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Johnny_Two_Hats

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hey all,
I'm new here. Not sure if this is the place to ask questions like this. I'm sorry if I shouldn't even be posting this on this forum.
Anyway I play guitar, bass, and piano. I'm a huge fan of George Harrison and Brian Jones and have fallen in love with their use of the sitar in their bands. I would love to play it. So my questions are...

Whats a good sitar I can buy to start off with? I don't want a cheap crappy one I'm willing to spend a bit of money $1,000 - $2,000 maybe more (or less) but have no Idea what sitars usually go for. I want one that will sound good and play good and will last.

Whats the best way to go about learning it? Not sure if I can find a teacher where I live. Are there any books of videos that can help me learn the basics?

Whats some real Indian/Eastern Sitar music I should be listening to?

Thanks so much for your help! again sorry if this is posted in the wrong place.
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vbnautilus

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Reply with quote  #2 
You really gotta find a teacher. It's much more important that you are imagining. Post where you live and people here might be able to point you in the right direction.
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AllenDS

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Reply with quote  #3 
Welcome to the board, JTH!

Start out your search for an instrument and the learning materials by going to these two places:
http://www.aacmstore.org
http://raincitymusic.com

The first place to go to hear a large amount of great sitar music would be YouTube. Search for names such as:
Nikhil Banerjee
Shahid Parvez
Rais Khan
Vilayat Khan

You'll have a lot of good questions after checking out these links and key words.

Good Luck!
Allen

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musicslug

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to repeat a previous post: find a teacher. he or she will help you find an instrument, tweak it if needed, and get you on a path that avoids bad habits and allows the fastest progress.

the classical Indian music teaching method, 'guru-shishya-parampara' (guru-student method) resembles what's called 'apprenticeship' in the west far more than 'teacher-student'. because the teacher will have come out of this system, you'll be learning the way they did, inheriting lore passed down for generations. this also means that you'll be part of one of the many lineages (gharanas) in Indian music - regional styles.

because of this, it might be smart to do a lot of listening first, figure out if you like a particular player more than the others - you could then seek out a teacher from that tradition.

good luck!
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barend

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "musicslug"
because of this, it might be smart to do a lot of listening first, figure out if you like a particular player more than the others - you could then seek out a teacher from that tradition.
Don't think that is really necessary or important for an absolute (western) beginner. What is more important is that it is a good teacher no matter what tradition/gharana. As a beginners there is no way you can 'judge' gharana's. That's something that comes much later in the learning process.

Besides this most western people don't have the luxury of choosing between several teachers. You are already lucky if you can find one sitar teacher in your town.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #6 
I would say its at least a little important...a certain sense of listening immersion would be helpful to sort of figure out in which direction your interest lies...6 string gandhar pancham sitar (generally in imdadkhani /gayaki style) or in 7 string kharaj pancham style (Maihar, and other gharanas). If you lean towards one that will influence both your choice of instrument, and your choice of teacher. Most likely you will have a hard time finding a local one if you live in an area anything like mine, so learning via skype / google chat technology might be necessary...which works quite well actually, in my experience.

Here's a few good introductory samples to various players...in the Maihar tradition (7 string kharaj pancham), note the slightly more open (buzzy) sounding tone, the thick web of tanpura drone, and the lower strings in the slower section:
Ravi Shankar - Raag Jog

Nikhil Banerjee - Bhimpalasi


And Imdadkhani style (6 string gandhar pancham)...focusing more on the middle and upper octaves:
Vilayat Khan - Darbari (this recording is a classic...be sure to listen to the gat starting halfway through!)


Not a famous one admittedly but a favorite of mine, you can hear the major third chikari (whereas in the above its tuned to the 5th) which gives that full chordal sound gandhar pancham sitars enjoy.
Imrat Khan - Hamsadhwani


Good luck and enjoy!! I would echo the above about checking out AACM and Rain City Music for an instrument...you should be able to get a good one under $1000 (at least, I have, twice) but I would expect to spend around 700+ to avoid risking a lemon.

Also, Rain City Music has some instructional videos that might be a nice intro before you find a teacher. I got the Yaman one before finding my teacher and most of it seems applicable across gharana lines...
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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #7 
IMO focusing on what style you want when you are a complete beginner is pretty pointless for a complete novice.

I would suggest that you get a decent student sitar from RCM or AACM and not worry too much about Gandhar Pancham of Kharaj Pancham at this point since if you are really serious you will probably only play alankars and paltas for the first year just to get your hands comfortable.

I would recommend the DVDs from RCM by Indrajit Banerjee -- all the basic ones with the scale excercises -- it would take most people years to master that material if they play a few hours a day.

You could also take Online lessons with a beginner sitar class at the AACM

If you can find a real teacher it would be good to make sure you dont develop bad habits and get basic technique right -- the Indrajit DVDs do a good job of making this clear if you watch it repeatedly and can actually play along.

If you are still playing a year from now then maybe you can decide about GP or KP

Just my 2 cents == listen to beginners on Youtube so you can guage yourself and listen to as many of the pieces in the definitive recording discussion so you can understand what real playing sounds like.

Good luck

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