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wops

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 
hello this is my 1st post here,

i returned from india in 2004 with a rikhi ram sitar, i wasn't taken by the sound but thought it normal as i know sound takes time to mature. years later after much playing the sound is still nasal and in some tones (ie 5th) it is muffled, one sitar player visiting here from india described it as sounding like it had a wet rag over the tones. i live far from india (NZ) and sitars are not common here so it's not like i can get another one easily.

i was wondering if the laquer finish on it (opposed to varnish) interferred with the sound transmission through the wood???
i wondered this as it sealed the pourousness of the wood.
i was also wondering if i drilled 2 holes in the soundboard where the swans are would that open things up much, or at all??? i have noticed some sitars with drilled holes in the soundboard so was curious if that made much of a difference

i guess the kicker is i went with this maker as he seemed so reputable and i travelled so far that i wanted to make sure i got a good sitar, structurely it is very nice but i want a good sounding instrument one that doesn't dissapoint me when i play it.

if anyone could shed some light on this and help me to understand why the sound is so poor i would be ever so greatfull..
it's not jawari as that has been looked at already

comments hoped for and welcomed

thanks
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trippy monkey

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Posts: 4,281
Reply with quote  #2 
I'm afraid you've, MAYBE!!!, just learned a lesson the hard way. That is, not all sitars made by any of the big makers, even though they may still charge an arm & a leg, are wonderful, sweet & full sounding. It all depends on the quality of the body itself, first.

Must admit I seem to find PA a likely place for this 'muffled' sound you mention. I recall it being said that this is where the whole instrument tends to resonate. Certainly Tony K will know.

It may well take more than your previous 4 years to get any real sound out. Did you not question, whichever RR you got it from, about its sound when you bought it or did they convince you it would 'open up' in a few years?

I hope you didn't need a mortgage to pay for it but I' ve a 'bad feeling about this', to quote from Star Wars.

Just goes to prove buying a RR or ANY of the big names is NO guarantee of quality!!!!! Just a BIG price. :wink:

Nick
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mike hooker

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Posts: 121
Reply with quote  #3 
one thing you might try is a slight change of tuning. tune the sympathetic strings well, then rap sharply on the tabli ( soundboard) with your knuckle. that should produce an overtone from a sympathetic. what ever note that overtone is, tune your Sa to that note. that should be the sweet spot for the sitar. hopefully, that will help with the sound.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #4 
Mmmmmm!I'd sure like to get my paws on that beastie! If you've got the margin for error - the space between taraf pegs and frets - you might try shoving the bridge back about 1/2 ", if it doesn't screw up the jawari. (you might get lucky). The combination of lengthened strings and a new foot print on the tabli might just improve the overall sound. Your tale is an all too familiar one. I've been hearing it for years. Beastie is most likely fixable but will require some tweeeeeking! Best of luck.
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wops

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #5 
"It may well take more than your previous 4 years to get any real sound out. Did you not question, whichever RR you got it from, about its sound when you bought it or did they convince you it would 'open up' in a few years?"

well..this is definitely where the 'uncompromisingly charming advice got me.. i did menton it and it was dismissed as a temporary thing. truth be told i bought one sitar from sanjay RR and within a week there was a crack in the neck, i took it back and asked for my money back as it was a lot of money. He absolutely refused to refund the amount and actually at one point suggested that i had cracked it myself. the compromise was to take another sitar which he put together and this was the one i ended up with, it was all so time consuming and i was running out of time in india so with his refusal for a refund for a cracked 'professional' sitar.. and his adiment assurance that the sound would come in the new sitar i left india with my fingers crossed.. the rest is history

thanks for the replies guys, interesting suggestions that i will try..

still keen to hear about if drilling holes in the sound board will help

thanks alot
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Lars

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Posts: 1,452
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Wops,
I'm surprised to hear this, I've known Sanjay for a long time actually and never heard a sitar that needed to be broken in or at least to the degree inferred in your post. I used to carry them when I owned Sitarsetc. I've had maybe 20 of them (+/-). If anything I'd say they're more open right from the beginning although not as extreme as a Miraj sitar but more so than a Kolkata sitar anyway.

It sounds like something has gone haywire. It can happen to any sitar.... Obviously it's not a good thing but if you wouldn't mind letting us know who you are instead of being completely anonymous then I'd be inclined to help you out as I talk with him regularly. There are competitors who would benefit by discrediting him publicly with negative posts so please don't be offended that I asked. You can PM me if you like also....I've always found him to be very conscious of quality and reputation which is a must given the price of them now.

