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ragamala

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Reply with quote  #31 
I am not quite sure if by scratching you mean squeaking, as I'd call my old complaint.

If by scratching you mean low tone scraping and by squeaking I mean occasional high-pitched quirky noises, then I can suggest -

Scraping sounds can be caused by too much rosin as well as too little. (FYI I use gut harp strings and switched from using cello rosin to an "all weather" double bass rosin on a thicker bow).

I can suggest cleaning the strings with a cloth after practice to remove excess rosin and prevent build-up (which after a while may then perhaps only be removed with a light sanding with fine glasspaper). If you think there;s too much rosin on the bow don't try removing it just let it work its way off. And of course if the string is showing signs of wear replace it.

The strings should be bowed always with bow at right angle to the string, you might like to try changing from bowing with hair full on to angling the bow slightly and using a bit less hair to see if that helps.

Practising a soft touch on the strings with the bow and long steady strokes may help too. It is said Ram Narayan would practise holding one stroke for one minute! Most mortals won't reach that but it's something to bear in mind when practising bow strokes.

And of course the string must be stopped gently but firmly with the cuticle, not the nail.

If most of the time you get a good tone but get occasional squeaks this is maybe more likely to come from faulty fingering or inappropriate bowing -
if you find the answer to this please let me know!

I hope one or two of these suggestions are helpful.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #32 
Sorry if I failed to satisfy your requirements for a good answer. These are my observations from a lot of years of getting my paws on these instruments. Researchers in the fields of musical evolution in India are welcome here to jump in. That's how we learn, anyway. I watch the old ones, Roc as well performing, teaching, building and kitbashing. Much wealth there. For me to repeat my earlier observations, what's the point. I'd crash through most soap boxes and Hyde Park is too far a jump. One observation in development of music is how much the changed market has forced changes in the music. Gone are the all night week long festivals. Sigh! Fire marshals and the 9 to 5's seem to have joined forces to pull the plug on most gigues by 1 am. Sigh! If the performance can't fit into a CD or MP3 file, it's gonna be tough to move. That has to translate to a shortened stage time as well. I can't imagine a 3 hr. alap in Darbari without multiple cigarette breaks, pit stops or baby sitter overtime cutoffs. There's a change since the 70's. The combining of Ragas seems to be a new thing (if you can consider the 60's as new). Hem-Lalit, Jog-Kauns, Desh-Malhar, etc. I gotta wonder what brought this on.

Me hung up on instrument fixing - you have no idea. Since the internet connection here is spotty at best and a long shot on weekends; cable tv drops every 30 min; too hot to go outside, etc. (whine, whine, whine), I sit in the bedroom (only room with an AC when the power is on) and draw plans for the new batch of sitars. Obsessed with the drive of a madman - that's me with sitars! Can't wait to present the finished product! CAN'T WAIT !!! Regarding the vocal traditions continuing irrespective of my activities, I don't really see the connection. I hope like anything these traditions do continue. They must! If this music here in India dies, then that's it. We're all done ! My sitar production has no bearing in that regard. My ranting about the "local" methods of sitar production will also have no bearing. I tried for six years to get that Miraj shop to " raise the bar; take it to the next level; think outside the box; push the envelope " and all that other corporate mumble to no avail. Seven generations of sitar making have locked them in. Since my last unbadgable batch of sitars from them slumped back to the old way of doing things, I'm no longer connected there. Turns out the traditions of old in India are what is spurring me on. How's that for turn around ! ? !

I'm keenly aware that the music and instrument making practice here will continue with or without my complaints as to methods in use here. The evidence is overwhelming. Am I concerned ? - not a scrap ! My production and activities do not have any weight or relevence at all in that regard nor are output items a problem for me. I'm not in competition with anyone here in India. I'm making something completely different from anything here. Materials, construction - everything is different. I really do wish all the makers here well. Their efforts will only raise the market level that much more. Everybody gains from that. Quiet comforting in a way now that I think about it.

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ragamala

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Reply with quote  #33 
:-)

Sitarfixer - Blessings - I really appreciate this and your other posts - maybe in the next life I will come to you for a sarangi - my arthritis in this makes me feel I am past my useful development here and my musical improvement will come about more through Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin than a Tony fix. When you are on the Hyde Park soapbox I will be the one sitting cross-legged, looking uncomfortable but with a benevolent smile on my face.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #34 
Ragamala! Stick around in this life. I got a late start in what I'm doing. No stiff joints are going to keep me down. When I get back to London and hit Hyde Park, I doubt I'll hop the soap box but I'll be looking for you with an invite for coffee at least and the opportunity to swap horror stories and tales of all things ICM and India. That I would enjoy. Cheers !
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martin spaink

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Reply with quote  #35 
Funny and also wonderful to see sometimes how any thread can turn in to a meeting place as if folks side up over a chai or whatever.
Since there is actually information relevant to the title of the thread to be found strewn through the various entries, I thought to add a bit that might be helpful for those who face a refacing of their own or someone else's sarangi or any other skin-topped instrument.
So, in addition to sitarfixer's info there are other things to consider as possibilities. The first time ever I had to learn to be a skin-changer I could see many things going wrong if I did not think it all through and prepare accordingly. Perhaps I was overmeticulous in comparison to 'standard paractice' as descibed by SF, but I wanted to get things right the first time. I prepared the skin, marked it and cut a staight edge, prepared the naked sarangi etc. and first glued on the skin on the top part where it merges flush with the end of the fingerboard. As soon as the skin was in place in the gluebed I taped it to fix it and clamped it up with a felted batten over the glued-up section. After it has dried I clean up the fingerboardedge and mask the glued-up skin with tape to keep it dry during following steps. Then I made seams on the skin's circumference, cutting little recesses every inch and a halve or so, layed a round cable in the seam and using glue and battens and clamps while it sets. I did not want to make holes and thread directly in to the skin for fear of tear out. The circumference of the sarangi was already taped off parallel to edge so I'd have 10 mm. glueing-up space all around. Seing everyhing laid out thusly was a reassuring sight, however, at the treble side waist the wall often has a negative angle lying below lines of pull if you go around the back as I intended. Then I decided to adapt a previously applied idea including an outside mould and a bycicle tyre. The mould I made from a slab of 40 mm. multiplex, I drew a circumference -face down contour 20 mm. wider than real size. Whatever length of tyre that is not in the mould you should restrain in some way. With these extra measures everything worked out just fine.
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