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JazzMathias

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Reply with quote  #1 
I just saw a cheap sarod for sale, but it has no tumba. I have never seen this before, is this normal or could this mean that it is a tourist sarod only for the looks? I will try to get some pictures of it.

/Mat
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JazzMathias

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Reply with quote  #2 
Here's some pics: https://plus.google.com/photos/107887774913794619611/albums/5810670693330669617?authkey=COS46ZvjrfS-eQ

What do you think?

At least the lotus pegs looks nice

/Mathias
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #3 
What do you call cheap? I think this is an Ustad Amjad Ali Khan 6 main pegs style sarod. I have one just like it. Like U Vilayat Khan's sitar compared to Pt Ravi Shankar's, it has NO toomba on it. I was told the cheaper ones have inlaid design on the lower side, this hasn't!!
Looks good but at what price?

Nick
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #4 
In my opinion, this is NOT a junker. Definately an "Amjad Ali Khan" 6 string version. The "gulab" pegs are a nice touch. The two nail holes on the peg head look like there may have been a "Naskar's" or similar badge there at one time. Everything else looks good, even the dull skin. Depending on the going price, this would be well worth considering. What is the price tag ???
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JazzMathias

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Reply with quote  #5 
Just bought it. 150$. Sounds pretty good to me, and pretty loud, compared to my sitar.

Heres some more pics: https://plus.google.com/photos/107887774913794619611/albums/5812830062403436273?authkey=CP6SnIXHpInKHA

A few observations on the sarod:

Theres is a crack in the bottom of the instrument where the metal tailpiece is attached. It is about 2 cm long and
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JazzMathias

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi again

I forgot to mention that it only has 23 tarafs.

And when i took out the tuning pegs of the two lower strings, i noticed a cut where the chalk is. Is that normal to make it hold tuning better?

/Mathias
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #7 
The Amjad Ali Khan style sarod is like the U Vilayat Khan sitar compared to the Pt Ravi Shankar sitar. They have a few less strings & tend to be a bit smaller with no upper resonater. Only difference is AAK sarods DO have bass strings on them.
I had one sent from India this year, the body was made by the same family that made/makes Kanailal's sarod bodies. It's a lovely instrument. Might upload some pics.

Nick
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arnabsarod

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi Mathias,

I'm guessing you meant to say that the sarod has 13 tarafs instead of the usual 11 or 15. As I had mentioned earlier by email, this is a Wajahat Khan style sub-variant, which is more or less the same as an U. AmAK style sarod (as Nick correctly identifies it), with a square headstock, higher string action, fake MoP trims (as opposed to white celluloid), and more decorations on the headstock than usual.

The crack near the tailpiece won't really do much to hurt the sound, although it might be (remotely) dangerous to the stability of the instrument in the long run. Could you please post some photos of the crack? My guess is that you can just fill it up with rubber cement or sawdust+wood-glue putty, and cover it with Bondo. I recommend rubber cement.

As for the bridge placement, I'm attaching a drawing to explain the angled alignment and why it is desirable. At the time of construction, the legs of the bridge are usually kept parallel to the taraf holes, and later sanded such that the bridge slants slightly on the skin top, with the rear side of the bridge making an angle of about 80-85 degrees to the skin. This reduces the possibility of the taraf strings making contact with the wall of the bore in more than one place, ensuring that they don't buzz!

In my crude, hastily assembled diagram, line segment mn illustrates the taraf holes' location. Line segment xy would have been the normal when the bridge was originally made, and then angle B was reduced from the original 90 degrees to about 80, so that the bridge sits slanting on the top, and arrests the tarafs in their respective holes as mentioned above. If Apu is reading this, he might be able to provide better drawings and explanations.

Attached Images
jpeg sarod bridge layout.jpg (248.27 KB, 2 views)

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JazzMathias

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Arnab

Again thanks for all your good feedback, and yes it was a typo, of course i meant 13 tarafs.

Regarding the crack:
Heres a picture of it, i know its not he best, but i will try to take a better , but wont be able to do it until next week:
https://plus.google.com/photos/107887774913794619611/albums/5812830062403436273/5812830095876093042?authkey=CP6SnIXHpInKHA

What about pure TItebond wood glue as filling, would that do the job, since it is such a narrow crack?

