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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #1 
I get wind here and elsewhere that delrin just doesn't have the sound quality of deer horn. Look at a deer horn bridge from the side. That marrow bit underneath is not going away unless you managed to get hold of a super thick super quality large chunk. The material usually measures 1/2" high or more just to clear the marrow and provide a respectable amount of solid material for shaping and subsequent refiling. A lot of delrin and other types of synthetic material bridges I've seen from other sources have the deer horn dimensions. TOO THICK ! ! ! That 1/2" slab of solid delrin is high mass dead weight. The first bridges I made were to this convention and even had hard heavy wood legs and mantle. Jawari was good but just didn't get the good sound out there. I woke up finally, shaved off about 30% of the 1/2" block, switched to mahogany wood for the legs ( also thinned ) and ended up with bridges that really reeeeeeely get it out there. A little jawari on the legs also helped a bit. The durability factor is without question. So much about these instruments is in the setup. Even eBay kindling can sound good when set up properly. They won't match a delicious vintage Calcutta beauty but won't hide in shame either. I swear by delrin, for sound quality, projection, volume and of course, durability. Wouldn't use anything else.
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mahadev

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks for this Tony, I have never tried Delrin , sounds good, will have to try.
What color is it ? Available in different shades ? Other than bright white which looks so out of place on older instruments ?

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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #3 
Max - unless things have changed, delrin is only available in the pure white, or in black. There is a specialized teflon impregnated delrin that is a kind of medium tan color but it is 5 times as expensive as delrin and I found it to be much too soft for bridges.

For any material there is a learning curve to make the best use of it in a musical instrument. I also, like Tony K, will not use anything else for my instruments than delrin. When the recommendations made here are followed the results are superior.
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CarbonSitars

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Reply with quote  #4 
I've always wondered why such thick pieces of Delrin were used. It's such a dense, massive material.

I visited Bob Benedetto's shop this summer to learn more about carving archtops, and got some advice I've really taken to heart: a bridge should be as dainty as you can make it. Any extra mass will rob the strings and tops of energy. While I've always used 1/4" Delrin, I've built fairly heavy legs in the past. I began redesigning my bridges with some lighter, stiffer woods, and started using low-density polypropylene for the jawari, as well as making the dimensions a little smaller. The particular polypropylene I've been using is harder to work than Delrin, but more resonant. I probably halved the mass and weight of my bridges, and it's made a big difference. More volume and sustain, and I'm getting some really nice and easier to control swells out of the taraf strings.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #5 
I called Du-Pont years ago and was told that they could make up a batch of bone colored delrin. Just send a check for $5,000 and they would get on it. Pass ! ! ! Snow white and black are the only color choices. I have also found the black delrin to be a little softer than white. I suspect white is the virgin material ( and hardest ) and the black color added might also change the formula to a softer blend. An extreme example of weighted bridges came years back when I made a replacement sarod bridge from a beautiful piece of grey marbled caribou antler. Beautiful stuff and rock solid. Strung up the sarod and the sound was gone. Long gone. Exit a vou. Go bye-bye. Dead ! The original was feather weight with too much spongy marrow across the back side. The sound produced though was superb. Lesson learned. Another nice cosmetic feature of delrin is that the saw tooth border on the sides isn't subject to the crumbling marrow section so it's pretty pretty all around the edges. Yeah ! Go with delrin. When set up right, it will serve you well.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #6 
What kind of deer produce the deerhorn (assumedly from gathered "sheds") used for bridges, I wonder? Axis deer, or the larger, more elk-like sambhar?

Seems like it would have to be a fairly good sized antler to get a full bridge out of it without gluing pieces together.
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #7 
CarbonSitars - polypropylene??

I would be surprised - shocked actually - if the durability/longevity of poly would even be remotely in the same ballpark as delrin. Please keep us informed, thanks.
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "nicneufeld"
What kind of deer produce the deerhorn (assumedly from gathered "sheds") used for bridges, I wonder? Axis deer, or the larger, more elk-like sambhar?

Seems like it would have to be a fairly good sized antler to get a full bridge out of it without gluing pieces together.
The later bridges were Axis deer which are plentiful but it has been banned for export over a decade ago, there was a grandfather clause though for existing stock, etc. Elk was banned a long time ago. The reason as far as I know for the ban was not because of the supply but because in the areas where the deer shed their antlers they were burning the forest floor to find them rather than looking for them in the underbrush. Not cool....

