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Rikishankar

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello everyone,
I have been an avid reader of this forum for a while, and i remember a while ago on the old forums there was a discusion about how to treat minor cracks. Some recomended watered down elmers glue.. others.. a paste of some srt. Those have worked for me in the random trouble spots.. But now it seems that my poor sitars top neck board is seperating.from the bottom hollowed out part of the neck (in other words, since the neck is made of two pieces of wood, the top piece atatched to the hollowed bottom seems to be showing and forming hairline cracks the length of the neck...)
I'm a bit worried. I keep my room well humidified for my other instruments.. but it seems not to help. This has not really been a recent or fast progression, but i am unsure how to slow or stop this process..
Any help is welcome.

Cheers,
Richard
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Rikishankar

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Reply with quote  #2 
anyone...?
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #3 
hi,

oooooo, sorry to hear that. well . . ..(rolling up sleves*). make sure the humidity in your room is kept constant. cracking is usually caused either by extreamly low humidity (possible in new england winters) or fast and sever humidity or temperature changes. also, if you're keeping your room too humid, it may disolve the glue that is used to hold the instrument together. ive never heard of this happening to a sitar, but im pretty sure the glue used on them is hide glue, which is water soluable. and then theres the most unhelpful coment of all-maybe you just got unlucky! who is the maker of your instrument? a good sitar from a good maker shouldn't suffer the way yours is, but often unknown makers or cheeper instruments are built using shortcuts, and we pay the consequenses.

best of luck!

jf

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Rikishankar

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Reply with quote  #4 
Oh yes, the hard learned lesson of inferior instruments. I bought it, way back, from Lark In The Morning. They assured me this was a high quality instrument, and being a newcommer, believed them. Later, i realized that i could have purchased a far superior product for the same price at any other reputable sitar store.. so yes, it is inferior, sadly. It is time for a new sitar, but money is always an issue..I'll keep on the humidity, but I play oud and guitar too, so my room stays pretty constant..
-Richard
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festus

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have a Rikhi Ram tanpura that had the same problem when I bought it...one reason I was able to get it for a small price... hide glue and many clamps later ... it was like new.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #6 
Most of the sitars today are glued up with "Fevicol" - Indias answer to good ol' Elmer's. It's white, just like the stuff in school. Sounds like your sitar is just separating. If the two sections can be hand squeezed back into alignment, this will be fairly easy. Do this - loosen the strings. Pry open the "crack" gently to see a little more space. Squeeze in a healthy line of Elmers Carpenters glue all along the "crack". - the beige color stuff available at Home Despot or just about any hardware store. With finger, wipe the glue down into the "crack". Wipe off the excess glue with finger. A few paper towels will be handy for ongoing cleanup. Now get a roll of Scotch brand clear packing tape - 2" wide. DO NOT use any other tape !! Reel off a section and stick it down to the neck on one side of the "crack". Hand squeeze the neck and at the same time, pull the remaining tape section pretty hard and lay it down onto the other side of the neck. Result - glue will be oozing out of the well squeezed "crack". Check the alignment for smoothness and wipe off the excess glue. Apply additional pieces of tape as needed untill the "crack" is closed down tight. Let the sitar rest overnight. Carefully remove the tape. It should come off without taking any varnish with it. Any excess dried glue can be taken up with a wet paper towel and a light rub with a paper towel wrapped thumbnail. Don't get any wetness on the penwork (white trim etching). That should do it.
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TK

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Reply with quote  #7 
Most of the sitars today are glued up with "Fevicol" - Indias answer to good ol' Elmer's...quote]


For anyone who doesn't know; aliphatic resin (Titebond, Elmers', Carpenters' glue, etc.) is NOT the preferred glue for use in building musical instruments. This type of glue tends to "creep" over time, especially when exposed to heat. Just go to any luthier or instrument building website and do the research.
But I know this from personal experience - I have a dulcimer I built back in the '70s that I assembled using carpenter's glue. The joint where the back of the headstock meets the body has a 1/16" gap in it from the strings pulling on it for 30 years.
If the instrument would have been built with traditional hide glue, this would not be the case.
TK

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #8 
You think YOU have problems. :evil:

I just had my beautiful black Ustadji arrive this morning with its gourd broken & a parallel crack where the join that's between the neck & back of tabli is.
I nearly cried. This instrument has been round India with me & travelled from Varanasi in the north to Sri Lanka as far south of India as one can go.