He uses French polish for the finish, check the tabli for cracks also. Was it a student model or regular? His teak sitars need a little break in...., also how much do you play, daily/weekly? Any pics would be great if you can post them, perhaps there's something that might be obvious to the many sitar obsessed here on the forum that's not apparent to you.

I'm not sure what PA is you guys, maybe I've been up too long today.....

Oh, and a note for all sitar enthusiasts. If you get a sitar (that's made properly IMHO) with an appropriate thickness for the tabli, etc. and it needs breaking in please realize that it won't break in unless you play it. My own teacher had a teak sitar for 10 years before taking it out! This is what many of the pros have done, if you're like the rest of us though it may be better to have one built more open/thinner tabli depending on much time you intend on putting in practice. Many subjective opinions on this and this is merely my own.

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element-82

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Posts: 317
Reply with quote  #7 
Hey wops,
it sounds to me like a decent jawari is in order. Have you done jawari on it? If you have played it for years you will have needed to at least. I have worked on sitars that had dull notes and usually the bridge is not positioned right. I think tony is right there. Regarding finish, I have a shahid parvez style sitar that sounds great and it is painted black and varnished/french polished. My advice is to fix both jawari upper and lower , place the main jawari properly and maybe some new strings. It will be a new instrument. I have seen really cheap sitars that are played regularly sound incredible. It takes time to mature, but that time must be spend doing a lot of riyaz, as lars says.
Good luck, post pics.
Pb
Quote:
Originally Posted by "wops"
hello this is my 1st post here,

i returned from india in 2004 with a rikhi ram sitar, i wasn't taken by the sound but thought it normal as i know sound takes time to mature. years later after much playing the sound is still nasal and in some tones (ie 5th) it is muffled, one sitar player visiting here from india described it as sounding like it had a wet rag over the tones. i live far from india (NZ) and sitars are not common here so it's not like i can get another one easily.

i was wondering if the laquer finish on it (opposed to varnish) interferred with the sound transmission through the wood???
i wondered this as it sealed the pourousness of the wood.
i was also wondering if i drilled 2 holes in the soundboard where the swans are would that open things up much, or at all??? i have noticed some sitars with drilled holes in the soundboard so was curious if that made much of a difference

i guess the kicker is i went with this maker as he seemed so reputable and i travelled so far that i wanted to make sure i got a good sitar, structurely it is very nice but i want a good sounding instrument one that doesn't dissapoint me when i play it.

if anyone could shed some light on this and help me to understand why the sound is so poor i would be ever so greatfull..
it's not jawari as that has been looked at already

comments hoped for and welcomed

thanks

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Surbahar Dude (formerly Sitar Dude)
http://sitarplayer.net
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Lars

Senior Member
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Posts: 1,452
Reply with quote  #8 
Has anyone else noticed the lack of response? Hmmmmm :?:
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wops

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #9 
hello there this is rob,

am currently travelling, im sorry for my non communication but have been away from computers.. im not a big fan of them anyway, have just left a WOMAD festival in Taranaki, New Zealand it was amazing..

i will be back home in a few days, will be glad to talk more and up-load pics once home but am now currently blissing out over some of the fantastic music i just heard being performed, even performed there myself as a darbouka player.

wot i would like to say quickly tho is that i wish i had never mentioned names.. the fact is sanjay is a very nice man who does make great instruments im sure.. this is not a mud slinging thread it was meant purely to help me with my quest for an improved sounding instrument. i guess i just let my fingers do too much talking as i was thinking back to my visit in india.

anyway thankyou lars for your interest, please realize im not here to cause offence, i am very greatful for the suggestions and comments thus far just sorry i haven't been able to monitor them so well recently.. im enjoying the last weeks of summer in my country

rob
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Lars

Senior Member
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Posts: 1,452
Reply with quote  #10 
Hi Rob,
Glad to see you back, WOMAD used to come here to the US, I caught the last concert they had here and then it became too difficult for them to get visas. Very sad, what a great experience.
Look forward to your pics, don't worry about names, etc. If you're not happy then everyone here benefits from knowing your experience. My only doubts were because Sanjay's been flamed before and I just wanted to make sure. :wink:

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wops

Registered:
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #11 
apologies for my late post on this, here are some pics of my sitar.
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wops

Registered:
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #12 
here are some more
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