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modorange

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi, newbie here. I have a feeling I may be spending some time on this very fine forum.

I recently purchased a sitar from a second hand store for not much money. Actually it was a package deal with a set of drums (I'm a drummer) and it appears mostly intact except for the gourd body (kadu?). There are a few other issues and I am pretty sure this is not a pro-grade sitar. It has a sticker on it near the headstock that says Buckingham Music.

The body of this instrument was rebuilt by an industrious woodworker who probably knew little about the construction of a sitar body. It was re-assembled with wooden scewers and what appears to be the body of a children's acoustic guitar. In any case, a cursory view of the parts of a sitar on Google reveal I'm needing the gourd body or kadu, and the ornamental leaf-like wood trim or patri. Other than a single replaced sympathetic string tuner, it appears intact. I just got some new strings.

I realize these are serious instruments for most who venture in the area of playing a sitar, but it is what it is. I am determined to put this back into shape for playing, for myself or perhaps one of the other interested guitarists that are in my immediate sphere including my son who has picked it up and already begun making an elementary form of music with it.

Thanks for reading the lengthy intro post, cheers from central Oklahoma, USA!
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Sitarfixer

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Greetings. Sounds like you have a major undertaking there. I have gourds, pegs, frets, strings - everything you'll need to rebuild this beastie to your liking. I can sell you these parts or even rebuild this instrument for you once I see some pics of how things are at the moment. If you can post some pics here, that would be of great help. PM me if you like and we can talk on the phone.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "modorange"
It was re-assembled with wooden scewers and what appears to be the body of a children's acoustic guitar.
Interesting! I for one would love to see a picture of it if you have one to upload!
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modorange

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I'll try to have pics of it all around soon. Hopefully that won't label me on this forum as the guy with the weirdest-looking sitar!
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hey, it would be rather a noble title!

My sitar has a wooden body (a "studio" model) and no gourd, and it sounds pretty good (has gotten compliments from Ust. Imrat Khan on its quality of tone), so I'm not at all dismissive of gourdless sitars. But it sounds like yours may have just been somewhat patched together, from your description. Does it sound good?
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modorange

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Reply with quote  #6 
I think it sounds OK but it isn't a highend model at all, and I just ordered some new strings for it, and have yet to replace them. So the sound could only improve, I think. If it becomes too difficult to find a gourd for it, I may try to turn it into an electric or something..
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modorange

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OK here's some pictures,last one first:

Side view of body:
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l5/modorange/Sitar%20pictures/100_1912.jpg
Front and side:
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l5/modorange/Sitar%20pictures/100_1913.jpg
Butt end, and tailpiece:
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l5/modorange/Sitar%20pictures/100_1910.jpg
Another side view:
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l5/modorange/Sitar%20pictures/100_1911.jpg
View of the top:
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l5/modorange/Sitar%20pictures/100_1908.jpg
The other side of body:
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l5/modorange/Sitar%20pictures/100_1909.jpg
For neck gourd? (not sure):
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l5/modorange/Sitar%20pictures/100_1906.jpg
Side view of sympathetic string tuners (one was replaced with a home-made one:
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l5/modorange/Sitar%20pictures/100_1907.jpg
Basic front view of sitar, it has 19 frets (could one or more have been removed?) and 11 sympathetic strings:
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l5/modorange/Sitar%20pictures/100_1905.jpg
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modorange

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
Greetings. Sounds like you have a major undertaking there. I have gourds, pegs, frets, strings - everything you'll need to rebuild this beastie to your liking. I can sell you these parts or even rebuild this instrument for you once I see some pics of how things are at the moment. If you can post some pics here, that would be of great help. PM me if you like and we can talk on the phone.
I've sent you a pm to alert you of the pics.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #9 
"HOLY CRAP" ! ! ! - and just when I thought I'd seen 'em all ! ! ! WOW ! ! ! One must admire the ingenuity, inventiveness and outright desperation in getting this baby cobbled back into some kind of playability. What an absolute party I would have in getting this sitar back into a more conventional appearance. I have gourds here that should work. Right size and shape. The gulu is still in place so that makes it all possible. Do keep in mind that such an undertaking would cost quite a bit more than the instrument, even in pristine original condition, would ever be worth. If there is a sentimantal attatchment to it or if you are more curious than my cats, that would be the only driver to getting this beastie up and running. The job can certainly be done. That 20th. fret - count the number of thread scars on the back of the neck. That will tell you if one is missing or not. There are many sitars that came with 19 frets as standard. 20 seems to be the industry standard now. I'm not all that keen on that last highest fret in that my fat fingers can't really grip the string on a meend there. So - if you are willing to get this babay back up and running , PM me and we can go from there. I would sure enjoy the project, no doubt about that ! ! !
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David Russell Watson

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Reply with quote  #10 
Wow, that is something else!

That replacement "tumba" really exemplifies the saying "Where there's a will there's a way"!

I have to say, though, to be working with what they did the repair person actually did a rather tidy job.

David
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #11 
That's a bit of a jawdropper...you had mentioned skewers in the construction, I hadn't quite imagined that! Wow! I wonder if that wooden handle in the upper tumba socket was used as a rest when setting the instrument down, maybe?

Tony I'm sure could work wonders but with it in that state, unless the instrument is particularly good, it might not warrant the investment. So you could either keep it as it is, in all its unique splendour, or another thought I had, if you are given to woodworking...what if you buy a mandolin back and sides set from Stewart MacDonald (luthier shop) and basically create a wooden bodied "travel" sitar with it. Would a mandolin back/sides fit right? It'd be a little shallow of course, but It might be better than the skewer construction.

Probably what I'd do, if in your position, is get some new strings and tweak it a bit and try to get it pretty good sounding as is...and then save your money for a new sitar! You can get fairly decent ones for not too much.
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TCPerez

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Reply with quote  #12 
Wow.
Thats some impressive work with those skewers... I do wonder what the repairer hoped to gain by using skewers instead of wood? Very interesting to say the least :wink:
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modorange

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Reply with quote  #13 
Looks like that was what they could think of to match the shape. The guitar body base at the base of the sitar is interesting. I plan on either getting a gourd that fits and getting relevant info on re-gluing it or simply creating an entirely different type of body. The way it is, there is little to no resonanance in the body.
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modorange

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Reply with quote  #14 
Still looking for a gourd. I just measured the tabali and side-to side, the widest is around 12.75". From the butt of the Tabali to where the lower edge of the gullu is, is around 8". It is also missing the Patri. There are a few other very small things missing (along with several simpathetic strings, but I believe these are the major parts I need based on this diagram:

http://chandrakantha.com/articles/indian_music/sitar/media/exploded_view.jpg

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
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TCPerez

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Reply with quote  #15 
Well, spring/ summer seems to be the right time of year to be looking for a gourd :roll:
http://americangourdsociety.org/events.html
I don't know where you're located, but if any of those are near you you could go and probably at least get a lead on finding a gourd. Many gourd growers sell online as well (apparently) they are popular craft item.(who knew) I believe the kettle/martin gourds are closest to what is used for the kadu. Patri serve to protect the gourd, but are mostly decoration (many sitars don't have them). I believe (theres many people on this forum who could tell you more definitvely) that the gourds are cut to the basic shape, and soaked in water to make them pliable/proper shape.
Anyways, good luck
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