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sitardoc

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Reply with quote  #1 
halloo all-
anybody got any info on r. a.'s website? i cant find it for love or money.
-the doc
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Keshavdas

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Reply with quote  #2 
He doesn't have one. He's not that kinda guy. Too busy making sitars. FYI - we are his main dealer in the USA.
Cheers,
Keshav

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sitardoc

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Reply with quote  #3 
apparently he was "that kinda guy" at some piont-i have the dead address.
-the doc
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Keshavdas

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Reply with quote  #4 
Well . . . I don't claim to have encyclopedic knowledge of everything ICM - but that's news to me. It would also be news to everyone else who does business with Ayub. Mayhaps ask the guy for whom Ayub used to make 90% of his sitars, Tony The K. If such a site exists, he'd be the one that would know. Are you sure you aren't thinking of Shahidali who had a crude site at one point - that I don't think exists any longer?
Cheers,
Keshav

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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hey Keshav,

You (& others) musta missed it - I don't know what happened to their site but it WAS up. They had set up a pretty slick little site with a few shop pics - Family & shop Bios -Some pretty good instrument shots - Mostly new I do believe they recycled a few of Tony' but it was a completely new site, and fairly nicely done. From what Tony told me a few months ago the son of either Ayoubhai or Zamirbhai was into computers and Tony had suggested to him upon the demise of their partnership he might want to put something together. Whalah - A site was set up in english a couple weeks later. It was up for at least a month or two and now it's just gone. I cannot immagine that he spent a goodly ammount of time designing - taking new foto's etc etc etc (You know what it takes to set up from scratch) and then to just S---can-it for no reason. Even if they got little or no play upfront - you wouldn't dump it that quick - If you are their USA sole rep now (still want to know wazzup with sitars etc) Ask them when next you talk to them - Enquiring minds want to know.......

Hamletsghost 8)

ps: I DID mention this to Tony this morning & he was unaware of anything new but remembers the suggestion to them from a few months ago. B

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Keshavdas

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Reply with quote  #6 
Interesting. I never speak with Ayub directly so that's why I didn't know about it. That a site would be up and then gone in a few months time is not surprising. Indian businesses do unfathomable things all the time. At one point the "Calcutta Yellow Pages" guys were making little two page sites like crazy and every little bucket shop in town had a website, but not one place ever learned (or bothered) to reply to the email inquiries that the sites generated. They all seemed to think of websites as nothing more than electronic billboards. Re: Sitars Etc., Bharat's kids have a big stock of trinkets, incense, mizrabs, problem-plagued sitars and damaged tablas. They tried to unload it all on me and, Lars too. They had unrealistic ideas of the value of the inventory. I offered them a very good price and they turned it down. My sense of the situation is that it was their dad's business and with him gone, they'd lost interest. I can tell you that Sitars Etc. was not a very profitable business. They shipped every nickel and dime piece of merchandise by air - which reduces profit so much that it's hardly worth running the business. He had, I forget, I think his sister, his wife, and kids and who knows what other family members working there and he had a second job as well. I knew a lot of the people Bharat purchased stuff from and they were all overcharging him considerably. That he ran the business as long as he did, was because it truly was a labor of love.
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #7 
I never saw the RA site or heard about it, what was the link? Maybe there's a cached version......Bharat was a trusting soul and did end up with some less than savory instruments due to his passion for new sources and it's the truth that all of this is not that profitable. You do it because you love it and just get the things you know are good and work that second job! Back to the site stuff, there was another maker from Miraj that had one up and then it disappeared...Shahidali I think it was?

