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Sillofthedoor

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Reply with quote  #1 
Here is my new travel sitar by Wasseem. It is about to be shipped.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ifoxv3duzaow026/AAAcOxC6X26LoJseEoA6pZITa

We exchanged pics and ideas all the way through the making of this and I am very happy with the result as it looks.

I always think of the sheesham trim models, black and blond wood as modern (rightly or wrongly, i haven't' clue how far they actually go back) and so it seems natural to me to decorate a travel sitar this way. and I wanted an "om'.

I had to use pics to show him examples of what i wanted half the time, because his English is a thousand times better than my hindi, which is to say not very good, and I wasn't to sure if he understood what i meant sometimes. At first he seemed a bit intimidated and tended to say yes to anything I said, but once I got him to understand that i wanted his opinions and to stop calling me sir all the time, and once he started disagreeing with me about some of my ideas, i knew we were collaborating properly.

He seems determined to provide a good service,and quality control. He also has a fine aesthetic sense that meant it worked well to give him an idea and see what he came up with from it...

Bakersbites has had two made by Wasseem now and is very impressed by the sound and build quality, i will find out soon, enough but the recording sent sounds good. Thanks to bakersbites for putting me onto him, and for helping with translation in the early days...

15 year old red tun the blank is the same specs as an RR model built for Niladri Kumar, sheesham trim, ebony pegs and shikari stand, buffalo horn nut. all looking very cool.

By way, sitarfixer, if you are reading this, Waseem says he misses you, and you are his teacher, he would love to hear from you.


i post again when it is in my hands.
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OM GUY

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Reply with quote  #2 
.......and I wanted an "OM'...........


...But...do we get to see it? No!!!!! Sorry, I like OM's too, and damn if I can see the trees for the forest....

It's nice tho........ hope you enjoy it!

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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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Sillofthedoor

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Reply with quote  #3 
You can't see it I can when I click on the link don't know what wrong they are in dropbox not on my computer.

Here's the facebook one I hope

https://www.facebook.com/robinbaldock1/posts/10153218085873475?notif_t=like
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #4 
I see a big honkin' 'OM' on pic 9 of 16 under the third fret. Whole instrument is a real looker; wankin' material to be shoooooor ! You'll love looking at as well as playing on this beastie. Congrats on getting this yum creation.
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Bakersbites786

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Reply with quote  #5 
Congratulations looks stunning Silofthedoor. Hope it arrives in good condition, waseem uses TNT had no problems at all. He should stick in a couple of ebony jawaris with your sitar for me. Gold plated pegs are looking good too.

Here's my lastest from Waseem, from start to finish.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mj3j7d7a85engvd/AAA2ODLpZM-DMIW3n3yb3jzRa
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Sillofthedoor

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Reply with quote  #6 
I wasn't happy on close inspection of the pegs, as they do not look like proper ebony.

It turns out that much of the ebony used for pegs is not wholly black! I have the Shahidali travel for example (still up for sale) and its pegs are too white in places, I always thought that just mean they aren't actual ebony but they are! Who knew, well ok, sitarfixer did of course, and waseem did but didn't get that I didn't...

Waseem is replacing them as I always loved those proper black ebony pegs I see on some of the older RR and others. yet another details to watch out for if having input into design.

I do feel a bit guilty getting him to replace perfectly good quality and well fitted pegs, its a fair bit of work but he is willing to do so, no problem!...and forty years from now, when I'm too weak to play any of my other sitars (a la ravi shankar lol), I will look at those pegs and sigh.
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Sillofthedoor

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Reply with quote  #7 
I actually have this sitar in my hands and its a beauty. (well ok I'm typing but its right beside me, and have had a few days to play it).

I wasn't sure about the matt finish at first, I'm so used to the gloss, but now i love it, it goes with the "modern" look of both the sheesham trim and the fact that its a travel...reminds me of the fashion for guitars in matt at the moment and of course the machine heads add to that..so to me it works well.

The workmanship is fine..the pegs are now jet black ebony (brass circle inlays), I wasn't sure if Waseem could source them but he did. The carving is especially good, there are some details I didn't expect like the brassy frets which look better with the gold machine heads and overall colour tones.. To be a part of the creative process that determines the look of this instrument is priceless, and to see some of my ideas are then developing as he makes other sitars.

