is tuned at present.

My studio seemed quite loud when I first got it, but it really found its voice when converted from KP to gandhar pancham, 6 months later. I don't think it was the instrument changing much, it just sounded cleaner (and my technique was improving). The kharaj strings never sounded that great on that one anyway.

If you're going for more of an open, buzzy sound, the jor string got an insane amount of sizzle just by working a groove into the bridge over time...I prefer a more closed sound so I just notched another slot in the bridge and moved the string over slightly...poor/lazy man's jawari job!
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Ramesh

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hello Nicneufeld,
Namaste.Thanks alot for the input.Care to share what gauges of string you use for each one(including tarafs)?

I know my current tuning may sound "weird" but im still in the process of experimenting.As ive said,my studio sitar only has 6 main string so i cannot tune it the way i tune my regular sitar(MA,SA,PA,SA,PA,SA,SA).So I have no choice but to choose between SA or PA for the 3rd string while keeping the last 3 strings as PA,SA,SA.I dont usually change my main string tuning for different ragas 'coz im trying to stick to the 2 main ragas my Guru has taught me so far(Yaman Kalyan and Puriya Danashree).Im trying to keep myself from the urge of learning ragas on my own as to avoid making unnecessary mistakes and creating bad habits out of them.Although one thing i must admit doing is playing my KP sitar using a GP tuning,which sounded like i was in a different universe(in a beautiful way of course)!

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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #4 
Ahh, I see, so you are normally a kharaj pancham style player but you have a 6 string sitar. That makes sense, I actually have a 7 string studio sitar but string is as a 6 string gandhar pancham style. I don't recall exactly what gauges I use, but generally pretty standard ones. I think I use a ma string (12) for the gandhar chikari which works fine. Maybe 11 for pa, and 10 for Sa chikari?

If I were playing kharaj pancham style with a six stringed instrument, my inclination personally would be to use standard KP tuning but drop the low Sa. For me, the low Sa was always the hardest to get a really good tone out of on either of my sitars. The low Pa was forceful and strong sounding but the low Sa was tricky to keep in tune and usually kind of limp sounding, relative to the other strings. And thinking to one of my favorite Nikhil Banerjee performances, it seems like he does a lot of his really good alap on the low Pa string. So were I to abandon one string in KP mode, it would be the low Sa.

As another option, Tony Karasek has said on here (which was news to me at the time) that Ravi Shankar, despite the fact that the conventional Ma-Sa-'Pa-'Sa-Pa-Sa'-Sa'' tuning bears his name generally as "Ravi Shankar Style", only uses two chikari, the two Sas. So without a string dedicated to the Pa chikari, one could use that string for a low Sa in the tradition of Ravi Shankar. That said, I would think that some nut and bridge work would be essential to getting the slot spacing, depth, and width correct for the Sa string...jawari work possible to get a good sound too, unless you get lucky. Anyway, just mentioned as another option.
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Ramesh

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Reply with quote  #5 
Namaste Nicneufeld,

Thanks alot for the input.The reason i asked about string gauges is that considering that the studio sitar has no gourd tumba,ive been experimenting on different gauges to find which one makes the most suitable sound(loudest,brightest,warmest,etc).Im now tuned in C(from D as earlier mentioned) and changed my mains string to #3 (from #2 in D tuning).Also my 3rd string that is tuned to SA is in the same octave as my second string (SA).This is actually fun in a way,experimenting on different tunings.It just costs on strings,and considering i use coil,it takes alot of time too.I have broken a few strings in the process,specially moving from C to D.One string actually "hit/striked" the head of the tabli,near the neck and i had to use a plier to pull it out.And i was thinking,it could have been my hand or finger!God is Merciful!

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Ramesh

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Reply with quote  #6 
Salaam and Namaste Dear Forum Members,

So i was able to finally set up my studio sitar to my desired and ideal sound,that is bright but not too "twangy" and with a little buzz.I feel its both bright and warm.Currently this is my string set up
1st string (MA) -#3 steel string
2nd string (SA) -#16 bronze
3rd string (SA) -#22 bronze
4th string (PA) -#3 steel string
5th string (SA) -#1 steel string
6th string (SA) -#0 steel string
Tarafs- #1 steel string

Im currently tuned to C.At first when i used a #2 string for my main string MA,it was alot brighter than #3 but the volume was not too loud so i switched to #3,which isnt as bright but louder.

As ive mentioned in a previous and different thread,i had some problems with regards to my jawari(too closed).After a few months of constant playing,tons of meending(which sprained my wrist),rolls of different string gauges wasted (when loosening to change a string on a studio sitar,most of the time the strings would break because the string wraps around a much thinner guitar peg compared to a traditional wooden peg,which makes the string more vulnerable to breakage) and probably a cup of blood wasted as well(since i always pinch my fingers everytime i make a loop on a string!),my jawari finally opened up.But not totally until i moved my bridge closer to the langot.It also solved the problem of my komal da being too sharp (i couldnt move the fret further left 'coz it was already hitting the peg).
Im attaching a picture of my tabli with both my jawari moved towards the tailpiece which solved the problems of it not being too bright and my komal da being too sharp.I made pencil lines to indicate where the jawari was originally place and where it is now.

I would like to personally thank Kirya-ji who has been very kind and patient in sending me advices and tips via email regarding my jawari.God bless you Prabhuji.
I would also like to thank Tony K Sahib for his advice about which direction one should move the jawari to(its from a different thread about moving bridges).God bless you Sahib.

sincerely,
Ramesh

Attached Images
jpeg _IGP9794.JPG (171.90 KB, 1 views)


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Bakersbites786

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi, I'm glad it's worked out for you, I think you went through a state of depression in the offset. You can enjoy the baby. Tony's a top man! God save the Queen.
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Ramesh

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Reply with quote  #8 
Bakersbites,
Thanks alot brother.I wouldn't have made any progress if it wasn't for the advices and invaluable information i got from the kind people in this forum.I am deeply indebted.
May God bless everyone in this forum.Salaam.

sincerely,
Ramesh

btw,im attaching a pic of my Shahidali studio sitar beside my Mangla Prasad Sharma

Attached Images
jpeg _IGP9797.JPG (235.06 KB, 2 views)


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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #9 
You state that you tune your studio sitar to C.
May I suggest that this is too low for the shorter studio sitar size.
Try tuning to C# or even D.
I tune my studio sitar to D and it not tight.
C is usually too loose even on a traditional regular sized sitar.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #10 
I tune to just north of C# to align with my teacher's Sa, and started only playing a studio type...moved to a proper acoustic sitar this last fall. Both tuned the same, but jumping back to the studio, its like, wow, meends are easier here, in some ways. Definitely slacker tension. So I can't imagine it strung at C, unless you use very heavy gauge strings...
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Ramesh

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Reply with quote  #11 
Dear Sirs,

Thank you very much for the suggestions.I will take it into consideration.
So far however,both my sitars sound okay on C.I must be honest though by stating some of the primary reasons why i tuned back down to C from C#(which i was tuned in for more than a year).
1.Its much more forgiving to my wrist and arm specially during meends since ive an old injury on the area.Im just cautious not to re injure myself.
2.The sound seems more "mellow" to me which i like
3.Its much easier for me to meend up to my highest Sa from my high Ma.
When i tuned to C#,it was almost impossible to meend up to my high Sa from my high Ma,specialy with my regular sized sitar(I dont know if this is also the case with other regular sitars).This however is perfectly possible when im tuned to C.

Again,thanks for the suggestions.Namaskar.

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"If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music this country would never have been partitioned."-Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
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