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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #1 
Not sure how to describe this other than Mantra Jazz Rock. I share this because it shows that a sitar could be played in an acoustic jamming non-ICM situation. Not for an ICM purist, but fun and interesting regardless as it shows that if you get the sound balance right, a sitar can play in acoustically oriented rock/jazz band.

This is ONLY an acoustic guitar and sitar jamming together, with some foot-thumping based rhythm occasionally. Both instruments are amplified as best as we know but it is hard to play and adjust sound at the same time. Dogs are barking in the background a few times.

These are Christophe's original compositions with large improvised sections and have no resemblance to any raga that I know of.

Somehow, I thought it was still pretty cool musically. The tracks all start out slow and develop a steady medium tempo and then a build up crescendo to jhala-like speeds, but the music is not ICM in nature at all.

The video recordings show a completely RAW improvisation i.e. there is no rehearsal. The sitar player (me) did not even know the song, though I had heard my friend play the chorus a few times before. This was our first attempt to play it together (he had to capo his guitar to make it more friendly to my C# tuning).

Start at 5' 15" to avoid the setup preamble chat.



There is a longer jam with no vocals starting at about 11" 15" but it is not like ICM at all. Though I do use meend a lot. The big wolf (not a dog!) was insistently asking for a snack at 11:45.

This second track is much more Classic Rock-like but the song was completely new to me, and I heard it for the first time just a few minutes before we recorded this, so I am still feeling out the melodic scope. Musically, I really liked this song.

Start at about 55 seconds to avoid the preamble talk.



One of the big challenges we have is to keep the sitar visible (i.e. loud enough) when things are really rocking - I am using a Meyers tiny mic on soundboard + a Rode mic on the stand in front of the sitar. I am told I need a pre-amp for the Meyers.

Does anybody have recommendations for a small and not too expensive preamp to boost the volume of the Meyers mic?

I feel pretty strongly about keeping an acoustic quality to the sound and I don't want to sound like a lead guitar.

This was our first jam like this and we will do it more to get it tighter.

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Kirya
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Ingo

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Reply with quote  #2 
Very nice, esp. as unrehearsed spontaneous stuff. A carefully handled Sitar can fit into lots of different music; it is the ideal vehicle for classical, but has any right to explore other places.

The guitar sounds full bodied and occupies a lot of frequencies, the Sitar stays mostly in rather snarly mid range - I think the Sitar could benefit from a fuller sound, too.

About preamp: Is that Meyers thingie a real mic (like the AKG 411) or a piezo or something else? The right preamp would have to fit the Meyers' electrical specs. (Here a Fishman DualEQ or a Baggs ParaAcoustic DI work fine with piezos, a ART TubeMP plus Leveler for small mics - all bought used, good enough for live, but not really hifi or newest tech.)
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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks, I think you have hit the nail on the head -- the sitar sound is too tinny and thin and lacks fullness on the video, and I know that when we play without amplification, the sound balance is quite different.

The Myers mic is a small condensor mic as I understand, not a piezo https://www.myerspickups.com/support/  I like it because it has a very acoustic quality in amplification, until you add other instruments and it gets quickly overpowered. 

We also have a Rode mic in front of the instrument but I think we are losing all the low-end. I see that Lars recommends a LR Baggs Gigpro as a preamp to get the sitar sound louder. I am not really interested in making a big investment as I play ICM 90% of the time and don't care about amplification, but in this day and age this issue just does not go away if you ever play in public.

If people have amplification suggestions to get acoustic sounds LOUDER for under $500 I am all ears.




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Kirya
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barend

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Reply with quote  #4 
I would suggest to not use a mic when you want to go loud in a band settting. Too much trouble with fighting feedback. Better to use a pickup with a decent preamp. Like a Fishman Platinum or the LR Baggs. What is essential is where exactly you place the pickup on the tabli.
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Ingo

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Reply with quote  #5 
Yes, in louder settings a mic wont do (approach the mixer man on a big stage with a Sitar and request a mic and he/she will go "OMG, a Sitar, that's trouble" - as Sitar is x not exactly loud and has xx difficult resonances for amplification).

In the room in your video you maybe can do with the Rode plus Meyers - put the Rode rather near the bridge/tabli (to pick up the higher freqs and "air") and use the contact mic on a bassy spot for "body" - mic placement is the black art in studio work and there is a lot of experimeting and time needed to find the right spot. If the Meyers is standard condensor spec (didn't find the tech spec on their website, only marketing blurb), it should go into a mic input with phantom power on a mixer (you have a mixer?), same as the Rode. Then you at least have two channels with mix eq to work with. So, first try to milk the sound from what you have, before throwing more money on the prob.

In fusion settings you mostly see piezos (the easy self built from piezo foil up to boutique/hype piezos for 100s of bills) plus good preamps. That sound is not comparable with a good Neumann etc. in the studio, but can be made nice with some reverb etc.

We have to admire the Sitar not only for the advanced playing technique and special sound, but also for the trouble to get that very fine sound amplified;-)


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