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Chandran

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Reply with quote  #1 
What is the best remedy for a squeaky string, both on the main bridge and on the top nut? I use pencil on the main bridge, but other than jawari (which I don't do myself) is there a better quick fix? I was told to use a little oil for the top nut, is this really a wise thing to do? I have tried using talcum powder and thread, to varying results.
For minimum squeaking and creaking of the main string peg, is there a recomended positon to leave the last wind of the string? As close to the bottom of the peg as possible or somwhere towards the middle, or is that just something that has to be experimented with?
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #2 
hi,

DONT USE OIL! there was a thread like this about a year ago. when you use oil on bone, you soften it pretty badly. it'll ruin the bone. pencil led is good, you can try a new string, or the squeek may be coming from the peg and not the nut or jawari. make sure its in tightly. other than that i don think theres much more you can do. humidity can also affect the squeek. some sitars make noises, Nikhilda's sitar is probably the noisiest of anyones that ive heard. . .

good luck,

jf

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Rikishankar

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Reply with quote  #3 
I have noticed recenetly that grime tends to build up in the strangest places on my sitar.. the main bridge included.. and i recently tried a little experiment. I went out and bought some mild silver cleaner and used in on the string in hopes of removing some of this grime and therefore reducing the squeel that it seems to produce. It worked marvelously, the strings sing out and the squeek problem has subsided. It's a great way to restore your string and frets back to the luster they once held.
A warning though, the weaker the cleaner, the better, it will easily eat through the copper and brass if you are not careful, and of course, getting it on the jawri bridge would utterly decimate the bridge... but good luck!

-Richard
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Chandran

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Richard. I am pretty sure that this isn't an issue of grime. I know what you mean, though- grime, sweat, or moisture can make the main string squeal. Actually, I think someone recently posted about that problem. My problem is an EXTREMELY common one and I have found it happens to most sitars from time to time. It is a creaking or a squeaking when doing meand and it arises from the main bridge, the nut, the main peg, a lost jawari, or a combination of these.
Pencil seems to be the common solution. But it changes the whole tone of the instrument, doesn't help for very long and it always looks terrible!
Jf- I do know never to use oil on the main bridge, but my instrument maker actually recommended using a tiny bit for the top nut. (ektu, ektu!) I know it doesn't make any sense and really can't be a wise thing to do, no matter who says to do it! Are you recommending that I apply pencil on the string and then place it in the top nut? I'll try that now.
Someone must have some other ideas out there as I know anyone who plays or makes a sitar has to deal with this issue!
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povster

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Reply with quote  #5 
One thing I do to at least verify the impact of the top nut is to get a small square of paper (like 1/4" square or even less), fold it in half and slip it into the groove of the top nut. I find this often reduces or eliminates the squeak.

HMMMM...I am sitting here typing this and thinking to myself "Ernst Gerber Mylite 2"???

Mylite 2s are made of mylay, a very tough, archival, non chemical exuding, non oil exuding neutral PH plastic. It is used for storing valuable paper (comic books, collecting cards, historical documents etc) and is the standard for conservation, even in the Library of Congress.

The "2" in Mylite 2 stands for 2 mil thick, meaning this is pretty thin. Nice thing about mylar is its inherent toughness. But it also has a "slickness" to it. I have to wonder how it would work under the top nut grooves? I will try that myself, as my Hiren can display similar squeaks, and I have a boatload of mylar here. I will soon let the results be known.

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Andius

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Reply with quote  #6 
Chandran

Hmm, mysterious squeak! Maybe not the pegs squeaking, as this denotes they are moving and you would notice a slipping out of tune.

Could it be the frets? Have used mineral oil for finger lubrication and noticed a squeak from the frets on pulling meends. Prefer coconut oil. Maybe top nut; had a click from my top nut on meends (cured with smoothing out the notch) but suppose a squeak could come from it. Suggest graphite/pencil there but not oil.

Apart from that, maybe polishing the strings with metal polish and a soft cloth where they touch the nut or the bridge (whole length of string would be best). While you are polishing would suggest doing the frets as well. careful with spirit-based metal polish; dont get any on the wood finish. Steel wool is to be avoided; looks good but gouges the bronze strings.