So i love all that, now that playing:

Luckily I also still have the shahidali travel with me to compare it with. (its for sale on another thread)

It sounds great. opening up more day by day. great tone, a little creak at the extreme of meend but I can sort that out if it doesn't sort itself very soon... There really is nothing much in it between the Waseem and the shahidali. If the shahidali is a bit clearer in the mid range then the waseem is so in the higher, especially, and lower registers, If the shahid doen't quite hit Suddha Ma with as much clarity as other notes (at c sharp, fine at D), then the Waseem is a bit scattered on the high Ni (a jalwari issue I am sure), its all give and take really, they both project surprisingly well, they are both missing a bit of low end of course, (no gourd) they are both super travel sitars, responsive sympths, well made and well set up. I heard that Shahidali did the frets on this and Waseem does carving for shahid so it isn't surprising if they are of a similar standard. but remember the waseem is just out of the box while the shahid has been out for a year...

The waseems feels slightly heavier in the neck, it could be an illusion brought on by the colours, but feels slightly more like a real sitar for it, or perhaps becuase of the more angular body shape at the back which sits a bit more square on my foot. everything, pegs machine heads etc, fit and work perfectly.

Any problems? Well, it was a task to get the communication going but eventually we began to understand each other and i like to think that I was a lesson on how to handle a picky spoiled westerner who wants everything his way. Waseems english is a bit pedestrian to say the least and my Hindi is limited to 'Namaste',' Lingam 'and 'Yoni', only one of those words seemed relevant and I didn't trust myself to use that. So patience and pics gleaned off the internet that provide yes and no examples were required to make sure that he wasn't saying yes just be polite. Eventually he started having real opinions with me about what would work best and then i knew we were working together properly. another thing is I didn't specify modern slit grommets, so i didn't get them for example, they do work better then the traditional type, so i could have though more about the elements, I didn't even sit down and make a check list, which on retrospect is stupid..., it is worth specifying everything, to make sure, but then there are so many details....and as I found out with the pegs, you can agree and still not understand what you have agreed to...

But I loved the whole process and I have a fantastic and original sitar as a result Waseem was keen to do a good job and worked hard to understand what i wanted, he changed things if I didn't like them and showed me every step along the way.I think he works best if he is given his head to use his creative ideas as well as his skills, so the more I knew him the more i i would just suggest something and let him come up with the design to fill it. We had some long conversations (this was all done over facebook messenger by the way. the internet is going to make it possible for players to have the kind of relationship we should have, and traditionally would have, with makers but on a worldwide scale, but that is another story...) about quality control and western expectations and he is very aware of the pitfalls and determined not to fall into them.


i am very happy and do not expect to ever need or want to buy another travel sitar again. South america next year, whoo hooo! sitar in the Andes!
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barend

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Reply with quote  #8 
Looks very nice! Do you use a pickup on this one?
How is the sound of the travel sitars compared to a normal sitar? is there much difference tonal and volume wise?
And what is the price range of Waseem's sitar?
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Sillofthedoor

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Reply with quote  #9 
I haven't tried a pickup yet, will be experimenting.

I didn't want to get one built in as indian tech is rather low -fi and results seem very mixed. would rather sort it out myself.

The volume is lower but not as much as you might expect, it does project well. The tone on these is a bit thinner, lacks some bottom, but does sound good for all that. After playing for a while I become perfectly happy with it, because it responds well and there are plenty of nuance available to be drawn out by meend, etc. so it is rewarding to play.

I am pretty sure that by miking and amplification you can get as good a sound and in the case of modern sound stages which are designed for high volumes better sound than a standard because feedback problems will be lower. To a degree like an electric guitar versus a acoustic one onstage...