Time to go to Miraj for a visit I guess....Tony, is there glycerine free cold beer there? 8)

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #8 
I'll tell you this, Lars. Going to Miraj is like going to the goat farm. I've never seen so many goats in my life. It's like the Biryani Vortex! There are a lot of rats there as well, particularly on the South end of M. G. Road. Some of them even make sitars. As you know, Miraj was famous for tanpuras, thanks largely to the old Dagar bros, Abdul Karim Khan who ended up living there and the many others who ended up there needing decent tanpuras. The locally grown gourds in that area are the best in India, relatively speaking. Now that R A Sitarmaker is on the map due to my diligent but misguided and clearly wasted efforts, sitars have come to the forefront there. Since I'm no longer dealing with them as a result of an almost 6 year rip 'n rape, the quality has already gone down the crapper. My last batch from them is right down there with the $300 eBay specials. I'll have to completely rebuild them. Regarding beer there - Kingfisher is the weapon of choice. Seems kinda watery to me though. Bottles water like Dasani (the official water of ICM ) and Bisleri are readily available, Be sure to check the seal on the cap and look at the bottom of the plastic bottle for hot hypo needle marks. Even water isn't spared from these rip off masters. I've spotted two cases of bottle tampering tampering in Miraj. When called, the shop rat tells me it must have been the vendor, not him. In conclusion, going to Miraj, if you are actually seriously considering such a trip, will be a fruitless nightmare. RA, BM (love that) Shahid Ali and his alter ego, Bharatia Tantuvadhya Kendra are the only shops that would even have a clue about making anything remotely marketable. You'll have tons of fun trying to bring the output up to standard. I tried and got knifed in the back and in the front as well. "Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson! Sensors indicate rat movement"! Press on , good fellow!
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Keshavdas

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
. Since I'm no longer dealing with them as a result of an almost 6 year rip 'n rape, the quality has already gone down the crapper. My last batch from them is right down there with the $300 eBay specials.
$300.00 Ebay specials! I guess after all the hard feeling that have passed between you, all the huevos brusin' and badmouthin' of Ayub - he decided to really sock it to you and sent you crap (payback is a bitch) - because this hasn't been my experience at all. It should be noted that back in the day, when Keshav Music, Sitars Etc. and Karasek Sound were not even pipe dreams, there was little joint called Simla House up in Woodstock run by much respected tabla player Ray Spiegel. As far back as 18 years ago, Ray was selling vocal tanpuras from RA Sitarmaker for $1,000.00. And respected players were happy to pay big bucks for RA's stuff. So in all fairness - it has to be said that Ayub was making good stuff long before his partnership with K-Sound. I've been buying his sitars steadily over the last 6 years and the quality has been excellent. Shahid Parvez was in the shop about three months ago and I asked him for his unvarnished opinion. He played several RA sitars and he gave a big thumbs up. No, he didn't fall over in a dead faint and touch my feet over how fabulous they were - but he definitely graded them as professional quality instruments. At the very least, as good as the, standard, off-the-shelf stuff from Rikhi Ram and much more affordable.
Cheers,
Keshav