I can get some form of compensation from English Parcelforce but nothing, read NOTHING, will ever replace it.
I can repair it to a degree but that's not the point.

I'll post some pix on

http://www.trippymonkey.myphotoalbum.com

for you all to see.
Beware of monkeys delivering gifts, say I

Nick
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shagird

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Reply with quote  #9 
My heart goes out to you, Trippy. No compensation can ever fill this void, not even another sitar, coz you must have bonded with this one real close.
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TK

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hey Nick:
Although it's heartbreaking and I'm sure you're sick about it, the damage doesn't really look that bad. For the most part, the cracks look to be pretty clean. With some careful planning, the right materials and tools, you could have the sitar up and running in a week. Cosmetically, considering the sitar has such a dark finish, the repairs (if done with care) can be camouflaged where they won't even show.
And as you know, sitars often sound better after they have been damaged and repaired, than before they were damaged.
If you please, for the Sitar Forum members’ information, how was the sitar packed for shipment back to the UK? What type of case was it in? Was there any additional padding or protection around the case, etc?

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hello All

No, the damage isn't too bad. I managed to glue the cracks last night so I'll retune tonight & see what explodes

TK
As you rightly say, I can easily disguise the repairs as it's a 'blackie'.

Packing- wise;
It was in a sturdy hard case with extra material placed around the gourd. I would have put more but there just wasn't room as the sitar was already in a soft case too.
It just looks as if some moron has just dropped it due to the neck damage too. Though how the F... a box flex can occur, with NO marks at all on the case, to crack the neck join, is beyond me. It's possible some dick dropped something ON the case instead or piled stuff high.
Any ideas anyone? Tony???

Shagird
Yes, I had bonded with it as it had gone right down India as far as Sri Lanka with me. I played in at several gigs in Goa too. It may sound silly to some, BUT NOT TO OTHERS HERE, that I nearly burst into tears. We DO bond with our instruments, it's true.

Nick
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #12 
For any that are interested, I'll make a few tiny samples of my playing that I videod while I was there.
I think I can send them to someone here to post as I'm not on the net but can 'shrink' small sections on my computer to mail out.
Any offers anyone?

Nick
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hey Trippy... The same thing happened to my 14 year old Hiren Roy on a flight last year. I got it repaired in Bombay at Sangeet Kutir and it sounds better than ever. These kinds of cracks in the tumba are, aparently, normal in the life of a sitar and are routine to fix. But, finding someone in your part of the world to make the repairs might be difficult. Let us know how it goes!
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #14 
Hey there, Mr. Monkey !!!
Refer to the above entry regarding the glue and tape trick. It's perfect for gourd repair. If you get the sections lined up right (stroke, stroke) while glueing, you can get a perfectly smooth surface and a tight joint as well. Result is a hairline instead of the gaping crack - virtually a good as new.
Shipping - I remove the main bridge and the top two pegs wether in a box case or fiberglass case. Items are stuffed into a toilet paper roll and taped down securely insice the case. Taraf strings are detuned 1 - 2 steps. Plenty of bubble wrap aroung the gourd. Plenty! That is - a lot! Mucho wrappo! Bubblus wrappus maximus! Oodles and gobs of the stuff! Haven't lost an instrument yet!

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coyootie

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Reply with quote  #15 
as a builder/ repair guy, I also feel that hide glue is always preferable. If you can get hot hide glue( a little more effort) that's probably best but Lee Valley Tools sells a bottled fish glue which is excellent and easy to use.
Many luthiers feel that the crystalline structure of hide glue ( which is enormously strong as well as easily reversible with warmth/steam/moisture)is better for transmission of vibration vs. aliphatic/elmers's which is more plastic-ey. Don't know that it's really verifiable for repairing sitar cracks but makes sense to use hide glue if you're able.NEVER use epoxies!!!
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