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coyootie

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fit the pegs( sounds simple,ha?) .i made diamond shaped taraf eyelets with slots, an inspiration from Pandit Sitarfixer.the larger bone mass of these diamonds should be proof against splitting.i started carving tumba leaves but decided to refret the sitar and string it up to gauge how the sound might be....it would be disastrous to spend more time on this if it wasn't gonna fly.The initial sound, volume whatever exceeded my wildest optimism. I don't know exactly what to figure for this- was it the wood ( this Spanish CEdar seems to exceed the qualities of tun,but resembles it strikingly in workability, color, texture and density, except it is stiffer and ringier)? was it the size of and glue mixture inside the tumba? was it the thicknessing of the tabli ( always totally crucial in a stringed instrument)?was it the broad rounder shape of the tabli? I was going for a more early style of sitar with some of my own instincts for the overall design. I am very sold on the kachua type gourd, which in this instance seems to be delivering about twice the volume of all my other sitars.Loud is not the objective, but it is certainly a big plus if it happens! I hope the upper tumba will also enhance the sound/volume.
Instrument builders always grapple with a problem of doing something different- players tend to be very conservative and want the model they're used to seeing around. My objective was to build a sitar of my dreams/ visualizations/fantasies since i despaired of ever being able to work with a builder in India to do all the details as I imagined it. In re: ivory, the piano keys i used are well over 50 years old( very seasoned) and as recycled stuff, I feel the karma is pretty cold about this. It's amazing how many junked/abandoned pianos there are unhappily collecting dust and mouse nests. Those piano soundboards are also invaluable to us lutemakers ( hint hint). I would have used bone if i'd been able to get it trimmed to thin plates but this wasn't manifestible.In future if I can find bone/ antler, I'd be perfectly happy to use that. Cutting bone,ivory,or antler is a really gross stinky process not to mention very difficult to do to make the narrow,thin plates i mostly used.
so without any refinements of jawari yet I am convinced this will be a very good instrument and therefore should proceed with happy froufrou additions.the sitar seems very stable( if you string it up right initially it's amazing how a sitar will hold tuning, it's actually very simple and mostly from pulling the strings firmly when winding/turning pegs- also pushing the string knots down with pliers at the tailp[iece)and produces almost no deflection when you twang it on the floor and then lift it ( means a good stiff neck).my very low, almost unarched frets play easily-this was inspired by a vintage sarat sardar sitar with very low frets.There's enough clearance under the highest fret that there should be no problem even if there's any pullup on the neck.
go to "sitarmaking chap. 11"at the end to see pics.
http://www.wobblier.myphotoalbum.com
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