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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #10 
That happens.
Sometimes you type for so long on your reply that you are logged off.
When I type long posts I usually select and copy the whole text before I try to post.
If that happens you can just reply again and paste the text into the new reply.
That way you don't loose your long post if this happens.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #11 
PAYBACK ! ? ? ! What payback ? I payed through the nose for the instruments that I co-built over my years there, far more than what you must be paying. What stirred up all this nastiness is the quality downward shift and the lies to my face. Nothing during the good times created all this so the idea of payback is in error. I kept those homies well stocked - cash too! Prior to my arrival in 2002, the sitars in Miraj were a cryin' shame. They, and all of Miraj are big on Tanpuras. That is their specialty. Superb sound and rough finish. Sound is GOD and all that so they press on. They've got a 30+ page book of plans, dimensions, sketches, etc. that I put together and left with them so I wouldn't have to go to Miraj twice a month to oversee every little detail. Monumental mistake that was!!! All the goodies in that book are now most prominently featured on the RA red Label instruments that you are now getting from them as well as the SUGITA brand sitars from them. That's another tale of lies and deceit that left me fine threaded. Be certain on this - I got screwed big time. If anything, it's ME who should be looking at "payback". I can only assume (and hope actually) that my concept of "quality" was unattainable. I have to believe that after all the incredible excuses and bullshit stories I had to endure trying to get instruments I was happy with, it was just too much for them. I have to believe that. Even the "finished" product that I received still required about three days of fussing to get right. Mind you, that kind of fussing is not cost effective to the general and even high end production. I went that extra mile simply because my name was on the instrument so it HAD to be the absolute best it could be. What you will be getting will certainly be well designed sitars. They oughta be - nudge nudge wink wink Bob's your Uncle know what I mean? If everybody is happy with sapwood pegs, bending necks, rough sanded finish, sheet metal screws, capped bridge ends and a host of other points of contention, not exclusive to Miraj sitars, then you will in great shape. Hold any of those sitars up to a direct light and see the wave and wobble of the surface as the light reflects off it. I had to show the shop rats what a block sander was ! ! Imagine that ! ! ! I'll bet that extra step has been discarded as too time consuming. You are in the position of selling these instruments so of course you have to defend them. That I understand. You say you've been getting good stuff from them. Excellent. I've happy and relieved for you. You also will be able to set any issues straight before delivering to your customers. Also excellent. I'm only relaying my ongoing frustration regarding all things India and Indian and my nightmare experience of dealing with and even working direct on their shop floor. Incidentally, that "Studio sitar", a direct 100% copy of what I had designed for my now defunct line just underlines my whole take on this crap. I tried explaining the concept of exclusivity in designs to the shop rats. What was I thinking ! ? ! Well, you know the story on that. So, I hope you sell a million sitars. I also hope you remember the history behind that product line. Please do so. I'll never forget it and as it stands, therapy would be pointless.
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coyootie

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Reply with quote  #12 
well, as a 'nother longtime overseas trader/importer, I understand on a deeply painfully sympathetic level what T-bhai has been thru. but if importing stuff was easy, we'd all be doing it, nahin?
it's flogging dead livestock and, as someone already put it so wonderfully, taking poison and waiting for your enemy to die ( how do ya say this in hindi/urdu???) if you want consistency and straight talk in Hindoostan.
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Keshavdas

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Reply with quote  #13 
Just for the record - the "payback" remark was said lightly in jest. I sure as hell understand where you're coming from. Trying to get stuff made to my standards is an ongoing exercise in futility. Although I do keep trying, I have to say - that in order to keep my sanity - I have had to lower my expectations. When it comes to making your suppliers meet your demands, you have to walk a fine line between breaking balls and giving in to abject crappiness. You can only push Indian luthiers, harmonium makers etc, but so far; even when your efforts are intended to to promote improved finances on both sides of the equation. When you push too much - resentments are bound to happen. And of course if you're too nice, you will get screwed. In the time that you (Tony) have been posting here, I have watched with interest all the drama as it played out, and while wishing you well, had always wondered how long it would take you and your drive for perfection (in India! :roll: ) to burn out. It was a good run Tony. Eventually, the Indian luthier's capacity for doing it's thing at it's own pace and up to it's own standards, regardless of the efforts of others to improve the line, had to win out. The Miraj brand of ennui is bigger than all of us put together. Being in this business as long as I have, and trying to keep high standards, has meant that my ego has taken many a beating.
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"More harm is done by fools through foolishness
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #14 
Sad, isn't it ! ? ! I hope those betting against my efforts got a good return. It really feels good to be out of it, reeeel good. The motivation is still burning to make the ultimate sitar and to that end, I've now got everything lined up to begin production at years end. The visa battle is getting interesting. We now have two congressmen and a senator eMailing us with forms and questions on how they can assist. That prompted a frantic stirring of activity from the lawyer. Must be an election year. Anyway, it's looking like about 2 more months till visa is in hand now that ALL the paperwork has been submitted. Got gourds! Got wood! Got timber! Got tools! Got blueprints that nobody will ever see except the patent office people! Yeah! Next year is gonna be something. Also got a ton of repair work lined up and loads of delrin bridge orders. So- I'll still be active doing the sitar gearhead thing. The big plus is that I'm now back in the drivers seat. I'm running the show. I am El Presidente! Arre Bapri ! ! !
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wilsaxo

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Reply with quote  #15 
Viva la Sitarfixer!

David
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