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Anattabodhi

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #1 
I have reached a point where I am resigned to purchasing a dilruba direct from India, even though I realize that comes with some risks. I just can't afford more than about $300, and it seems that only Mid-East makes dilrubas in that price range that are available here in the US, and folks on this forum have really trashed ME, so that's out of the question.

A few years ago I played a dilruba a friend loaned me and used to keep tuned for me. That went on for about a year before he decided he'd like his instrument back. I haven't ever tuned one myself and had planned on just letting it go entirely, as I've never had a gift with music, but I just love the "voice" of this instrument so much I have to try again. But if I get a bad instrument I don't stand a chance at getting it in shape myself, and my friend is now hundreds of miles away.

Bottom line, I've narrowed the choice down to two Indian vendors and wonder if anyone here has any advice they can give between them. It would be much appreciated if you could. The two I am looking at right now are:

http://www.rajmusicals.com/product_info.php?cPath=25&products_id=1181
and
http://bit.ly/caAMh - eBay top seller

The first one requires you wire money to them and it isn't clear what the shipping costs are, which I wrote them to inquire about, but they sound like they are offering a high quality product: "Special Hand crafted Professional model" "fitted with special machine heads for tuning of all strings" etc.

The other comes to just $200 altogether, and there is a lot of very positive buyer feedback for this merchant. They are even thoughtful enough to include extra strings with the order (something I haven't seen any other dilruba seller doing, which is an inexpensive courtesy that goes a long way towards demonstrating appreciation for their customers). My only concern is that it may not be that quality a dilruba, even if customers like how quickly they ship and that things don't arrive with any actual damage.

I don't know enough about these instruments to know how to evaluate this information. (e.g. Is a machine head a big deal?) I've spent a couple days researching this purchase and am hoping to be able to order something within the next day or two. Thanks for any insight you can give.

Best to you,
Anatta
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theprosperone

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Posts: 437
Reply with quote  #2 
I went through the same thing you did. I ended up spending the money on a studio sitar, but you might want to check with Monoj Kumar Sardar. They made apparently nice dilrubas for a good price. I think even shipped from india , they were $300 total. Then again, you're still dealing direct with India but this was the option I had decided on before I found my studio sitar.
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Anattabodhi

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you for your suggestion. I wrote MKS a couple days ago based on info I found on HarSangeet about them (and that AACS sells their instruments) and got a price of $322 for their cheapest dilruba once shipping was included. I wrote them back to ask how I would pay them, as the info was not on their site, and am waiting to hear back. Thanks for reminding me that I am waiting on that. I was not at that point decided on buying from India, and the $140 price tag for shipping at that point was making me really want to find something in the US. But I'm over that now.

Still, even between MKS and the one Raj has that promised to be of professional quality with the machine head and all (whatever that means), is it really the case that MKS always makes the best items for the price? It seems sometimes company's have a reputation built more on past performance than current realities, so I still want to compare other possibilities if anyone knows about others.

P.S. I forgot to add to the original post, that another attractive thing about the eBay purchase is that it is through PayPal which I believe offers good buyer protection. Buying from overseas is made that much more unnerving by having to wire money. I'm concerned that MKS and Raj may both require that.
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theprosperone

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Reply with quote  #4 
MKS definitely require that. I picked up a phone card, waiting till 5am and gave them a call. They were nice and helpful over the phone. But yes....ebay has some attractive options. I almost went ahead and bought one off of ebay for as cheap as possible and then looked to have someone "rebuild" it to be nice.
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Anattabodhi

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #5 
I've thought about that option too (eBay then refurbish). It turns out that a friend of mine is considering selling me one of his 50+ year old dilrubas for just $400, including shipping to me in CA from where he is in HI. He will let me know when he gets back from overseas and has a chance to really think about it. If it turns out I can't get his old one, then I think I will do eBay. For only $200 delivered, it is worth the gamble on maybe getting something quite a bargain, and if not, gifting to someone else in a few months when I can afford to buy an MKS sold locally. Ali Akbar is driving distance from me, and sells MKS for $600 with the option of my trying out the instrument before I buy it.

So, 1st choice - old Dilruba from friend that I've played before and know sounds sweeet.
2nd choice - cheap eBay dilruba that I may have to refurbish a little (better strings, etc.) but may be a good deal.
3rd choice - driver over to Ali Akbar and pay through the nose, but know exactly what I'm getting.

Thanks for your input. Have a great evening.
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theprosperone

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Posts: 437
Reply with quote  #6 
Please let me know how it works out for you. I still plan on buying one myself. I have basically just decided though to wait till I or someone I know is in India to buy one direct and ship it back ourselves. I did have an amazing offer for one shipped from Switzerland but couldn't come up with the cash in time. So it goes, best of luck!
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hbajpai

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Posts: 892
Reply with quote  #7 
I am also interested in the ebay thing. Let me know how it turns out. I generally go the cheap route first whenever I am experimenting. Later, if I develop enough interest then I will go with the superman of the instrument. I am considering

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-SARANGI-ESRAJ-DILRUBA-GUITAR-SITAR-SAROD-TANPURA-DJ_W0QQitemZ120461832754QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c0c15b232&_trksid=p3911.c0.m14

Anyone know who really this fellow is in Delhi?
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Anattabodhi

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #8 
This is the same seller I was considering. Seems to have a lot of happy customers, but all the comments are about the service and delivery, not the instruments themselves.
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