Regarding the bridge, thanks for the detailed instruction and nice drawing.

As you can see on this picture, the bridge is tilted so much, that the side |AC| is perpendicular to the plane, which i guess means that https://plus.google.com/photos/107887774913794619611/albums/5812830062403436273/5812830064864988882?authkey=CP6SnIXHpInKHA

I will try to follow you instructions, and hope that the angles will fall into the right range.

Best regards

Mathias
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arnabsarod

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Reply with quote  #10 
Ah! I see that the bridge is tilted forward instead of backwards (the latter being the desirable tilt). This looks like an easy fix, as the bridge itself is not faulty. It is either a setup error or (more likely) a transit accident. You could just loosen up the strings and tilt the bridge backwards, and tune it back where it was!

As for the crack, it looks like it can be filled with Titebond, small as it is! $150 for this sarode was a steal, and you can do a lot with it. How is the sound? Post a clip of the open strings at least, if not some slides.

Cheers,

Arnab
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JazzMathias

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Reply with quote  #11 
Yes it could look like it has been moved by accident.

I think the sound is very nice, but I will make a recordings next week, but so far with my creditcard as java

/Mathias
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #12 
Namaste Arnab bhai.
Just want to ask one thing about sarods in general.
Can one tune them like we do on sitar, using frets? I mean does the bridge being tipped alter tuning make any difference because it has no frets? Are there certain distances to reach for when playing? Is this clear? Is it to do with height from fretboard is what I think I mean? :?

Thanks
Nick
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arnabsarod

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Reply with quote  #13 
Greetings, Nick bhai!

Since there are no frets on a sarode, we "tune" them using our fingers. What I mean is that one's fingers get used to a certain speaking length (nut to bridge distance covered by the suspended open string). Based on this, one develops judgment as to where the fingers will be placed to find the right notes. As a general rule, an intuition for a whole tone interval where both notes are not "open" positions, is developed by using the distance between finger 1 (index) and finger 3 (ring) as a gauge. Similarly, the distance between finger 1 and 2, or 2 and 3, can be used to develop intuition about one semitone intervals.

[A notable exception is U. AmAK, and by default, his students, who emulate sitar-style fingering, using only the index and middle fingers to press the strings. This may be less efficient for some things, but does present certain advantages, such as greater cultivation of the second finger, and as a result, more control on gamak and intricate murkis -- why this is so can be explained in a separate thread/post if people are interested. Therefore, in my view, both the 3-finger tech and 2-finger tech should be cultivated for mutually exclusive skills. Neither is inferior to the other when the two are used complementarily.]

Some teachers teach children by marking the note position on the fingerboard. This causes the new player to tilt the sarod's face upward, towards themselves, and leads to poor posture. Therefore, I mark note positions for beginners (of course those who take in-person lessons as opposed to Skype) in a colour-coded scheme on the flange of the fingerboard, which can be seen without bending one's back (green for shuddha swars, orange for komal swars and blue for teevra ma - the teevra ma and komal re are in the exact same position, respectively on the M and S strings, so there are two vertically aligned dots, one orange and one blue, in the same position on the length axis). Once the layout is memorized, I erase the dots and ask the learner to fine-tune their fingers by ear.

So, to conclude answering your original question, the choice of string length depends on the following factors:

1. Side of the player's hands and finger flexibility (bigger, more flexible hands can handle longer speaking lengths and vice versa)
2. Desired action height at the highest note possible (the lower the action, the easier it is to play smoothly across the fingerboard, but if the action is too low, there won't be any string tension at all, making the sarode sound dull and flat)
3. If one is dealing with a ready-made sarod, then bridge placement, of course, will depend on the point where one can expect maximum bridge-skin contact (good coupling), unless this position is a dead spot, in which case, a compromise position will have to be worked out.

So yes, the bridge tipping over does alter the scale length and thereby one's judgment as to the exact location of a note. It may cause the tarafs to buzz and also change the distance between the fingerboard and string (action), making playing difficult.

I hope I haven't turned it into too tedious an essay!

Cheers,

Arnab
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #14 
What a great & incredibly useful post for ALL sarodists
Shah Bash & Bahut Dhanyavad, Arnab bhai.

Nick
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