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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #31 
Gillo, We are all giving opinions based on photos that are not great, about a sitar that we can not touch or hear.
We will all have varying opinions.

BUT if this sitar is a 3/4 size sitar, how is it an OK beginners sitar?
A 3/4 size sitar is essentially a toy for tourists.
Someone who wants to learn to play the sitar seriously needs a full sized sitar.
I would not even suggest a 3/4 size sitar for someone who just wants to noodle around on Beatles tunes.

You dont see any 3/4 size sitars for sale on the serious dealer sites.
It is because they are not for the serious sitar enthusiast.
It is a waste of the guys money.
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Mushroom

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Reply with quote  #32 
Hey cwroyds,

Don't worry, I didn't feel slighted at all. That's not what I meant in my post. You're absolutely right in saying I probably don't know what a real sitar sounds like. :wink:

Your comments are always heartily welcome.

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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #33 
Cool.
Thanks for that.

I just know that many of the people who take up the sitar eventually quit out of frustration.
Having a good quality playable sitar takes away a lot of the frustrations.
It is especially important to have a sitar that can be tuned and stay in tune.
When you buy a sitar from a reputable source they are all set up and ready to play.
I bought all of mine from Ebay and Craigslist and they all needed a lot of fiddly work and setup before they rocked the house.
Luckily I had a great sitar expert to help me restore them to playability, but it did add cost onto the price of the sitar.

Take your time and you will know when the right sitar comes along.
It will be full sized and awesome.
Be sure to check out raincitymusic.com and aacm.org
They are trusted reputable dealers, and many here have bought sitars from these sources and are very happy with their purchases.
Also keep your eyes out on Ebay and Craigslist for older sitars that might be awesome.
Stay away from the new cheap ones on Ebay as they are mostly crap.
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povster

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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "gillo"
the sitar in the photo looks to me like a perfectly decent starter and i don't think that beginners should be put off such sitars because they are not perfect. It seems that the only deal breaker in this case was the size of the instrument which to me is silly - it seems to be almost as long as a piano keyboard - the OP might be able to tell us the precise dimensions but there were no questions about what is a 'full-size' sitar.
We only see (at least in my view) a small part of the keyboard so I am not sure how you are using it as a size gauge. I used the sarode next to it as the size gauge. This sitar seems just a titch longer than a sarode. That is NOT an instrument to start learning sitar on. Even the tight spacing of only 10 taraftar speaks to its diminutive size.

Also as regards to a sitar not being "perfect"...few if any really are perfect. But they can simply be acceptable. Probably the worst approach to starting sitar is to get an unacceptable instrument because it is inexpensive. These are not good. Not good means frets that hit the taraf pegs regardless of how the bridge is positioned. Too thin frets. Pegs made of soft wood (sapwood) that won't hold tuning and often can't be tuned. A neck that is or will soon will soon be twisted. No taraf response regardless of jawari. No main response regardless of jawari. Frets that are ill formed that cause buzzing because the fret above is too high. Frets that stick out too far and can cause cuts. Action that is too high or too low.

Some cheap sitars actually have pretty much all of these things built in.

A 3/4 size sitar, which this one looks like, is not acceptable for someone trying to learn sitar. They will usually lack resonance and more importantly, sustain. They also will sound better tuned higher due to the shorter string length, which will make learning from a teacher or from DVDs much more difficult, especially for a beginner.

You said "there were no questions about what is a 'full-size' sitar". This is true - there were no questions about that but that is because sitars are fairly standardized in the width of the neck and the length of the neck - the two critical dimensions. The size of the lower tumba is variable because tumbas themselves are grown from gourds and come in varying sizes/shapes. But that is an area where the size of the player comes in. A smaller player may like a smaller main tumba. A larger player may like a larger one. But even with these variables the tumba and the resultant tabli will still fall within a general range.

Now experienced sitar players may seek out a 3/4 size instrument for travel when they are not performing but just want something to keep their hand in, so to speak. But these are people wh9o know what they are doing and just want to be able to maintain their playing while on the road in a situation where a full sized sitar is not practical. This is one of the reasons for the increasing popularity of "travel sitars", which tend to sound and respond better than the sitar pictured above.

And to reinforce what cwroyds said about how beginners perceive the "sound" of a sitar, many of the beginners I have met seem to think a sitar should sound like NORWEGIAN WOOD by the Beatles or PAINT IT BLACK by the Rolling Stones. All buzzy/twangy and sounding more like a tanpura than a sitar. I have seen so many beginners pick up a sitar and immediately start vibrating a fretted string a little back and forth. You know the sound. There is no real pitch there, although pitch is critical to ICM. But that is how they perceive it. They are confusing deliberate techniques around accurate pitches with just a vibratory sound. It is not their fault. It just is a factor in not being an experienced listener/player.

Basically a person new to sitar should get at the a decent (at least)/good first sitar. Nothing will discourage a budding musician more than an instrument that can't be tuned, cannot stay in tune, has little sound, cuts their fingers etc.

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gillo

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Reply with quote  #35 
povster - i guestimated the size of the sitar by reference to the keyboard allowing for camera lens distorting - about 6-7 octaves? how long is that (I don't have a piano handy)? the sitar is sitting on top of a piano isn't it?

anyway - I totally agree a small sitar is not good for learning or playing or anything much really but it is accepted that 'full size' sitars have a range within which they are made - I assumed given my guestimation that this sitar fell into that range albeit at the smaller end of the scale...

any other feature of poor sitars mentioned is just a risk factor to look out for and looking at this sitar my view was that those risks are low...
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povster

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Reply with quote  #36 
Hello gillo,

As I had mentioned before - the sitar is barely longer than the sarode next to it. That is just too small to be a good learning instument. Also, as I mentioned, the tight spacing of 10 taraftar (sympathetic strings) is also an indicator of just how small this instrument is.

Forget about the keyboard - the sarode laying next to the sitar and the taraf spacing is the key to gauging size here.

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #37 
What if a smaller child wanted to learn?? Give them a full size instrument???

Nick
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povster

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Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
What if a smaller child wanted to learn?? Give them a full size instrument???

Nick
cw already covered that. :roll:

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #39 
Sorry I'm still a bit jet-lagged.

N
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povster

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Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
Sorry I'm still a bit jet-lagged.

N
When are you not?

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...Michael
Dasani - the official bottled water of ICM
Panini - the official bread of ICM
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