Basically there is a trade off between the ruggedness and smaller size and carrability of this, against the better tone. But I will happily play this acoustically in front of an audience, would use my shristi though if air travel etc isn't involved. I took my Shristi to NZ a year or two ago, never again, not unless someone is paying for me to airfreight it properly...That is what made me embark on getting one of these.

the price is so low, man, ask yourself. Mohummad Waseem Sitarmaker on facebook. and there is duty to pay, which varies a bit. But it is still worth it, much cheaper than you think. I hesitate to name the price becuase:exchange rate varies and, I can't quite believe it and would expect him to raise it at some point. Ok some of the ebay ones are cheaper but but reports are not good of the results.. right now waseem is trying to build up business....and he knows that if he fails on quality now his name is mud, so now is a good time to get one. bakersbites on this forum has two from him, full size, and as an experienced buyer he is really happy with them. Ask him too.

best way is tell him what you want and he will give a price. He also has one ready to go, pics on facebook, a GP model, which will probably sell even cheaper if you like that one.
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barend

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Reply with quote  #10 
which one is the GP that is for sale?
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Bakersbites786

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Reply with quote  #11 
Barend Ji, it could possibly be this one. He did say few a days ago he had a couple more orders for travel sitars

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/w94pylpki0frvkm/AAA9pfi3_IVTmK7v56BV1qiLa

Sillofthedoor is right regarding price. I got myself a couple of bargains quite recently. He is trying to make a name for himself and trying real hard to establish.

Doing this travel was a job and half, with all the uncertainty and communication issues. Waseem kept his cool and so the project through. Waseem also happily done the last minute peg change too.
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barend

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Reply with quote  #12 
Looks really nice! Not sure if my (possible) next sitar will be a travel sitar or a regular one though.
There are some things that are holding me back to buy a travel sitar:
1) Lesser sound then regular sitar. Not sure if this is an issue because I will be using the travel sitar for my fusion stuff with a pickup.
2) Don't know how well a travel sitar is 'sitting' on your foot. The square sides and the balance worry me.
3) Looks. I prefer the looks of a regular sitar

One more question: how will travel sitars manage feedback wise as opposed to a regular sitar? Is it less prone to feedback issues or doesn't it make much difference?
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CheesecakeTomek

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Reply with quote  #13 
I have found that a pickup is still the best way to go in a band setting, no matter which type of sitar I am using
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Sillofthedoor

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Reply with quote  #14 
I haven't had a chance to test it yet, but i strongly suspect the sound for fusion will be better than for a usual sitar. A solid body would be even better again.

But maybe barend, you should start a thread about this to draw more opinions? Certainly there must be people here with actual experience of both...

Myself, because i am faced with alot of travelling and limited resources this travel will make the practically impossible possible.

I also think that when it comes to micing/pickups etc, the travel will do better in most soundstages, at least alongside western instruments etc... becuase it is denser and less prone to picking up other vibrations, it should be easier to get a good sound with less feedback problems...

I find this new sitar better balanced on my foot than the shahidali model, they are a littel unstable but not to bad so long as you remember the difference when you first sit down!
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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #15 
It is a very nice design.
I have a Shahidali Travel Sitar.
My problem with these travel sitars, and I played quite a few different ones when I was looking to buy, is that the body is too small.
It does not sit correctly when on your foot.
The neck is in the wrong place, so riyaz is not helpful.

The other thing is the sound.
Mine sounds OK, but it is much more quiet and far less broad of a sound than a regular sitar.
It looses a LOT of the joy of the low end, and the regular notes sound a little compressed.
Although the bass notes sustain forever which is nice for Alaap.

I think the only way to do a travel sitar in the future is to make the tabli full size.
It will still be a travel sitar as the thickness would be much less than a regular sitar, but the full size tabli should help move the sound closer to a regular sitar.
Plus the real travel benefit is the solid wood back rather than a fragile gourd.

The problem with the sitar lacking acoustically is that even if you put a pickup on it, the electrified sound will be lacking too.
An instrument with a pickup is only as good as the acoustic sounds the pickup picks up…
An electric solid body does not rely on acoustic tone as much, but they sound like an electric guitar, not a sitar.

Having said all that I love having my travel sitar because I can take it when ever I travel and am able to noodle around on it at night.
I don't find it good for riyaz as it is too different from my regular sitar, but for noodling to keep the fingers (calluses) in working order, it is good.
I also find it generally fun to play.
On mine, the meend is a little too easy and wide.
I think the shorter scale makes the strings a little looser.
I am going to try a thick gauge string on the Ma to see if that helps the tension.
It might even help the sound.
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