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rtab50

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 
I'm sure that folks have a preference as to where to buy a good tabla set.
After a lot of online seeking I have narrowed to Ali Akbar College Store, Buckingham Music and Rain City.
Each seem to have good instruments and quality care of the instruments.
Any advice if one supplier is better than another. Or equally good in product.
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ntac

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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Rtab...I'm certainly not an authority but after a lot of research before purchasing my own set I would say that you have a pretty good list if buying in the USA. I would suggest you add Kala Kendar (http://www.kalakendar.com/) to the list as they have a good reputation, knowledge and range. Personally, I have spoken with and received very good recommendations for Ali Akbar College from different musicians who have bought from them and these have been echoed on this forum.

If buying from overseas is an option then I would recommend Upendra from Sohum Enterprises (http://www.sohumentr.com/) who consistently receives high ratings on this forum for his customer service and quality of product. I have been liaising with him and he has been very patient, knowledgeable and helpful. I have seen and heard his sets and they are simply beautiful. I plan to purchase my first set from him.

Whatever you decide, take your time, contact the different suppliers and speak to them about your needs to find out best value. If possible, go to a retail outlet and try out the different sets. Do a search on this forum on the different suppliers to see the variety of feedback. This recent post may be helpful reading: http://forums.chandrakantha.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6477.

Good Luck!
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Barnaby

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
I myself have just purchased my first Tabla set from Upendra here on the forums. Its set to arrive today! Too bad I have to leave town as soon as I get home, so I'll barely be able to even open it.

I have NOTHING but good things to say about my experience with Upendra thus far. When I first started my search for buying a Tabla set, I looked around the internet, and did a bunch of google searches, and my first recommendation led me to http://sathyadeepmusicals.com/. Checking out the site, everything seemed ok at first glance. There were a few sets, and there were plenty of pics showing the store, making of tabla sets, family pics, etc. I had some questions on their sets, as to what the differences were in quality, price, etc. So I emailed them. My response was pretty much, I have an awesome set for you, for more money than anything listed on my site. Wire me money today! So, I wrote back, and ask, what makes this one better? Can you give me ANY details. The response? I am an experienced tabla player, and I use the same kind of set, so you should trust me and send me money!

Needless to say, my alarms went up. And looking at their site, you can see that its VERY much geared to the unknowning tabla buyer. Pics of Ravi Shankar everywhere, pics of Zakhir Hussain playing a tabla there, etc. Even have the ZH professional model set!

So, some more research, and I find these forums, and read about Upendra from sohum musical enterprises. Now, while buying a set from a supposed good manufacture, like MD from some of the online sites here in the US is a safe bet, its more money for a set that isn't going to be custom made to what you want. While I have no doubt you would get an awesome set, I REALLY wanted to have a custom set direct from a known good tabla maker in India. If you read the reviews of Upendra's sets, many prefer them over MD sets and the like. It seemed like a good, safe bet, judging from everything I read on the forums.

So, I emailed him, and asked him about getting a Tabla set. I got a response back right away, showing me the price list, pics of different shells, gahara styles, a/v clips of the different sets, etc. We went back and forth for probably 50 emails, and he answered EVERY question I had, and kept me informed of the entire process. He started work on the set, before payment was received, and everything had to be approved by me before he would ship it.

Now, this in itself is great, but where Upendra really shined was NOT upselling me anything I didn't need. I asked about extra pudi's, and a hard case, and he told me that since his pudis are of the thicker Banaras style, that they are extremely durable, and buying extra pudis was not necessary. The case really was for ppl who traveled with their set alot, like on planes, and the normal bag would suffice. He could've made another $170 worth of sales, but he didn't. Then there was a snag with my dayan, where a grain came off the Syahi during final tuning, so he had to redo the Syahi completely. I'm sure he could've fixed it enough to last me a bit, before it came off, but instead he was honest, and wanted to give me the best product he could.

I was then sent pics of everything, and A/V clips of how everything sounds. And in case you are wondering, it all sounds amazing. Even my wife commented on the video of the dayan, saying how it sounded better than any other clip I showed her, and that's on my laptop speakers, from a WMV video. I can't wait to hear it in person.

My specs for my Pro Tabla set are:

Pro Tabla Set w/ bag, gatta, hammer, rings, covers.
5.5" Pro Khair Dayan w/ crossbraided Gajra

9.5" Pro Copper Bayan w/ Nickel Plating and crossbraided Gajra

-----------

Now its up to you or not whether this kind of experience is what you want. For me, I wanted to be part of the making of the Tabla set, and make sure that it was built to suit me, instead of finding what I could. EVERY part of my experience with Upendra has been top notch, and I'll post another thread once I get it, and put up pics/clips of everything to share.

Shoot, even as I was writing this, Upendra emailed me letting me know that it was out for deliver, so I could arrange for someone to accept the delivery, if I already hadn't.

Thanks again Upendra!
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rtab50

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you for the feedback. It has been very helpful. Unfortunately where I live the only source for tabla is GuitarCenter and a Meinl tabla set. They do not even have them in the store. So I am buying blind. First instrument that I have not played and played before buying. Hence my questions about a honorable source that backs up the instrument.
Again thank you.
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ntac

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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Rtab.....from your message I don't think you're considering buying Meinl tabal but I have not heard good things about their cheaper set so I would be cautious. Their more expensive set looks good quality but at 599 they are overpriced in my opinion for what they are. You can get same quality elsewhere and at a more reasonable cost. Stick to the reviews / recommendations of suppliers from experienced players on this forum and you wont go far wrong.
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rtab50

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #6 
No Meinl for me. I will support a good supplier of tabla rather than a big box store.
I have followed a lot of the forum links and there is a lot of good information.
Almost too many choices. Buckingham Music is in Texas and has a lot of books from Chandra and David. Has anyone purchased from them?
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romulan

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #7 
Hello,
I bought a Mukta Das Tabla with a DMS Bayan from Inni Singh about a month ago. It's barley used and I want to sell it. The Dayan has a head size of 5.75" and the bayan is made from hammered copper. I Paid 345.00 for it, but will sell it for $290.00. If you are interested you can pick it up. I live in Reno, NV. If you live far away, I can ship them, and can adjust the price after checking shipping cost.I don't have a camera to take a photo of it, but can take a video of me playing them and post it up on youtube, so you can see what they look, and sound like.
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