INDIAN MUSIC FORUMS

Sign up Calendar Latest Topics Chat
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
mikmirac

Registered:
Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #1 
Firstly Hello to everyone who reads this. I am glad to have found this site, I have been reading posts on and off for about 2 months and it seems you are all very generous and knowledgeable in your advice.
My name is Mike Carley, I fell in love with the sound of the sitar 20 years ago on a trip to India. I was walking down a street in Varanasi somewhere,near Khedar Ghat or Assi ghat and I could hear sitar, I stopped to listen. The playing was wonderful, for about 15 mins I stood outside until someone came out and invited me in. It was even more beautiful to hear close-up. Time stood still, until eventually they stopped, we all got talking and the sitar player, I think it was Goswami, told me to come back the next day for lessons. I took painful lessons for a month and had a sitar made on the recommendation of my teacher. Then all my money was spent and I had to come back to France. On leaving, my teacher made me buy the Ravi Shankhar book and I continued practicing with that for a year. I can't remember why I put the sitar aside at that point, maybe I'd got as far as I could by myself. Also I remember I had dreams to go back to india and record Goswami for a cross-over east meets west experiment, I failed to get back to india and went into other musical domains.
I was lucky enough to get a record deal about six years ago to record my own songs, at the same time I met a sitar player who had come to France for a master class with his students from england. I couldn't afford the classes but Baluji Shrivastav helped me get my sitar back in playing order. I had decided I would play a song on the sitar on my record so I practiced hard for 6 months and got the piece done. By the way Baluji plays a lovely piece of Dilruba on another of the songs.
Again the sitar got put awaybecause of broken strings and lost mizrabs.
Recently a luthier friend of mine was asked if he could repair a sitar so he asked to see mine to get an idea of what to expect. We got mine more or less back in working order, but I'm sure i've got some of the wrong string gauges in the wrong places and I'm wondering if the bridge isn't a bit out. Anyhow the sitar seemed about playable, so I ordered mizrabs from raincity after having found this forum and I've been practicing for about 6 weeks.
I'm just getting through the pain threshold! I can hold out about an hour and a half. The groove is widenin, the meend is better and the little muscle on the right forarm I call the speed muscle is startin to bulge!
I feel though that I should be getting more from the sitar, I want first to get new strings and get the bridge in the right place. I can't seem to get the sitar properly in tune. I am finding it difficult to get good advice on internet so far. Everything is very confusing, I have read there are different styles of strings for different styles of playing, and also I read of light ,medium and heavy gauges.
I believe that my sitar was set up ravi shankar style, because my teacher had me use his method and also because it has the hooks for the bass strings. Also I enjoy the thicker tones of heavy strings, but maybe I should start out on medium to not cause too much damage. Could anyone offer me some advice and also maybe tell me where I could find a good diagram for placing the bridge. I've read you should use the 11th fret MA on the 1st string as a guide for the octaves.
Of course the best thing would be to have a teacher nearby, but I don't.
All advicewelcome............thank you
0
Bhakta

Registered:
Posts: 68
Reply with quote  #2 
Back when I was trying to learn sitar and how to tune it and all that I found that using harmonics on the 1st string is incredibly helpful for getting the bridge to the proper location. It worked for me when I was trying to play sitar...no gurus around me, though so I switched to tabla. :wink: I hope this helps you with getting your sitar back in working condition. Keep up the good work!
0
mikmirac

Registered:
Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #3 
thanks for your reply bhakta. Just a little precision : "using harmonics on the 1st string is incredibly helpful for getting the bridge to the proper location". Do you mean using the harmonics of the taraf strings? Or do you mean like on a guitar where you get the harmonics by holding your finger above the fret? I'll give that atry anyhow since I've never tried to get that sort of harmonic on the sitar.
0
OM GUY

Registered:
Posts: 841
Reply with quote  #4 
Check your PM's, mik. :|
__________________
Let's hope 2016 is less violent and that people discover the soothing influence of ICM. Hari OM!
0
trippy monkey

Registered:
Posts: 4,281
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi
You don't say where you're from!
That guy you heard was most probably a Dr Ravindra Goswami, an older guy with white hair?

