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deltz

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello there once again,

I find myself listening more and more to Ram Narayans music, and his sarangi and music sounds wonderful. I recently bought a new sarangi with very poor quality strings. I was wondering what kind of Sympathetic and gut string he uses as I love the tone his sarangi has. Also which type of bow? Thanks!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
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ragamala

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Reply with quote  #2 
Since no-one else with more current information has replied, I'll step in to suggest -

Re sympathetics I've used for years an old coil I had and have forgotten the gauge, and I haven't a micrometer, so the most I ccan say is that they should be quite thick gauge steel compared with, eg, sitar sympathetics, they need to be very taut to get the best sound, thinner ones just won't boost the resonance of the sarangi body.

Regarding playing strings the last I heard Ram Narayan was using western harp strings. It is hard to get good quality Indian gut strings, but not impossible. Harpo strings are easier to find.

You'll find a discussion on the relative merits in the old thread in this forum

"Re: Traditional gut string v/s harp gut string"

Provided you have checked there is a support strut inside the main body chamber (so the sarangi doesn't self-destruct in time - again this has been mentioned in previous threads) the other thing to mention is pitch - sarangis sound better with all strings taut, and a pitch about "E". The down side is at this pitch you'll find it difficult to play with other non-sarangi people.

Re bows, Ram Narayan and his daughter Aruna to my knowledge in the past had bows custom-built (by an Australian I think) and they had adjustable western-style frogs.

Getting good quality bows is a problem, at least outside India - if someone you know is visiting India........

Often bows sold with instruments are too thin, ie not enough width of hair, and too light, most people I've talked to recommend a fairly heavy bow. (You could try making your own, but it's difficult to keep tension in ordinary western horse hair, in my experience).
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #3 
I had the good fortune to study Ram Narains Sarangi during intermission at a concert many years back. I even drew sketches of it! All taraf were .012 steel. The gut strings were a bit thinner than I expected. No measurements there. Sorry. I did notice the one 'red' main string. It looked like it was the same stuff that violin tail pieces are tied down with. Very smooth and incredibly tough. Two other strings, guitar D strings - wound were also fitted. One on the outer most slot on the little sugar cube taraf bridge on the peg side. The other set to the usually vacant large #4 peg. It was routed through the little window next the the big window and ran through a bridge hole situated between the rack of 15 taraf and rack of nine on the side. A sitar oval bone tuning bead served as a bridge on the little window shelf. Dig up some pictures from vintage album covers. These will help. Since this instrument got all the La Bomba trim pieces slapped on, I don't know how it is set up. Mine is set to these vintage specs and tuned to SA = D. Watch out for wire ends when restringing ! ! !
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deltz

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you very much guys, will take all information into consideration when buying my strings, just got to look for some now!

Another question is I cannot get the tuning of my Sarangi to the pitch of his, Im not sure if its exactly 'E' or 'Re' as it sounds off. Maybe it is because I leave my sympathetic strings at D? How would I tune the sympatheticstrings, just 2 notes higher than it originally was?

Thanks very much!
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martin spaink

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi all,
As I am in the process of restringing a sarangi after having done some structural repairs which included making a new bridge for it as well, I thought to mention my own experience here, not with the odd idea of teaching y'all how to do things, just sharing.
Strings: gut strings will be either Indian or Western. Generally Indian made gut strings are medium brownish, not as polished and neat as Western, but are usually very supple, sound good and are not expensive. Can be ordered here and there as a full set of 3. As open string length is quite short, rather thick guts are used. Approx. thicknesses in mm ( 1 inch = 25,4 mm ) upper sa 1,8, pa 2,3 karaj 2,9. String making is a very old tradition in Europe, and with the revival of early music many small companies make gut strings according to ancient practice so there is a wide choice of types of gut strings to be had these days. Check under historic instruments like viola da gamba, violoncello, historic type gut strings. The latest developments allow for thicker strings, so that theorbo's and bass viols, violones can be strung entirely in gut which sounds very convincing. Wound strings have a different sound-colour and this creates some problems with regard to intonation and blending in to the ensemble. The red gut mentioned above on Pt. R.N.'s instrument is either a gut harp C string or indeed what is called tailgut among the cognoscienti, which is to be had in different thicknesses as to their intended use for violins up to violones to make the loop that secures the tailpiece to the endpin, so it's heavy duty stuff. I can look up a link to some related sites if anyone is interested.
If you're planning to change some strings, make sure you have peg dope (Wirbelseife) at hand to rub to two contact areas of the pegs to make them more manageable, mostly they are too dry and squeak and jerk. If you already have a good tuning handle for the tarabs, drill a hole across below the top to allow a steel transverse bar of about 8 or 10 mm. thickness and 10-14 cm. long, to get better leverage and control. With so many strings to tune, and the need to create sympathetic resonance, you need to gently and slowly slide into the resonance, which is the way to go and do it in a reasonable amount of time. That's one thing I learned from working with harpsichords, 122 or 183 strings to tune purrfectly within the hour!
About tarabs: every time I have restrung a sarangi I spent some time afterwards changing strings looking for a good tone and response. This last one seems happy (at a pitch of Sa = E ) with plain steel (get some coils of R
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