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Anshika

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi Everyone!

Specifically, those of you who play the sitar here. To give a bit of a background about me, I have been learning sitar since about 4+ years in Mumbai, India. I must say getting past the first year was the most difficult--right from getting used to sitting in a certain posture, to withstanding the pain of calluses due to wearing the mizrab, AND playing just about enough sargams to lose the sensation of pain on the left hand's index finger and finally developing that black line/mark. 

After these four years, I think my worst fears are beginning to turn true. I am not sure how many of you may have experienced this. But has your mark/callus on the left hand's index finger (the hand basically used on the fret board/neck of the sitar) ever gotten displaced?

In my case, the callus has shifted almost toward the finger nail... because of which my grip on the strings keeps slipping off. 

The only solution I see is to start afresh and play enough to develop a new mark/callus on the finger. But, this would mean starting from scratch and going through the process all over again which would totally drop my playing speed. 

I would love to hear if you had a similar experience and how did you go about it?

Thanks!

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Tomek Regulski

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Reply with quote  #2 
This happened to me a few times in my earlier years of playing. The solution was to start a new callus, and alternate between the two until the new one became more solid. For instance I would practice alap and bol exercises with the new callus, but then switch the the older/harder one for exercises with more left hand movement. Eventually, after 2-4 weeks (depending on level of practice), I would feel good enough to switch completely to the new one.


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sitar-ria

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Reply with quote  #3 
It happens to me too...I got some fantastic advice from a teacher of mine that saved me from having to make a new callus every time. If you file the callus with a nail file on the side that you want it to move towards (the edge of the groove farthest from your nail), it will help you gradually move it/keep it from migrating further. I hope that helps!
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Sanjeeb

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Reply with quote  #4 

Maintaining a fixed length of your nails helps me.

Best.

Sanjeeb

http://www.sanjeebsircar.com

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Jaiapal

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Reply with quote  #5 
I’ve found that by practicing a good balance of meend and tans and gammaks etc, my finger grooves are there, but also the area below the grooves are just a big callus also, so it’s not as painful to grab and pull the string or do meend from areas of my finger which are outside the groove.

Also, I never really do meend with the index finger at all. So, there really isn’t the possibility of it slipping off during meend.

All that being said. I have had a lot of weird stuff happen with my calluses over the years. For a while I actually had two clearly formed parallel grooves on my middle finger. One had formed closer to the nail from doing Alap meend and the other formed from doing gammak tans where my middle finger would just naturally grab the string lower down. The double groove had since vanished, probably from cleaning up technique. Anyway, I think the main point is to focus on your hand technique as much as you can and just weather the pain for a while until the grooves and calluses form to accommodate the development of better technique. Don’t let the placement of the grooves dictate how you actually play, especially if those grooves formed when you were just learning proper technique. You may find a sudden increase in your ability to do longer, more subtle and complex meend and murkhi, as well as quicker and more delicate tans with a relocation of the grooves. It’s always going to be relatively painful to play sitar, especially as techniques change and develop.
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