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Traivs

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Reply with quote  #1 
Recently I've become VERY interested in learning to play the sitar. I live in an area where there really is no chance that I'd be able to try a sitar before I buy it. I'm limited to ordering a sitar from somewhere else.

I've made the rounds on Ebay, and I've found a few that look alright. I'm not looking for something "professional," I just want something afordable, and playable that I can learn the basics on.

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ELECTRIC-SITAR-TABLA-TANPURA-HARMONIUM-ESRAJ-DILRUBA-DJ-/110650874103?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c34e58f7

Am I going to be able to learn on this, or is it just a waste of my money?
Thanks,

Travis
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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #2 
Those ebay sitars are all crap.
There might be one or two that are alright, but for the most part they are firewood.

There are many past threads on the forum about buying a sitar that you can find if you use the search box on the upper right of the website.
The general consensus is that if you are buying in the USA your best bet is to go to the trusted websites.
These stores hand are your best bet for finding an instrument that you can be sure is set up correctly and will not be a pig.
The two main ones are:

http://www.aacm.org/shop (The Ali Akbar College of music. Very trusted store.)
http://www.raincitymusic.com (Trusted store. Owned by forum member Lars)

Many forum members have purchased sitars from these sources and were very happy with their purchase.
There are other alternatives to these stores, but in the end I personally feel they are the best way to go.

To be honest, you will not find a really cheap sitar that is worth a crap. (Most ebay sitars are around $300-500 and are probably unusable for real sitar study)
My first sitar was an ebay special that cost $350. It is the biggest piece of crap ever. Completely unusable as an instrument.

You will find good student sitars at the stores listed above for not a great deal more, but it is worth the extra cost to make sure you get a good solid instrument with a good case.
I suggest you save your money up and get the best one you can afford, because the better instruments will have a better tone, better construction, and will last you a lot longer.
Try not to go for the cheapest one just because you want to save a little money.
If you really want to learn sitar get an instrument that will let you learn.

Contact the stores above and tell them what you are looking for and they will steer you to the instrument that fits your budget and goals.
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OM GUY

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Travis!!

Where on the earth, are you?

The others, who are more savy on looking over sitars like this, will give a gander on your choice here.

Me? Tree-hunert somthing? I'm skeptical....I've done my share of firewood buying, so let the others stew on this one before you venture into spending, ok?

And please, don't be lured into this..."....comes with free book, mizrab and string set..."

Good sitars sell themselves. By all means, learn from our mistakes. Have patients, as it will pay off. If you are one of the many people who go into a grocery store for a quart of milk and come out with two bags of groceries, then I'm talking to you.

Unfortunately you, and a lot of folks, are far away from being able to test drive a sitar, but if you can, indeed get out of town, to do just that, it's well worth the extra effort. But, lucky for you, you've come to the right place, wonderful folks here will steer you without the hype and bull-pucky, just good info. Most of us have been in your shoes, at one time or another.

I haven't traveled by air in many years ( I'm not into foreplay at the airport), but I'm sure that for what you'd pay for this sitar, the money would be better handed to the airlines to get a round trip ticket to see Lars here in Washington State, or someone else who's almost garanteed to happen by any minute now and see your post.

It all depends upon what you are looking for, first of all. I'm hooked on sitars like Ravi Shankar-models that sing harmonics like all get-out. Bashirs do this for me, personally, no wonder why I have three!! Another nice sitar is the Shristi. Other folks like the other styles, so stay tuned for a bit, stand on the brakes for a little while longer, others will be by, for sure to tell you more!!

Good luck, happy hunting, and God Bless!

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

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Travis,

I can put in my recommendation for Raincitymusic, not because I've bought a great deal of sitars and have a huge knowledge base, but as a fellow beginner, I bought a fantastic studio model sitar and have fallen in love with this instrument, and have nothing but praise for the shop through which I received it, and the excellent service, etc.

Anyway, not to make this a lovefest for RCM and Lars...you know, some background might be helpful, anyway! Are you new to indian classical music? Play other instruments? What drew you to Indian music? My only point in asking is that I know there are probably folks out there (it was me for many years) that felt they wanted to learn sitar, but didn't really know much about the instrument or Indian classical music at all, and the first time I picked up a sitar I ended up being thoroughly disillusioned (and this was a decent quality sitar!). I eventually ended up thoroughly obsessed, regardless, and the story had a happy ending, but the worst possible scenario is for a guitarist to hear the Coral Electric Sitar solo on Steely Dan's Do It Again and think, hey, I should get a sitar so I can sound like that! It's a recipe for disappointment.

Anyways, good luck with your search! I'd recommend saving your money...if you take a huge risk with a 300 dollar sitar, and wind up with a lemon, 300 bucks is a lot to waste on a risk to save maybe another couple hundred to get a more reasonably respectable sitar from one of the good importer shops. I seriously thought about one of the Miraj ebay studio sitars, but I didn't want to risk the money on some ebay outfit.
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Dhammar14

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hey Travis,
I've been in your shoes and know how you feel. I'd recommend against buying something off of Ebay unless you already know what you are getting. It is highly unlikely that you'd get a good instrument for $350 or whatever. Have you thought about finding a teacher first? You may want to do some listening and see if you prefer one style over another i.e Ravi Shankar style vs. Vilayat Khan style etc. That would be the first choice to make as the instruments themselves reflect these styles.
Tell me where you are and I might be able to hook you up with someone in your area that can help get you started.
Best,
Aaron
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Traivs

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Reply with quote  #6 
I have a background in guitar, which led me to George Harrison, which led me to sitar. At first I just liked the sitar in pop music, but its grown into a genuine interest in classical Indian music. I'm an absolute beginner to sitar; I've never even seen one in real life- just videos and whatnot. I've been casually studying ragas, and trying to understand a little bit of the theory, and technique.

I'm from Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The nearest place that I can find that has sitars (or anything to do with Indian music for that matter) is in Edmonton, about an 8-hour drive away. http://www.indiamusicstore.com/

It seems like the general consensus is that these eBay sitars are a bad idea. I thought one of them might work because... well, I just know that you can get a pretty decent beginner guitar for $300.00. I just sort of assumed that it would be the same for sitars. Again, I'm not looking for "professional" instruments; I'm just looking for something I can learn the basics on and noodle around with a bit. If it's going to fall apart in my hands, though, I obviously don't want it.

Anybody have a line on a decent used sitar?
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #7 
"I thought one of them might work because... well, I just know that you can get a pretty decent beginner guitar for $300.00."

The big difference here is sitars are handmade...those cheap beginner guitars are more manufactured than anything else, and I've bought a new guitar for $100 that I think was surprisingly decent quality (Essex brand, Chinese).

If you ever find another excuse to take that 8 hour road trip...actually getting to hold a sitar in your hand is quite an enlightening experience. I know in my experience it at once had me swearing up and down that I knew now that I didn't want to play sitar...but then it planted a seed that grew.

I would say, don't despair...the price difference between that eBay sitar and, say, the sort of studio sitar I bought from Rain City recently was not astronomical. I'd say do a lot of listening and saving!
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Mizrab6950

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Reply with quote  #8 
Try Kalakendar.com they are based in Toronto.
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