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nicneufeld

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OK, this is going to seem very anticlimatic, but my new sitar arrived today. Unfortunately I have no pics or comments yet, because it was delivered at home and I still have yet another hour here at work. Its an RA Sitarmaker Studio sitar in kharaj pancham.

Excited to unbox the thing! Will post comments. Thanks Lars!
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #2 
We await your pics. I've got an intimately good idea what this beastie will look like. If it has gear tuners, I can't vouch for them but the rest of the instrument will be overkill for its size. I have one of my own that I custom co-built with all standard pegs. Refer to :


http://www.karaseksound.com/ShowBigPic.php?ID=IMG0157

This should be the solid body 4" stock model you're getting. Excellent choice ! Well done !

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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #3 
Lars still has the page up:
http://www.raincitymusic.com/rastudio.htm

He probably takes better pictures than I will anyway!

chikari and taraf are pegs, main strings geared. Leaving the office in about 10 minutes, heading home to unpack it! Just in time, an ICM workshop I'm attending is tomorrow!
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #4 
Confirmed from pics on Rain City site. You got the good one. Love that tabli carving. Congrats ! ! Enjoy showing off this new baby at that workshop !
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #5 
I spoke too soon, it actually isn't that exact sitar, but close...this one has geared tuners for all the chikari, pegs for the taraf (I actually like that, I'm a guitarist with an enduring pegphobia, the taraf pegs will be easy training wheels). But very much the same.

Wow, am I bad at this. :mrgreen: Lots of practice ahead. But it sounds lovely. I had the mizrab facing the wrong way, hehe, for the first few minutes, ie., rotated 90 degrees. The da-re stuff doesn't work well that way! That's one of the advantages of an in person teacher, to prevent such silly mistakes.

I'll get pics of this particular one up soon. Love it, so far!
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
We await your pics. I've got an intimately good idea what this beastie will look like. If it has gear tuners, I can't vouch for them but the rest of the instrument will be overkill for its size. I have one of my own that I custom co-built with all standard pegs. Refer to :


http://www.karaseksound.com/ShowBigPic.php?ID=IMG0157

This should be the solid body 4" stock model you're getting. Excellent choice ! Well done !
These were not quite as fancy and had the 'modern' headstock. Same body design, nice and big actually and good wood. That nightclubber is quite nice, did you keep it?

Lars

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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #7 
I'm on a phone and I need to get some sleep so I'll be brief...I -love- this instrument. Both this specific instrument, and the sitar in general.

One thing I noted, the chikaris have plenty of sitar "buzz" but the main string doesn't. Is that common? The main string has a more guitar like sound, I assume closed jawari, but the chikaris buzz out beautifully. Not a complaint, just a point if curiosity. Haven't even plugged it in yet...put it this way, my wife thought it was too loud for our two year old sleeping upstairs, so it has decent acoustic volume!

Love it!
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #8 
Yes that one had good volume, more than the first one we had here. 1st string is half open/hard touch meaning it'll buzz if you strike it hard, it's a little better for amplifying which will pick up buzz quicker.
I did the same thing with the 4th string only with a med. touch as it's harder to get in there. Chikari's came that way so left it as is......
Enjoy!

Lars
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #9 
Here's the pic, lo res and not the greatest, but it gives an idea:

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2/nicneufeld/sitar.jpg

The third (depending which way you count I guess...the low Pa string basically) has a bit of open fret buzz on the first fret. Seems to me to indicate that maybe the nut is a little low on that string. Not sure if there is an easy fix for that...its not terribly irritating or anything. The low Sa is easy to fret sharp, but I think that's the nature of the beast with a highly curved fret radius and a basically straight radius at the nut and jawari...the lower strings have further to go to reach the fret.

Only other thing, the string tension is really low on those lower strings (tuned to D, RS style). I wonder if ramping up string gauge on only the low sa and pa could get a richer sound and a slightly more tighter feel to those strings? Any suggestions? Not that I'm planning to change strings soon! Might this be because studio sitars are often a shorter scale instrument? I don't know if it is, I don't have another sitar to compare it to.

(being a good husband and not getting it out of the case at 6AM with the wife still asleep...listening instead to Vilayat Khans Raga Darbari Kanada quietly)
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #10 
Oh my ! ! Your baby is a honey ! That bass string issue is ongoing with sitars. On mine, I set it up to the gandhar pancham rigging (no bass strings). They roar too much through a 100 watt stack. It would probably be best to leave those bass strings on the dry side. The low PA string is ok for amplified voice as long as you hit it easy. Good luck with the fourth bass string. You could swap that string out for a .012 steel and tune it to Ga - Ma. That way, you get the best of both worlds. You'd have a little bit of the bass end with the #3 low Pa and the chordal chikari compliment of the 4th and 5th strings as steel. More pics please. There are enough of us perverts lusting for sitar porn to justify the request ! Hey, Lars. You bet I kept that Nightclubber, along with Golden Boy and the VK model I rigged for Shujaat Khan who never came to collect. That Nightclubber will serve as an Ashville Busker Bat. When I go over to Fosses to work on his carbon fiber sitars, I can hit the sidewalks there and twang away for gas money to get back home !
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #11 
Yeah, this one at least has that nifty hook on one of the last frets that lets you pull the two bass strings out of the way. But I love the lower tones of the sitar (and the even lower tones of the surbahar!) so I don't think I'm ready to give up on kharaj pancham tuning. A slight increase in string gauge would be interesting to try, but I'll save that for down the road.

Still haven't plugged it in, the acoustic sound is just too nice to bother yet! Anyway, only thing I've got round here now is a bass amp, but its one of those modern ones (Genz Benz shuttle) with plenty of highs so it might sound OK.

If I can find my real camera, I'll take some more pics!
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #12 
Hi Nic,
Make sure you're fretting with your finger right behind the fret. The second string is only good up to a 5th above root usually, then it will go out and back in, etc. Quite normal.
Make sure there's no paper in between the 3rd string and the bridge, there should be no buzz and the kharaj was singing....Being a little slow this week I had the luxury of really checking it out well and aside from work needed on the 4th string ( a normal for Miraj ) it's quite good, I closed the 1st a little too. Please do not hammer your frets


Lars

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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #13 
LOL, I saw that, poor fellow! Don't worry, I'm certainly not itching to start drilling, filing, or modifying it! I'm scared to death of fretwork on my guitars, much less something like this!

Yeah, I'll get it out and play with it some more tomorrow (the family and my fingers have justifiably petitioned for a break). But I didn't notice the issues as much later. I still haven't plugged the thing in yet.

Any advice for my taraf problem? A handful of pegs won't keep pitch, and just keep slipping down. Do i loosen the string completely, and does the peg just pull out to apply chalk? Ie., can you give a basic physical description on what I should do to fix it? I know the "sandpaper and chalk" prescription, just don't know the specific directions!

That said, even if the tarafs aren't perfectly in tune it still sounds great. I never really realized exactly how they work, but an acoustic reverb tank is a pretty good description...hit a note and immediately mute it, and if it was a note that resonated with a taraf you hear that tone singing out in decay. Lovely instrument, as I've said!
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #14 
You can loosen and chalk a little where the peg meets the wood on the top portion.... just don't let a lot build up. Use a little force when tuning, it can handle it. It'll take a little while to adjust to your climate if it's real dry and cold there but generally as a rule they take a week or so, you'll see. Call me if you have any issues and we can figure it out via Skype!

Lars

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