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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
Hello friends. I have been playing sitar for almost 2 years now and have recently started learning to play both Esraj and Sarod. I like the sarod picks and wondered if it would be better if you were to use sarod picks to play sitar instead of the mizrabs. Full disclosure: I also have played guitar and bass guitar in the past and have been expanding my instrument playing. Just something that had come to mind and wanted a different perspective on it. Thanks. -BW-
David Russell Watson

Senior Member
Posts: 362
Reply with quote  #2 
No way to tell but to try it out, and nobody to say it's better or not besides yourself

Posts: 490
Reply with quote  #3 
I'd vote no, strongly. it is reinventing the wheel. Sitar technique as known in every school/tradition uses the wire mizrab.Also anchoring your right thumb against the neck helps to hold the instrument in position quite a lot.
This reminds me of a new age lady who had me work on tambura for her. I was showing her how to adjust the jewari and she said "oh I never use that, I don't like the sound". I suggested that would be like trying to play a clarinet with your a---ole: what is the point?
If you're not playing classical Indian music, be my guest, but I'll bet a crore that no real classical sitar player will take this seriously.

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Posts: 1,564
Reply with quote  #4 
I'm all in favor of new ideas and innovations (if I could easily/cheaply retrofit my sitar with machine heads, I would...despite the fact that they don't look nearly as lovely! ), but I agree with coyootie. I started playing sitar having had a lifetime of experience with a plectrum (guitar, electric bass), but given the intense differentiation between the way these instruments are held and played, I can't imagine, even having had the benefit of the familiarity with a pick, that I would be any better or more able with a pick than with the mizrab. In fact I think it would be just the opposite, the anchored thumb position of the right hand in concert with the Da-Ra open/close hand technique, so much easier to do particularly with a fast, complex jhalla pattern. I respect a good sarod player who can do a jhalla well, without having your thumb anchored, it seems like it would require much more practice to jump back and forth like that without missing a compared to sitar.

Anyway, not saying you shouldn't try it, of course, just that it seems like it would actually make the instrument harder to least, in a traditional or classical way. To me, at least. Your mileage may vary!

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Posts: 1,937
Reply with quote  #5 
It was a slow and restful day - - - - I tried this sarod picking method on a sitar just to see ( I gotsta noooowww ) ! Holding the sitar in the traditional 45 degree angle to the floor or perched on the leg " VK style " is a dead loss. Holding the sitar like a sarod helped in that the picking motion with jabba the pick is now possible by the necessary shifting of the right hand to a more suitable angle of attack. Mandolin/bouzooki/guitar/sarod landing pattern works in this case. Only problem left is keeping the sitar neck on the leg while working the strings. The neck would have to be shaped like a sarod where it would contact the leg or else rig some kind of orthopedic brace to clamp onto the neck to keep it in place. The coconut picks are too heavy with extra length strings compared to sarod length. Sound got distorted from my heavy hand. Tried out a bass guitar grade plastic pick ( Fender heavy ) and that worked a lot better. For hard core guitar players, this approach might actually be better. Still prefer the pain and misery of the wire rat trap mizrab. Pull my finger ! ! !
yussef ali k

Posts: 322
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi, all.
Nice 1, so ...

... Crush',

From your multi-string instrumentalist p-o-view it can well be understood and tried, soooo - go,cat,go! - and then tell us.

But remember,
1.a lot of those stellar players dedicate their life to sitar, and
2. They have someone else family's - or their own - traditions to follow, techs and timbres to emulate and duplicate.

I play sitar as per traditional advice. Still, we are all aware of turning mizrabs 90 degrees for bin, of using 2- ans 3-mizrabs and the like]

IF you manage to put out a sound that pleases them, I'm convinced no one will tell you it sucks - but it is one BIG IF!

A mizrab sounds BIG for da blues - very Albert Kingish!

Holding a pick/jawa you have a floating instead of an ANCHORED RH, but yes, it's more efficient biomechanically (note that NN may well be right about 'pick-jhalla'). For me, it sounds somewhat different. What else?

Have fun trying!
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