Nick
0
OM GUY

Registered:
Posts: 841
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
Hi
You don't say where you're from!
That guy you heard was most probably a Dr Ravindra Goswami, an older guy with white hair?

Nick
France.....

__________________
Let's hope 2016 is less violent and that people discover the soothing influence of ICM. Hari OM!
0
Bhakta

Registered:
Posts: 68
Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "mikmirac"
thanks for your reply bhakta. Just a little precision : "using harmonics on the 1st string is incredibly helpful for getting the bridge to the proper location". Do you mean using the harmonics of the taraf strings? Or do you mean like on a guitar where you get the harmonics by holding your finger above the fret? I'll give that atry anyhow since I've never tried to get that sort of harmonic on the sitar.
Sorry it took so long for a reply. I did mean harmonics like on a guitar. It helped me a lot with adjusting the bridge, especially when I made the very poor mistake of changing all the strings at once instead of one at a time...... ops: I hope that helps you!
0
mikmirac

Registered:
Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks so much Bhakta, Nick and Ray!
I figured out the harmonics thing so at least I managed to get most of the frets in the right place. I haven't yet restrung the sitar but I'm sure the bridge is out because I can't get the frets back enough on the top komal re ga and the sa is a touch to high, the tuning pegs are in the way. Eh, sorry that doesn't seem to clear. What I mean is that I can't get the fret back enough because of the taraf tuning pegs and therefore the top Sa is a little too high. Could you tell me if that means the bridge needs to go back alittle or come forward. To me logic would dictate it needs to go back a little, but logic and laws of harmonics sometimes seem to be 2 different things. Also I can't figure out if the bridge is glued in (I've also heard of sitars where the bridge slots onto pegs to hold it in place) because ie doesn't want to move with the strings still on and I don't want to force. I know I should get the strings off to find out, but I'm worried I could make things worse and the sitar is still playeable. I'm at that point in my practicing where I can't afford to take a few days off, coz every time I do my finger softens up and I get stiff in thejoints (the curse of middle age, I have always been a stiffy though despite yoga!). 3 days offf the sitar and it takes a week to get back to the same level!! But I suppose you've all experienced that!
Thanks again for your invaluable advice..........Mike
0
Lars

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,452
Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Mike,

If you're hitting the sympathetic pegs then the bridge will have to be moved, sounds like it needs to go back toward the langot.
Tune your main string to F# (MA), find the middle harmonic which will be an octave higher. Set your fret for F# (MA a fourth above C# or SA) directly under where your finger hits the harmonic note. Adjust frets from that point. When you move the bridge you'll have to do this again with the idea that eventually you will find an acceptable position to where you can use all of your frets in all notes without hitting the sympathetic pegs. It can be quite a lot of work but if your sitar was good once and the neck is OK you should be OK, the wood will shrink, etc. over time which is why you are having this issue.

Knocking the bridge loose can be difficult because sometimes a piece of the bridge leg likes to say glued, use a piece of wood and get it to contact the bridge as much as possible on the base of the legs then hit the wood with a hammer and it'll come loose. If you feel that there is too much glue then you can try scoring around the legs with a scalpel or dripping alcohol underneath carefully (avoiding any drips onto the tabli) and then the hammer. Your luthier friend would maybe be of help too if you can't easily get the bridge loose.

If you have broadband internet then I'd be happy to help you via Skype if the timing works out, drop me an email....

All the best,
Lars
Rain City Music

__________________
http://www.raincitymusic.com
0
mikmirac

Registered:
Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks very much Lars. I'll be trying it out really soon and will get back to you
The only thing that slightly mystifies me is that i can get a harmonic MA but the note I get if I press down at that point is a tivra MA?. Does that mean the bridge is miles out or that the sitar has warped/shrunk etc..?
It is a sweet sounding sitar, not very powerful and the tarafs ring out nicely except for the MA and maybe GA.
Also on your site I saw the indrajit B. sitar courses on DVD. Could you recommend 1 in particular? I am on a limited budget and a bit worried that the introduction might be a bit to easy. My level is a bit hard to define, technique wise I would say intermediate(2-3 years at 2 hours a day), but as far as mastering a raga I would class myself as acomplete beginer. I've worked my way through the ravi shankar method, I can hit the right notes on my meends but complex meends at speed are beyond me. I have a long background on guitar so tune and rythm isn't a problem, to myself my playing sounds good but I just can't get the speed. The principles and techniques of Alap and Jor I understand but the techniques and principles of Gat and evenmore so Jhala are a mystery to me.
Thank you again...........Mike
0
Bhakta

