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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #1 
I am now the lucky owner of a late 60's Hiren Roy VK sitar just brought up to peak specification by the tonemeister himself, our own Tony K, who has referred to this magnificent beastie as "The Rolls Royce of Hiren Roy Sitars"......

http://www.karaseksound.com/ShowBigPic.php?ID=IMG0186
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #2 
Be sure to click the thumbnail Tony put at the bottom of this page, there are MANY more pix than just the one you see here! Lots!!
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #3 
Oh yeah ! Had a reeeel good time with this one. Upgrades included a brass tail post for the taraf strings, brass chikari posts and white delrin bridges replacing the black ones. What a sound ! ! !
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barend

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Reply with quote  #4 
Very nice one!
Just curious; how is the meend range on those vintage Hiren Roy sitars? the meend range on my 50's Rikhi Ram is less then on modern sitars, about 4 1/2 tones (Sa-tivra Ma). Was wandering if that goes for all vintage sitars? and also in what year approximately did the meend range of sitars increase to the standard 5 note range (or 5 1/2 on some sitars (Sa-komal Dha)?
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #5 
According to what Tone told me 4-1/2 sounds about right. I will leave the other question to him
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Bakersbites786

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Reply with quote  #6 
Beautiful sitar!! Congratulations. Love the tabli shape on that.
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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #7 
WOW.
That is a beautiful sitar.
I love that simple clean design of the Hiren Roy Ghandar Pancham sitars from that era.
I love fancy tablis too but I am partial to this specific HR tabli design.

My HR has a very similar GP tabli design, but with a more KP style decoration along the neck.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/carletonroyds/sets/72157620484854523/

Congratulations on your awesome acquisition.
Perfect for your chosen style.
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naad_brahma

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Reply with quote  #8 
Used to be my sitar. I decided to sell it to Andy's music because it had a rather weak neck for my taste and didn't quite pull the range of meend I had hoped for. It had a very good tone however. You never know with these old ones. Glad it's in good hands at least, it wouldn't have been treated well sitting in the warehouse of the now defunct store.
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mahadev

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Reply with quote  #9 
Congratulations Gregg

love it and play it !

All sitars are great. Every sitar ever made is great....

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #10 
Interesting point regarding the meend range. "Fosse" and I danced a bit about string height / action. Had I lowered the main bridge as originally requested, the meend range would have dropped to 4 notes ( SA - MA from fret 7 ) The black delrin bridge produced 4 1/2 notes at the present configuration. The new white delrin bridge just got in at 5. TB of D started to bend the frets way high some years back to increase meend range. If you know aircraft, think C-130 with 40% flaps ! To add to that effort, the chikari posts were set out 1/2" clear of the side of the neck so there would be more room for the top strings and mainly to shift the MA string well left of center. More meend range achieved through string placement, vertical meend and lateral pull. Great until the chikari strings are slicing into your thumb. Anoushka Shankar will attest to this yet says she's used to it. I guess when you're that good nothing gets in the way. Another point for meendability - "Fosse" insisted on 5/8" space between the SA and MA strings, both at the nut and for the bridge string slots. If that gets reduced to 1/2" from the SA string, a 5 note meend would be a shoe in. I really didn't notice any weakness in the neck or significant pitch dive from the open SA. I have pawed stronger necks but they were about 1/2" deeper and awkward to play. Herr "Fosse" will be the final judge as to it's character and worthiness. My confidence runs way high ! ! !
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barend

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Reply with quote  #11 
Interesting! Why would you say the bridge has so much impact on the meend range? what was different (besides the material) about those three bridges?