Anyway, wish you a non-squeak future!
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #7 
EEEEEK ! What everyone has suggested so far is good. Other tricks and acts of desperation I've seen done include a daub of vaseline on the secondary nut. That's the hole or slotted hole on the nut strip pair closest to the pegs. String clearance from the peg shafts should be about 1/8" from the neck. If the strings are too far away from the body, the effect can be like pulling back an arrow on a bow. It WILL bend the pegs - and more than a few cases, permanently. The 1/8" space reduces the leverage, fulcrum and all that 10th. grade high school physics stuff and adds years to the pegs life. One other point to check for that squeek might be the main bridge legs. Give the main string a high hearted lateral yank (meend) and see or feel if the bridge leg (1st. string side) moves. If so, then you'll need to reshape the bottom of the bridge leg to more closely conform to the area of the tabli where it sits. Be verrry careful doing this if this the case. If that is not in your comfort zone, you can put a drop, and I mean only a drop, as in single drop; 1 each of elmers glue and spread that solo dropo around the entire bottom of the bridge leg. This will make the leg stick to the tabli sufficiently and when next the bridge is removed, it will 'pop' off without tearing out wood from the tabli. I cannot guarantee this won't happen but experience has been kind to me so far. One other thing to look at is the slot on the nut. Make sure there is just a bit of a downward angle so that the high side of that slot is towards the frets. This makes for a better and cleaner string contact. This is also essential for the chikari post string slots. Yet another place to look - the area where the pencil lead is on the main bridge. Yank that poor string again. Look closely at the string while yanking. If you see the string angling out and then a section of wire follows along a split second later, this could indeed be the problem. It's jawari time! Best of luck on this maintenance.
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povster

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Reply with quote  #8 
If that is not in your comfort zone, you can put a drop, and I mean only a drop, as in single drop; 1 each of elmers glue and spread that solo dropo around the entire bottom of the bridge leg.

My gawd I feel almost requited! I once suggested elmer's glue in an old post about setting the bridge. However, I used to mix the glue with water - about 30% water to thin it out. I never had an issue with the tabli when removing the bridge for maintenance etc using this trick. But I was scolded by some for my audaciousness. The humiliation I felt remains to this day.

Now I must depart. Time to refresh the hot ashes I am kneeling in...and I think I need a fresh thorn branch as well::

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #9 
Move over, Povster! My knees are feeling weak! I got a lot of flak from various sources - from all high on down to SDSU fanatics regarding the glue thang. Just the one drop spread out super thin on the bridge legs has yet, in my experience, to do any damage. You are hereby cleared of all charges brought against you!
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povster

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks Tony. (Please pass the bone scraper...mine is getting dulled).

I am feeling slightly depressed today. The weather has been cloudy and rainy for days now and the chill and gloom is telling on me. I shall clean my apartment for an hour to get it back to its proper shape. Such will allow the flow of blood into my chilled extremeties.

Then I shall begin work on the Hiren. If I devote the day to it I devote the day to it. The instrument is worth devoting a week to. Fine tuning as well. Smoothing the string pathways. Checking the various factorsd you brought up in other threads.

Man, I hope you never leave this place!

Povster (aka Michael)

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Chandran

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Reply with quote  #11 
Thanks Tony, I think that helps a lot. I''ll post back when I have it solved. In the meantime, if anyone knows of a material like graphite thats white in color, let me know!

Michael- Don't work on your instrument today! Sit for a couple solid hours of serious hand practice. Think Sapat, Murchanna, Bols, Paltas etc! Turn on that tabla machine!
After that, sit and carefully listen to the rain for a while.......... then spend the evening playing that beautiful instument of yours.........
You can "work" on it another day!
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #12 
hi all,

andius, the moving of the peg thing wouldn't necessarily cause the string to slip. if the peg is rocking in the whole, as in twisting with the string, and then re-seating itself when the string is released (this was happening to me a few months ago) the there will be a creak without the string detuning. the solution for this is to reshape the peg, chalk it up, and jam it in that hole pretty hard. (i saw Ustad Shahid Parvez play and he jammed his peg in the hole so hard i thought he was going to break his sitar!)

the oil on the nut thing, i donno, ive heard so sketchy stuff about it. what's worked with me is this: loosen the string and push it out of the slot in the groove. now take a pencil and rub it perpendicular to the slot so that the graphite flakes off into the slot. now put the string back in the slot and play away! i know someone said they dont like the way this looks, but i do. it gives the sitar that nice 'well worn' look. you can also put a few lines under the string on the jawari.

about bridge reseating- i can dig the little bit of elmers, if its just a drop spread around. but i still prefer to use the french polish. i do the same thing that Tonyji described, but with the polish. just me talkin. . .

ok, thats it for now. good luck!

