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EdaxFlamma

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello all,

A few years ago, I expressed interest in playing the sitar and my parents purchased one for my for my birthday a few years ago. Since then I have purchased one book which I have tried my best to absorb. Mostly though I have been listening to recordings and CDs and hunting for the right finger placement on the frets.

As is expected I have many questions that I hope to be able to find the answers to on this forum haha but I'll try and do a my homework before I jump in with them.

After a little bit of research I believe I may have one of the "knock-off" sitar brands but I am not sure. Being only 18, I don't have much of any idea what constitutes quality in a sitar. Nevertheless, I am ready to learn! My sitar has a metal label in between the two ivory pieces at the top (ad patri?) which reads "Buckingham Music" "Made In India" and then a website for the company.

I almost hesitate to say this because of the laughter it will probably generate but one of my reasons for believing I may be in possession of a poor quality sitar is because... well.. when it is tilted in any direction it almost sounds like a rain stick (someone forgot to take the seeds out of the gourd perhaps haha). Also the paint/protective coating has begun to flake off of the bottom of both gourds. Even when tuned "properly," the sound doesn't quite match the crispness and quality of the many CDs and recordings I have heard.

But even with all this having been said, I do hope I can at least learn with what I have and upgrade to a finer quality instrument in the future.

Thank you for all your help in advance and to all the people and admins that keep this place up and running!
-J.P.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi, there! Don't "fret", (pardha the pun). You're in a pretty good place. Regarding the rain stick goodies inside your sitar, they are for the most part wood shavings, the occasional needle file tip, or maybe bone bits. Cheap and over priced sitars all have them. Some say it serves as a dessicant - water trap. "ok" To get all that stuff out, remove the two large pegs on the side of the neck closest to the neck end. Hold sitar with gourd straight up and start gently shaking baby. You'll hear a real rain stick as all the goodies tumble South through the inside of the neck. Standing over a trash can, set the open peg holes over said trash can and shake baby some more. All kinds of good stuff will start pouring out of the peg holes. If your baby has an upper tumba, it should be off so that any larger pieces can come out that larger hole. Plenty of look/listen/learn stuff on Youtube and other such sites. Answers to all your questions will best be tended to here. Enjoy your visits here and learn all you can. I sure have. All the best to you and now, start practicing !!! Welcome to this forum !
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #3 
Welcome back! Let me add that your sitar is most likely a pretty decent machine. Sitars from Buckingham, especially earlier ones got a good going over before hitting the market. Paint comes off the gourds frequently, especially if plaster of Paris has been applied to the gourd surface prior to painting. If your gourds have an opaque finish, this is most likely the case. Sitars in the multi thousand dollar range can also get this way. I've seen quite a few over the years. Nature of the beast and all that. I expect all your sitar needs is a good going over and it could be a most competent player. Bridge resurfacing "jawari", maybe retying some loose frets and almost certainly a new set of strings. Check in with the vendors on the left of your screen if you need stuff for your baby. Cheers!
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EdaxFlamma

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you so much!

I am excited to know that I may actually have a decent instrument! The chipping paint does worry me though, is there anything I can cover it with to protect the gourd? Any reccommendations on that or just play as is and be extra careful with it?

Thank you again,
-J.P.
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musicslug

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Reply with quote  #5 
nobody has responded yet to the fact that you're trying to learn without a teacher - it's considered 'conventional wisdom' that you need a teacher, to avoid establishing bad habits that will impede your ability to progress (and could even result in injury), and because this music is very subtle. to the extent that your goal is to play true Indian classical music - and not some idiosyncratic hybridized home-brew - you'd be well served to get a teacher. good luck.

daniel
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #6 
That's a good idea about getting a teacher, at least a few lessons to get you started correctly, even a few lessons will save you years of aggravation possibly. Either myself or someone on the forum could probably find you one nearby if you let us know your location.

Your sitar may be just fine, it's probably over 6 or 7 years old. Peter Cutchey used to get a lot of generic sitars directly from India and set them up, some were pretty good. I had fun going through them with him one day back when he was still with us

For the chipping gourd if it's just small pieces you can use something like the Testors model paint to touch it up and protect it from further chipping.
8)

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EdaxFlamma

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yes, the only instruction I have had is from a book so a teacher would definitely be a plus... In a few weeks I will be going to Newark, Delaware to spend the next 4 years of my life. I have done a search on teachers in Delaware and have come up with one but I don't know how close the person would be. I also won't have a car so traveling distance will be restricted to getting on an Amtrak or bike. I have tried contacting the University of Delaware to see if they have any music teachers in this field but it seems that the only openings are for those who are at an "intermediate" level which I definitely am not.

If anyone else happens to have some insight or suggestions I would be very grateful!

Thanks again,
-J.P.

p.s. thank you all for the warm welcome!
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Jay M

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Lars"
That's a good idea about getting a teacher, at least a few lessons to get you started correctly, even a few lessons will save you years of aggravation possibly. Either myself or someone on the forum could probably find you one nearby if you let us know your location.

Your sitar may be just fine, it's probably over 6 or 7 years old. Peter Cutchey used to get a lot of generic sitars directly from India and set them up, some were pretty good. I had fun going through them with him one day back when he was still with us

For the chipping gourd if it's just small pieces you can use something like the Testors model paint to touch it up and protect it from further chipping.
8)
May I respectfully disagree and say you need many many many lessons with a good teacher to play the sitar. Granted, you may not have access to one within 30 minutes of your home but even if you have to travel a good distance at least once a month to get a very intense lesson it will be 100x better than navigating your way on your own. This instrument is very demanding and the more your learn, the more you realize the need of a teacher!

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Lars

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Reply with quote  #9 
No need for disagreement as I basically said the same thing? I did qualify it with an 'at least' knowing that 99% of people will not get a regular teacher as you and I have and so have found that at least a few lessons are better than nothing for those wanting to learn on their own to make sure no bad habits develop that will hinder their development no matter what the level attained or type of music learned is.....
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Keshavdas

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi - if you're looking for a teacher try this link and scroll down to Maryland (or any other state)
http://www.keshav-music.com/teachers.htm
Cheers,
Keshav

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redtape

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Reply with quote  #11 
No way ~ teachers are great but you can help yourself as well. Learn from everything ~ Video, CD's by the masters, and also "up and coming" players UNTIL you Find a teacher. When YOU want to.. At YOUR own pace. Just KEEP PLAYING ~ that's the point. I have had (AND CURRENTLY HAVE) many students who WASTE THEIR MONEY and my time ( their own as well) by coming to me or CONNECTING ONLINE with me (via Skype or Ouvoo ~ World Music Guru) and learning for an hour then going home and not playing. That is ridiculous ~ I do NEED nor WANT the money that way ~ spend the time wisely. I have students that practice and are playing very well as well. It is ultimately about practice ~ RIYAZZ.
Play AT LEAST 25 minutes a day as a hobbyist. EVERYDAY ~ Miss ONE day you miss the YEAR. That's all ~ and repeat what has been taught ~ with ANY teacher. Anyway ~ point is go it at your won pace and don't throw away your money until your Really Committed to Leaning the Sitar. Watch Good players ~ listen to them ~ get tips. Ask people here On this forum

http://www.anandvyas.org
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cabernethy

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Reply with quote  #12 
Well said RedTape - That's exactly how I'm learning (for now).
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redtape

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Reply with quote  #13 
Good for you Cabernathy-Ji that takes courage and will.

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cabernethy

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Reply with quote  #14 
Indeed, Loving the music and instrument is also a good incentive
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