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AmitU

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello everyone,

I know there is a wealth of information in this forum and hope to use some of it to make my decision. It is my mothers 50th Anniversary and she has always wanted to learn to play Sitar. I have very little experience with musical instruments and would like to get some inputs from you fine folks.

I need to know what type of Sitar is suitable for a beginner and what I should be looking for in one. I have looked for store locally (Iowa) and the closest one is in Chicago. Does anyone have experience with Dulhan Boutique in Chicago? What price range should I expect and do I have any hope of finding a teacher in Iowa?

Thank you for your help,

Amit
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi, Amit.

Your Mother will be thrilled. Good on ya ! In Chicago, the best selection is at Andy's Music on Belmont St. Ask for Alex and tell him "Tony" refered you. Maybe you'll get some kind of discount. ( Maybe not but worth a shot !!!) They have at least a dozen sitars ready to go in all price ranges. Even the lowest price instruments were better than one usually finds. I'm there every Summer for a few weeks and end up tweaking them as needed. Slipping pegs, broken strings, - basic stuff. All good stuff. They have a nice line of vintage instruments as well but I'm sure that would not be suitable at this point. If that doesn't work out, the only other places I can recommend are Rain City Music in Seattle or Ali Akbar School store. Both are reputable dealers that stock good stuff that has been properly inspected, tested, and set up to play. The big question is what type of sitar would your Mother be keen on - a "Ravi Shankar" model with all kinds of floral carving and bass strings or the "Vilayat Khan" model with simple carving and no bass strings ??? There are tons of eBay specials at fairly good prices. Problem with those is you don't know what you're getting. There is no recourse when things go wrong and there would be about $300 additional setup cost to get that instrument playable. Too big a gamble. Good luck shopping and here, wishing your Mother a very happy 50th. anniversary ! ! !

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AmitU

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you very much for the quick reply Tony. I will make a trip to Chicago this weekend and check the place out. I will likely pick out something with a floral carving. I agree with the risk of buying instruments online and will prefer going to the store myself. Do you know what kind of price range I can expect when I get there? Also I have browsed through the teacher section for this forum and could not find a teacher listed for the state of Iowa. Any suggestions on finding teachers or training tips is greatly appreciated.

Thank you again,

Amit
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi, Amit.

You might want to call the shop to make sure they're open on the day you plan to be there. As I remember, they're closed Mon. Not sure about Sunday. The full carved flowery sitars start somewhere around $500, I would expect. You'll have a selection, no doubt about that. BE careful parking your car around there !! Regulated big time. Side streets are your best bet. Teachers - best bet seems to be online teachers. A lot of info is on YouTube. Quite a bit of it is bogus as well. You'll have to weed through a lot of it to find useful stuff but it is there. Of course, a live and qualified teacher one on one is the best way to go. Can't help you any more on that.
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AmitU

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Reply with quote  #5 
Tony,

Thank you for all of your help. I feel more confident about buying a Sitar now. I have a feeling I will be buying a Tabla soon as well to accompany her with the Sitar

Amit
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