You can use moose antler, etc. here there's plenty to go around if that's your thing. I like the acrylic/resin bridges personally for tone but to each their own. Delrin definitely has longevity.

Lars

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CarbonSitars

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "fossesitar"
CarbonSitars - polypropylene??

I would be surprised - shocked actually - if the durability/longevity of poly would even be remotely in the same ballpark as delrin. Please keep us informed, thanks.
This isn't the typical soft polypropylene one thinks of. This is more of a lightweight crystalline version. This stuff will barely allow diamond files to scratch it without significant pressure. But I chose it because of its sound, not because of its toughness. When dealing with all of these super duper synthetic materials, toughness is mostly irrelevant because you wind up making a choice between something that lasts forever and something that will last for eternity. Might as well pick the one you think sounds good.
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #10 
Interesting. Hardness is only one component of the delrin wear equation, the other is lubricity. As for your crystalline poly, I would imagine Tone ("Sitarfixer") might be interested in trying this out if you are willing to give him the name of this material or a source from which to obtain it. Thanks for the update. GF
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #11 
Been researching a newer product
ELFORYN
The elephant ivory substitute that master carvers in China Thailand etc say is the nearest duplicate to the real thing and carves SO well and SO close that a number have pledged to never carve elephant ivory again.
This has a high mineral content and you can even get it cast with the ivory cell structure (graining) that simulates the underlying micro grooves while maintaining an incredible workability.
I may order a small block in the future and let Tony work it to see if it be da stuff.
I'll update when available

Hamletsghost 8)

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CarbonSitars

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Hamletsghost"
Been researching a newer product
ELFORYN
The elephant ivory substitute that master carvers in China Thailand etc say is the nearest duplicate to the real thing and carves SO well and SO close that a number have pledged to never carve elephant ivory again.
This has a high mineral content and you can even get it cast with the ivory cell structure (graining) that simulates the underlying micro grooves while maintaining an incredible workability.
I may order a small block in the future and let Tony work it to see if it be da stuff.
I'll update when available

Hamletsghost 8)
There's a luthier in Germany named Dieter Zarnitz who uses that stuff. Seems to like it. From what I've seen, it's really pricey, but I suppose if it keeps the demand for ivory down, then it's worth it.
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hello,

I've been playing sitar for 25 years and can confirm that Delrin is the best material to use for jawari.
I've found no difference in sound compared to bone, antler or ebony.
The only thing that seems to affect the sound in any noticeable way is the actual shape of the jawari itself, not the material.

Tony, I have your "first generation" white Delrin bridges (from I believe around 2007) and have to respectfully disagree with your assessment of that model
It's absolutely perfectly matched with my Hiren Roy, I could not ask for better tone - shimmeringly dark, focused, and huge dynamic range.
I've currently logged about 4000 hours on that bridge - and it shows no signs of wear at all.

I also have one of your current generation black Delrin bridges for my Bashir travel sitar.
Again - perfect sound, and identical to the sound I was getting with the ebony bridge, but without the maintenance hassles.
But I can confirm that the black Delrin is definitely softer than the white Delrin.
After approximately 1000 hours I needed to do a small touch-up to file away some string grooves that were appearing
... but that was just a 30 second job, and then perfect tone again

In my opinion Delrin has solved one of the biggest sitar maintenance problems.
Thank you, Tony!!

Cheers,
Rex
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #14 
Excellent post Rex! It is good to have some confirmation for the results that Tony and I (along with Ghost) have observed when using delrin bridges. 4,000 hours with no signs of wear! Who could ask for more than that from a jawari? My old bone jawaris probably were toast after 400 hours! In light of your first hand experience in using both the white (natural) and the black (colored) delrin I feel it is fair to say, white delrin is the stuff to use and frankly why bother using anything else?
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "fossesitar"
In light of your first hand experience in using both the white (natural) and the black (colored) delrin I feel it is fair to say, white delrin is the stuff to use and frankly why bother using anything else?
Yes, I agree.
The only reason to choose black Delrin would be cosmetic, but I don't think that's a good enough reason.
I would recommend for anyone to go with white Delrin all the way.
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