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daz199

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Posts: 431
Reply with quote  #1 
My sitar is prretty old, my teacher estimated it at 70 years or so...so it needs a lotta of fixin up and adjusting
I already made new feet for the bridge and repaird a shattered gourd..

here are some problems

frets: rusty, not so smooth, most of them are flat near the playing string, and a few of them have a groove where the string would normally sit on them.. what are the best ways to fix this? or should i just buy new frets?

What is the best way to increase overall sustain? after listening to shahid parvez, i wanna get maximum sustain

is it desirable to get maximum surface contact area between the bridge feet and the gourd?

im using some metal string from india, no idea on the quality.. how much of a difference would buying "premium" string (like rosslau) make?

any advice would b helpful 8)
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #2 
OK! I'll take this one!
Greetings. Your sitar sounds very very tempting. The frets - although you could probably hack out some notes in their current condition, you really should replace them. How wide is the neck? With a 70 yr. old sitar, I'd be surprised if it made 3 1/2". Getting frets for an assumed narrow neck might be a trick from those that have them. Measure the neck width and hope for the best. Most of the guys on the left should have the parts you need. Be prepared to cut off a bit of one end of each fret and then cut a new slot and file the bottom side flat. Rounding that slot with a jewelers file will add years to the tie down threads.
Sustain? all kinds of factors determine that. Generally they all come back to quality. A good jawari is the heart. A good sound board is a close second. Good strings, string length, string distance from sound board, Oh, so many things.
Bridge leg contact - I've got some stuff regarding that. Mr. Nodu Mullick, the craftsman who retooled Pt. Ravi Shankars instruments during the 50's through 70's told and showed me how he did it. He did, in effect, a jawari on the bridge legs where they contact the sound board. Like the bridge surface for the strings, he left about 1/8" of daylight under the leading edge side. This allows the legs to breathe a bit and not choke up the vibration. My variation on that idea is to dish out the inner sides of the legs as they would face each other. The breathing room is there and the full side length is also in contact providing just that little bit more stability.
Strings - The bronze stuff from India is OK. I use it because it's available to me here and it works fine. Brand concious users will say otherwise. Listen to them for they would be in a better position to make that call. The steel strings must be swaped out for either rosslau, schaff or these packaged sets of pyramid strings. Lots of good reviews for pyramid brand. These are also available from the guys on the western front. New strings will make a dramatic difference in sound quality. Do Do Do this!
Always show great respect, love and even awe to your sitar. Wash your hands before playing and working on it. Never step over it if it sits on the floor. Never!
Go ahead and eMail me if you have a specific problem. Chances are I can help you out. I'm in N. Carolina for the rest of this month. If you're near enough, bring that beast over. Photos would be a help as well if possible. Always looking for sitar pics. Carry on!

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element-82

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Posts: 317
Reply with quote  #3 
Sounds like a great project! If you want the SP sound you should go with an ebony bridge, my opinion. Sustain? If you are lucky and have a clean and properly shaped jawari, the stars line up and the rest of what tony said, they you will get it. That is black magic. Let us know how it goes, I would love to see pics too. I'm off to look on ebay for an old clunker to fix up...

Pb

Quote:
Originally Posted by "daz199"
My sitar is prretty old, my teacher estimated it at 70 years or so...so it needs a lotta of fixin up and adjusting
I already made new feet for the bridge and repaird a shattered gourd..

here are some problems

frets: rusty, not so smooth, most of them are flat near the playing string, and a few of them have a groove where the string would normally sit on them.. what are the best ways to fix this? or should i just buy new frets?

What is the best way to increase overall sustain? after listening to shahid parvez, i wanna get maximum sustain

is it desirable to get maximum surface contact area between the bridge feet and the gourd?

im using some metal string from india, no idea on the quality.. how much of a difference would buying "premium" string (like rosslau) make?

any advice would b helpful 8)

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Surbahar Dude (formerly Sitar Dude)
http://sitarplayer.net
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daz199

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Posts: 431
Reply with quote  #4 
Ok im gonna start with frets..

The neck is 3.5 inches wide, and i decided i want new frets, the old ones are beyond repair..

What is the standard/common diameter for frets? mine are 0.4cm and are made of brass

Is it hard to make a new set? What material should i use? What tools?
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #5 
I'm already grimmacing at the thought of your upcoming fret project having taken on such a project myself years ago. All that was available was a brass rod 3/8" diameter from a hardware store. It worked! You will need a hacksaw, a medium and fine flat metal file, A standard weight hammer or maybe a little lighter, a block of wood with a smooth shallow trough cut through and with notches on the opposing high sides to hold the fret wire in position. You will also need a spark plug file and to really get the slots smoothed, a nut file available from Stewart-McDonald luthier supply. Something around .0024ish, whatever the kerf of the hacksaw blade is. Rubber bands would be a good thing as well to check the fret position on the neck.
When you've got a load of frets ready to install, hook up the first and second strings with the bridge in place. Bend up the highest fret. You will also need to file the undersides of the frets flat so they will sit on the neck without wobbling. Use the original set as a model. That will be a terrific guide for you. I used a 1" vertical belt sander to do this. Went through the belts but the job was quick and accurate. Go ahead and grind the ends smooth as well with a little hand filing to round off the corners just outboard of where the threads loop around. So, with the highest fret set at about 10mm. - 12mm. clear of the #1 string, set up the next fret going down away from the bridge. Check for just the right height clearance so the string won't catch on the previous fret or be too high. Check the curvature so the same clearance is good along the bend of the fret. Again, use the originals as a reference. Proceed all the way down to fret #1 and hope the line of the fret tops still allows a reasonable slot depth on the nut. If it looks like the overall fret line is going to leave you at the peg tips or down in the neck valley, go back and rebend accordingly. This is where the rubber bands are useful.
With the availability of frets from some of the people over on the western front (of the screen you're now looking at), You'd be a whole lot better off getting a rack of frets from them. That would cut down your grief and labor dramatically. I may have a set calibrated and ready to go for you. Wether or not the 3 1/2" width is there, I don't know. eMail me direct in a day or so and I could tell you more then.
I wish you all the luck in this noble and grand endeavor. Please wash your hands before commencing operations and talk softly and lovingly to the sitar. It sounds like metaphysical mush but it will make a huge difference to the final outcome. It really will!

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AbdulLatif

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Posts: 449
Reply with quote  #6 
Full body, with cavity search?
ALWAYS WEAR PROTECTION!!
eyegoggles anyway.
All seriousness aside a wire in the eye can do some damage.

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"Words are said to have a delusive nature (Mahamaya Matrika) because the word itself, although it may contain a reference to an object is often surrounded by clusters or Kulas of lesser Shaktis...."
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