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Shreekant

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I have vintage Hemen (With Black badge) which I fixed and it sounds great. Recently I have observed that it has developed a crack about 1/4" where Tumba meets gulu (Please see the pictures below). Also Sitar got detuned by a 1 note. When I remove the strings the gap reduces by about 60 % (where the crack is widest). Some how the sustain has improved may be because the stresses are relieved or Jawari has changed!!!. The question I have is how I should go about repairing this? Is it good idea to close the gap and then glue it(What type of glue)? Also should I put very small screws through Tumba and Gulu so that when I tune it to D   it does not break again?

IMG_0221.JPG

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Ingo

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Reply with quote  #2 
A difficult case. I have once succesfully repaired an old sitar that had gulu and gourd separated like that, but wouldn't want to give a tip just from an Internet photo of a lute in distress.

Also it has more cracks and problems. Looks like there is older damage? Did it crack after a sudden hit or just by itself, without outside force? What and how did you "fix" it in the past?

If the sustain is better now, then the setup was wrong before the accident.

Repair has to get the lute into a stable and good sounding state again. Esp. if you want to get it it to take meends in D again. To judge if it is better to glue it under tension or fill the gaps with wood/glue special mix tensionless is best left to some expert who sees the instrument in real life, I think. Especially if you already "fixed" it and now it falls apart ...

And do a forum search for more/better info about repairs, esp. Grandmaster Sitarfixers/Tony K.s posts on the subject (I remember a good thread where he showed how he did a big neck reset on an old Hemen sitar) are enlightening, if you feel an urge to diy.
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #3 
STOP 🛑 DO NOTHING MORE — PERIOD
Now.... calm down & contact Sitarfixer immediately
He will advise & if necessary you can ship to him in Indiana fairly reasonably... This is a fine old instrument
I too have 2 oval black badge Hemen’s one a year or so older one a year newer even possibly same vintage.
Both have been lovingly preserved and maintained by the Sitarfixer.

Tony K has written MANY times on the forum how to permanently repair a cracked or shattered gourd- this one is pretty extensive & as the previous poster says- it’s been repaired before - now it’s broken again.
Whether from a hit, drop, environmental changes, or other factors, you need to now proceed carefully on a permanent fix.
If you are handy Tony may be able to advise... if you’re a well meaning amateur... don’t blow it, you’ve got a nice instrument... not a lost Nodu, or closet classic Adhikari, but still a worthy instrument worth investing a little time & possibly a couple bucks in preserving.
You will then have a playable classic that should last for many years to come.

Get thee to the Sitarfixer IMMEDIATELY

Your Friendly
Hamletsghost

ps: your detune observation is also an indication of a possibilly bigger problem brewing - think about it - Your string tension is pulling the neck forward because of the crack & the wood opposite is acting as a fulcrum - Your pivot point is the neck joint - you REALLY should slack off the strings both top & bottom before it snaps the neck joint & possibly take part of the tabli with it - now!
Then proceed as indicated...... good luck ... the ghost
Also —( you knew I couldn’t leave it alone) — tuning a 45 to 50 year old sitar to “D” ??????
Can be done but - wow - I wouldn’t leave it in D - very hard on an instrument that really wasn’t designed to be kept at that tension. It is only in the last couple decades that D has become more & more prevelent

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Shreekant

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Reply with quote  #4 

Thanks for the input. There was no accident. The crack suddenly developed. Also it is a new crack I did not repair it before.  Previously the gourd was broken in many places so I just applied Wood glue and then painted it. I will try to do the search on forum and see if I can find the answers I am looking for. I would certainly appreciate the input from Tony and other experts.

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Shreekant

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thank you very much for the input. My first thought was to contact Sitarfixer. But unfortunately I  and sitar are in Shanghai China at my daughter's place!![confused] Also This is a new crack I did not fix it.
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #6 
Excellent— then your first instinct is spot on contact Tony k for advise - long distance for sure... but hey I’ve seen instruments from the UK - South Africa - and all points of the globe sitting on his bench.
It’s just a matter of cost vs. value at that point.
But again he may be able to advise a home fix - either way he’s very generous with his advise & will tell you the truth regarding the difficulty of said repair & if your skills will be able to do the necessary - or not -
I’ve known Tony for going on 20 years - on the advise of my guru I contracted Tony to build my sitar with his old partners a decade ago, he has sold me 2 other vintage instruments, built a fantastic vocal tanpura - he has also maintained all 8 of my beauties, and worked on literally over a hundred instruments in my workshop before I talked him into moving to the Chicagoland Region (will he ever forgive me???)😜
Then he has allowed me to watch as he builds masterpieces from scratch...
He’s not wont to troll for long distance repair work.

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katyrow

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Reply with quote  #7 
Can you post photos of the rest of the instrument -- curious what it looks like.  Thx.  
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Shreekant

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Reply with quote  #8 
sure. Please see below. The white masking tape is there to mark the position of the bridge. IMG_4286.JPG  IMG_4288.JPG  IMG_4289.JPG
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Sitar Fixer

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Reply with quote  #9 
Tony K " Sitar Fixer " here. Finally got this compootuh working again. Yeah ! This is a real beaut - the instrument and the repairs required. This will have to be reglued from the inside. I would break out a "window" on the gourd big enough for my paws to reach in. Next up - get he sections back together and glue with deluxe "Tite Bond" Elmers type beige carpenters glue. I love this stuff. It holds like crazy, and washes clean the next day. Wonderful stuff ! OK !The wood and gourd bits are positioned together. I would then cut some strips of T shirt about 2" - 2 1/2" wide x 4" lond. Lay these over the crack line and press some more glue in. The T shirt acts like rebar in concrete. Tried and proven. The sitars I build feature this reinforcement. With this step completed, glue the egg shell gourd pieces back together. You will probably need to shape some of the edges like a pie plate to get them to drop in flush with the rest of the gourd. To get the gourd cracks together, get some Scotch brand 2" packing tape and stretch it across the crack where needed to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. Give that glue a full 24 hours to set up. Don't worry about glue on the surface. Peel the tape off slowly and hit any excess glue with a wet paper towel. It wipes clean. A hairline crack will remain but you will have a solid joint. Do not tune that baby up to D ! Please ! ! ! NSS 018.JPG 


 

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Shreekant

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi Tony, As always thank you very much for you very valuable suggestions. I will be back to china after few months. I will try to repair as you suggested and put the repaired pictures. This sitar was going to scrap heap. I bought it from guy in seattle when I was in Seattle. He had covered the whole gourd with 1/8" thick epoxy and it killed the sound. It took me a week to clean up the old mess.

Thanks again.

The Jawari you did on my two Vintage Hiren Roy sitars was top notch and both are sounding great.

At present I am taking lessons from Pt. Kushal Das and it is working out great.

Shreekant
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Sitar Fixer

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Reply with quote  #11 
Welcome Sir ! Can't imagine an epoxy bath ! Wow !  Lessons from  Pt. Kushal Das - what an opportunity ! Do NOT waste this time ! Good luck on the overhaul. It should go fairly smooth.

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