jf

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povster

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Chandran"
Michael- Don't work on your instrument today! Sit for a couple solid hours of serious hand practice. Think Sapat, Murchanna, Bols, Paltas etc! Turn on that tabla machine!
After that, sit and carefully listen to the rain for a while.......... then spend the evening playing that beautiful instument of yours.........
You can "work" on it another day!
Sometimes I hate wisdon. ops:

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Drew

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Chandran"
What is the best remedy for a squeaky string, both on the main bridge and on the top nut? I use pencil on the main bridge, but other than jawari (which I don't do myself) is there a better quick fix? I was told to use a little oil for the top nut, is this really a wise thing to do? I have tried using talcum powder and thread, to varying results.
For minimum squeaking and creaking of the main string peg, is there a recomended positon to leave the last wind of the string? As close to the bottom of the peg as possible or somwhere towards the middle, or is that just something that has to be experimented with?
I think everyone has this problem at some point or another. I know I have and here is what I was shown by my teacher and always works. However, without hearing or seeing your sitar, it could be something different so Im trying to cover a few points to check.

This has been mentioned but why not go over it again in point form:

1) if you think it may be time to change your string, change it. Sometimes this fixes it without any additional work.

2) check your swan tuning peg, sometimes they can go off to one side (rather than being centered). If so, it can sometimes cause the string to rub on it when meending , thus creating the click. Just try moving it from side to side to see if this works and that it is centered correctly. Sometimes, you can even just move the swans head with your finger a little and you can re-produce the clicking noise. As well, sometimes the inside of the swan peg can become groved by the string and cause the click. Just check to make sure that the points where the string touches the swan peg are smooth.. if you feel a grove or a rough spot, just give it a light sand to smotthen it out.

3) feel the flat part of your main bridge where your string runs over to make sure there arent any groves or rough spots that would cause the clicking when you meed and your string slides over it. This is unlikey but, it can happen. A light sanding/jawari will take out the rough spot. As well, some people use lead under the string on the bridge. However, I think that just give the bridge a little lube and makes it last a little longer.


4) take a peice of thin film type paper. (I use the ends of those sticky post it tab's that come in different colors. They have a color square at one end and the other 2/3rd's is a clear/sticky film paper. Much like scotch tape) You see these sticking out of file folders and dont always have anything written on them.
-Take the paper, give it a fold (or 2) .. so it is a V shape.
-With your string in tune, slide it under the string __V__ behind the bridge and then slide it towards the grove for the string on the top of the bridge. It takes some force and you have to keep that peice of paper pinched tight with your fingers or it will slide out. Just lift slightly upwards when sliding it in.
-slide it right under the string, into the grove/slot of your bridge where your string sits in. However, dont slide the paper in too far as you dont want it touching the flat part of your bridge(this will effect the sound and vibration of the string).Slide it just enough to cover the entire slot so the string is no longer touching the slot part of the bridge and is now resting on the paper (the paper should be resting between the slot of the bridge and string.. with the paper ends sticking up in the air. if you lift the paper directly upwards, it should lift the string with it)
** you will find that this isnt the best cosmetically cause you have a colored peice of paper sticking out.. but, it usually works until you change your string.** You can always trim off the excess paper sticking out?

-Also try this, rather than filing the grove/slot on the bridge where your string rests. Take one of those metal rulers from school and just slide it back and forth in the grove. The ruler seems to fit perfectly and the main goal is to just flatten out the inside of the slot. Sometimes the string digs in and creates a little indent/grove in the slot and when you meend, the string passes over it, creating the click sound (that is one reason to put the film paper in there). So, you just want to flaten/smooth it out rather than file it down any more. I use the ruler to make sure that I dont file down the slot any futher to avoid any other problems.

Part 2 - the nut

-Take another peice of film paper and you are going to place this on the other end where the nut is. (the row of slots your strings rest in by the main tuning pegs)
- this time, you have to roll the paper around the string (rather than fold in a V shape)
- There is a part of the upper bridge/nut that should have the grove for the string and then behind it, another little hole that your string goes through and than to the peg. That hole is what you want to work with.
- you want to wrap the film paper around the string so it is between the string and that little hole behind the grove for the string. The string should not be touching any part of that little hole as its covered by the paper.
- its pretty tricky to get it in if your string is in tune because the string is so tight so, either use a lot of force ... or just give the string a little slack and then it will be easier to squeeze in.


I have found that if my Sitar starts to creek any one of the above points fixes the problem.

hope this helps and let us know how it goes.

cheers

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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #15 
hey drew,

you should publish that as a thesis!

im off to play!

jf

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