Registered:
Posts: 68
Reply with quote  #11 
Mike, it sounds like your bridge still needs to be moved if you're getting the tivra MA on the fret. Or the fret may have to be moved...It's a very complicated process of constantly adjusting the bridge and frets until you get everything in place, then you'll be good for a while. It took me 6 months to figure out all the bridge placement, fret placement, and tuning back when I was playing sitar. I am going off of memory, so I hope people can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm quite sure that's how I remembered it. I eventually sent it to Keshav Das in NY to have his guy tweak it for me after I had some problems with my junky sitar... :roll: He did a fantastic job and made my sitar sound way better than it used to...so that may be another option for you.
0
Lars

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,452
Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "mikmirac"
Thanks very much Lars. I'll be trying it out really soon and will get back to you
The only thing that slightly mystifies me is that i can get a harmonic MA but the note I get if I press down at that point is a tivra MA?. Does that mean the bridge is miles out or that the sitar has warped/shrunk etc..?
It is a sweet sounding sitar, not very powerful and the tarafs ring out nicely except for the MA and maybe GA.
Also on your site I saw the indrajit B. sitar courses on DVD. Could you recommend 1 in particular? I am on a limited budget and a bit worried that the introduction might be a bit to easy. My level is a bit hard to define, technique wise I would say intermediate(2-3 years at 2 hours a day), but as far as mastering a raga I would class myself as acomplete beginer. I've worked my way through the ravi shankar method, I can hit the right notes on my meends but complex meends at speed are beyond me. I have a long background on guitar so tune and rythm isn't a problem, to myself my playing sounds good but I just can't get the speed. The principles and techniques of Alap and Jor I understand but the techniques and principles of Gat and evenmore so Jhala are a mystery to me.
Thank you again...........Mike
Hi Mike, when you press down then the string is further up the bridge giving you a sharper note. It does not have to be exact, the harmonic is the general area and you'll have to adjust as necessary.
None of our DVD's will be too easy, I'd recommend the 1st Yaman video which is also the least expensive and least polished but lots of very good material there. If you want to develop complex meends, etc. then the Sitar Technique Vol. 1 is the way to go. More titles are being filmed this fall...
Feel free to email me for further sitar help via Skype, etc. if you like.

Lars
Rain City Music

__________________
http://www.raincitymusic.com
0
mikmirac

Registered:
Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #13 
Thanks to you all for your advice. I have found a fantastic sitar player in the south of France though, Brigitte Menon. I drove down to see her last weekend for some tutoring (6 hour drive because of heavy holiday traffic) and she has resolved most of the problems I had with my sitar. She gave me the strings I needed and I restrung the sitar completely, she replaced the fret string on a fret and we moved the jawari back (a frightening process involving a hammer! but all went well, she claims to have done it many times!). All I need to do now is file down the jawari to get rid of the grooves on the 2 main strings. I know this is a delicate operation but apperently the curve on the jawari is very good and I have a very good luthier to help me. The sitar is starting to sound really good and hopefully the work on the jawari will really make the main string ring out!
I have been practicing now for 4months for 2 hours a day but I have to go to Scotland for a month and I'm worried that I'll lose most of what I've gained (finger going soft etc..). I can't bring my sitar with me because I'm travelling on a lo-cost flight. I was wondering if anyone knows if I could rent a sitar in scotland? Or failing that I would be willing to buy a student sitar or a second hand one going cheap. I will post this as a new thread. Thank you all for your help
0
trippy monkey

Registered:
Posts: 4,281
Reply with quote  #14 
UMMM???
A cheaper one going when you're in Scotland eh?

Nick
0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.