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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have tuned SA to C# for many years but recently have tried going to D- starting on my Hiren Roy, just to see. It sounds really sweet. My fingers are starting to get used to the extra tension and I am wondering if anyone has ever had any problems similar to what happens with guitars when you increase tension by putting on heavier strings for example. Higher action? Neck problems? Anyone's thoughts on using one or the other- seperate from the obvious answer- whichever the instrument sounds best at, is appreciated.
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adunc069

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi, when I started playing, i thought it was supposed to be tuned to B natural. Then I went up to C, now I play at D. I think is the best tuning experience for me as there is extra tension, and I seem to get better response from the sitar at the higher tension. I've tuned as high as D# which I will admit is a little too much for my sitar to handle. My old one could'nt go higher than C# without always going out of tune. If your sitar can take it, stick with D.

As far as intonation goes, I'm not sure but if the string is thicker, than I'd assume you'd need to adjust the bridge. though I'm not a repair man. Someone else would be better suited to answer that than me.

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Drew

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarman"
I have tuned SA to C# for many years but recently have tried going to D- starting on my Hiren Roy, just to see. It sounds really sweet. My fingers are starting to get used to the extra tension and I am wondering if anyone has ever had any problems similar to what happens with guitars when you increase tension by putting on heavier strings for example. Higher action? Neck problems? Anyone's thoughts on using one or the other- seperate from the obvious answer- whichever the instrument sounds best at, is appreciated.

if your Sitar is of decent quality or better, than there should not be any problems. If your Sitar is an el'cheap'o, than you may be asking for trouble.

Many people on the forum tune to D and leave their Sitar tuned to D when not playing and I dont recall any bad news.

Myself, I seem to keep trading off between C# and D. I will play in D for a long time than get bored. So, I switch to C# and its like a whole new instrument. When the C# wears off, I go back to D and I may visit Cnatural somewhere in between but, its never for too long cause its just too low.

Ive never had any problems tuning to D other than my fingers trying to adjust and I have a mid level Sitar. I wouldnt try anything higher than D though.

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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #4 
hi,

there aren't really to many problems associated with going to D. thats the high end of normal. Shahidji plays there. Nikhilda usually tunes between C# and D, but i have recordings that go down below C#. (D is usually his highest). anyway. . . .

you might have to tweak the jawari, and or move the bridge in order to get the same amount of meend (you might not though. . .). but no worries, D is totally within the spectrum of tuning which the sitar is disigned to handle.

best,

jf

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #5 
As stated. if you've got a quality instrument, there should be no problem. Do check the action for any hints of stress like you would all instruments. One of the first questions I ask when building a sitar for a client is "Will this be tuned to C#, D or some other note in particular" ??? The shop will produce the sitar with a standard length for C#. If D is requested, then the neck is made 1" shorter to compensate for the increased string tension. I go one better on all sitars made by changing the tabli - neck joint angle to anticipate the neck coming up from the string tension. Wish all the shops did so as well. Also check to see if the tension is twisting the neck as well as just lifting the whole thing up. This is almost unique to sitar due to it's offset rack of strings.
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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #6 
Great tips, Tony- thanks. I have to admit that I may not stick with the D tuning. It sure sounds cool, but then again, when you change something, it sounds cool because it is different for a while, not necessarily better. However, after a long session, I sure do feel my fingers more than I used to. One can get used to anything, but maybe less wear and tear on me and the instrument is a better way to go. I will say this though, like a batter in baseball swinging two bats as he warms up to go to the plate, after playing in D for a while on one sitar, changing to the other in C# makes the meends and overall power in the fingers seem stronger, which is also pretty nice. Maybe I'll leave the HR in D, keep the MPS in C# and just see how it goes. Ultimately, if an instrument sounds great, leave it alone I say. The MPS sounds fantistic, with tons of volume, in C#.
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beenkar

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Reply with quote  #7 
Tony,

You need to change the thickness of the Tabli as well to handle D or D#.........But I love those Sitars which tune below C# or even around C..........listen to some of the RS recording at that and you would know that Sitars sond deep and soulful if built for lower tuning..........

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #8 
Shop rats tap the pants of the tabli before fitting. As there is no locked in thickness with each piece of wood responding differently, it is left to how the wood itself sounds. When I had Panditji Ravi Shankars sitar apart -( the big one he played at Monteray and that whole wonderful era), I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary as far as thickness goes. The tabli is definately shaped flatter than a 'standard' sitar. I was told by the great one that this was done to enhance the bassiness along with the aditional 1/2" width . He was quite adament about this. He had a very heated discussion with Nodu Mullick, the instruments re-maker about this prospect. Nodubhai warned of a major loss of high end frequency by making the sitar in this fashion. The result we all know and love is that baritone sitar tuned to C#. Like Dave Brubeck, he's an artist - a pioneer! I suppose a little more meat on dem bones wouldn't hurt the longevity of the tabli but a formula for thickness just ain't there. I, too, love those low voiced growlers. What I actually need, though, aside from altering tablis in my sleep is a cheap shot to the blind side so I can sell everything for a song and bail outta here. We've got to have some music on the new frontier!
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Andius

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Reply with quote  #9 
Guys!

Always liked a low meaty growl (am I a surbahar-wallah at heart? :wink: ). Used to tune Sa to around B-B#, (Trippymonkey/Nick can tell u this) but bowing to popular opinion via this forum, now tune Sa up to C#. Must admit that this suits my sitar (it was probably built around this pitch), chikaris ring well and overall taraf response is very fine.

Tuning up to D? Hmmm, Not at ALL sure. Have never had any string breakage yet, and am concerned that higher pitch could mean the start of this. My concern about pitching Sa up to D is not constructional, as my sitar seems very solid and I think could take this pitch with no warping. More like a personal pitch preference. Want it to be close to my own voice pitch rather than a higher/treble pitch. Can't relate to D.

I know this seems to buck the current trend, but I DON'T CARE.
There, thats telling you! :wink:

Andius
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barend

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Reply with quote  #10 
last month I also changed my pitch from C# to somewhere between C# and D....close to D actually...after playing for 5 years in C#...no problem at all....I like the extra tension...

also the last few weeks I had to tune one of my sitars to C for some project....but I didn't like it...too floppy....more difficult to intonate the meends.....especially if you are used to play in D....and the volume decreases a little because of the lesser string tension....
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #11 
My gorgeous black Ustadji was initially tuned up to D. I did think this was a bit high. You know these things when you've been playing/learning a loooooong time like me.

However
When I got to Goa & was playing with a tabla player from Varanasi, I decided to downtune to C#. Immediate response!!! 8)
Nirmal, the tablchi, said it just opened up. The sitar NOT the heavens
So I always tune around C# now.

Nick
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