It is also interesting from a historical perspective that those vintage sitars do have less meend range. It must have changed during the late 60's or so since I hear 5 note meends on old RS and VK records but I am not sure if that is already on the late 60's recordings or the early 70's ones. When did sitar players start 'demanding' more meend range from their sitars you think?
And what exactly did change in sitar construction that increased the meend in that time? shorter neck or wider neck or something else?
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #12 
The bridge - chikari slot position is fixed - near the edge of the bridge surface. Closer string spacing results in the MA string being further away from the other side of the neck. With the MA string now "left of center", it has more distance to go to be pulled to the end of the fret = more range = 5 + notes. Higher arch frets also milk more meend. The fret / string distances remain the same - 10mm. for the open Ma string at fret 20. With the higher arch frets, yanking that string across the fret also means that the string is following the fret arch. With a shallow bend fret, the majority of the meend action is across on an even plane giving X meend range. If the string follows the high arch fret, it also travels down as well as across. That puts more tension on the string = more meend range - X+. TBofD combined the high arch fret concept with shoving all the top strings over to the chikari side to an extreme measure = maximum meend range. With the three Bridges - deer horn- we all know. Delrin topic much overdone. My opinion - white delrin is the best once set up properly and to the end users satisfaction. Historic accounts - cannot say other than noticing the really old sitars 1950ish and earlier had 3 1/2" wide necks. Rarely see that now. Standard width now seems to be 3 5/8" - 3 3/4" ( more meend range yet still comfortable to hold and navigate ). Features that evolved include the concave neck front, cantered neck to force the strings more over the center of the tabli and overall heavier construction.
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #13 
This interesting area (both historically and otherwise) is another one ripe for discussion and opinions.

It is well to remember the old saw: there is no free lunch! In the "modern" quest for extreme meend range (which I believe is driven by some very suspect motivations, see below) the hidden problems and issues are many. Just by going from 4 to 5 note range on meend increases the side loads and bowing tension on the neck by orders of magnitude. It also increases the strain/pain on the players fingers and fingertip by an equal order of magnitude.

Personally I am quite satisfied with a 4 to 4-1/2 note meend range, if I want a much greater (infinite) glissando range I use a slide although of course this requires or benefits from a higher action height just as on guitar. It is all a matter of personal taste and what you are willing to endure both in terms of cutting into the fingertip, strain (with potential for injury) on the fingers and tendons, AND sag in the pitch of the drone strings (most noticably the brass SA) during those 5 (or 6!) note bends.

I feel the "modern" tendency to EXTREME meend is primarily driven by "show-off" virtuoso technical one-upsmanship which has little to do with musical content. There are effective ways to fake an extreme meend, VK used'em all the time.....

5 notes is standard for good reason, more is absurd in my view, less is fine in my view. I would rather do with a 4 or 4-1/2 note meend range and have unnoticeable sag in the drones, than be on an endless quest for more range at any cost. Sag in the pitch of the drone strings is one of my personal PET PEEVES and is the primary reason why I chose to develop a carbon fiber sitar in the first place......... GF
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barend

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "fossesitar"
I feel the "modern" tendency to EXTREME meend is primarily driven by "show-off" virtuoso technical one-upsmanship which has little to do with musical content. There are effective ways to fake an extreme meend, VK used'em all the time.....
I don't think 5 note meends are extreme. You will hear them all the time with all great sitar players and are pretty standard sitar technique. Of course you can do slides or other stuff besides meends to achieve that but that sounds different and is not the same. Now for the 5 1/2 note meend range (Sa-komal dha); that is the biggest meend I have heard, mostly done by Shahid Parvez. I wouldn't call that show off. It just sounds nice. If players can do this and sitars can handle this why not? I think the 5 1/2 note meend range is the highest you can get, 6 notes (Sa-shuddha Dha) is not possible. Haven't heard anyone pull that meend.

I sometimes do that 5 1/2 meend on my Barun Roy sitar in C# tuning because it's possible on that one, not on my other sitars. Now on my other sitar in D tuning 5 notes is a problem on some frets. I can't pull that Ma-Sa meend (11th fret) on that sitar simply because there is no more room on the neck. I need this meend say for Abhogi (M-D-high Sa meend), so sometimes I miss that range. Tuning to D decreases the meend range by approximately a 1/2 tone (maybe a little less).
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #15 
Agreed on all counts, when I speak of "extreme" meend range I am not referring to 5 notes but 6. Shahid Parvez is anything BUT a show-off and he is a musician first and foremost, he absolutely left me dumbstruck when I heard him live at Princeton University I still have not recovered from the impact of that concert.

For me Barend - for my personal taste - it is ALL ABOUT whether the drone strings sag in pitch, how much and at what point (4 notes, five?) in the meend. I find pitch-sag to be extremely UNmusical and that is the determining factor for me as to how many notes of meend I go for and of course this varies (as you have noted) from sitar to sitar....... GF
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