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Pujadaddy

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Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all. I recently purchased a concert series Mukta Das tabla from a well known retailer who has a satisfaction guarantee. As it was my first new tabla out of three over the last six years, I relied upon the retailer to help me with my selection but would like some other opinions as to how this transaction has transpired.

I was told by the retailer that I could select both the size dayan and the pitch that I desired in this particular series. Given that I have large hands, I chose a 6.5" dayan tuned to a B. When the tabla arrived the dayan was tuned to G# which was a full 1.5 steps below both the B that I had ordered. The retailer told me after a day that I was ready to add a second strap over the gatta and "tune it up". I decided to go slow and only tune it to an A (one half step from what it arrived) and it sounded great. However after a day or so, it began to stop holding its pitch and I found myself with the gattas nearing the end of their range of motion (with two straps), just to hold an A pitch.

My issue with this is that I realize in time that over you loose tension in the tasma, so I can see having to go to a third strap over the gatta just to maintain an A in what seems to me to be the early part of the life of this brand new tabla that was supposed to be a B to begin with. I am trying to be flexible in my expectations but this seems to be somewhat of stretch (no pun intended) from what I was sold on.

The retailer knew that I was a newbie, and has just told me that I have to let the tabla adjust and that "it is fine". I don't understand why they would tell me I can expect a B tabla, and then expect me to believe that this is fine. If this were the case, why would I be asked what pitch I desired to begin with?

I have kept the tabla at a stable temperature and at a relative humidity or 51%.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
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wilsaxo

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Posts: 163
Reply with quote  #2 
Hello Pujadaddy

I wouldn't worry too much. Just insert the gatta under the next strap and continue to bring the pitch up slowly. You need to learn this anyway so check out our host's most helpful article: http://www.chandrakantha.com/tablasite/articles/repair2.htm#TIGHTENING on tuning, tightening and re-tightening.

If you need to pull the straps, enjoy learning to do it, as this is also a skill all tabla players need to develop. Check out this link to see Kalyan's videohttp://aacm.org/shop/index.php?main_page=page&id=15&chapter=10&zenid=acgqqu93jmoeq53t5a49ihtqg1
Part 4 and 5 of the AACM video is great for seeing someone go about this.

Although the straps could probably have been pulled to raise the pitch before shipping, there is greater risk of damage to the pudi this time of year with the temperature extremes that a parcel is subject to. I've received dayans shipped to me with the gattas removed to reduce the stress the pudi will be subject to in transit. "B" is most likely at the upper extreme of this sized 6.5 inch dayan, but I'd bet it will sound great there. I know that I would definetely ship this tuned much lower for safety. Ask the dealer if he will acccept a return if you are unable to reach this pitch without the pudi splitting.

Good luck and enjoy!

David

Enjoy
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Pujadaddy

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Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #3 
To clarify, I've already added one strap over the gatta to achieve the A (which it will no longer hold) and have a solid grasp on the tuning process. After a few days it began to loose pitch and is now holding at G# with two tasma. The thing is I would have just dealt with it if it would have held the A (as I already planned to purchase another dayan at an alternate pitch), but I would now have to go to three straps to do that, or re-pull. As a novice, this is just a scary thing to consider doing to a brand new $300 dayan. The retailer suggessted a dehumidifier, a suggestion at which my guru became pretty irritated... But my guru is basically telling me to live with it. Considering I purchased the dayan intending on collaborating with a specific instrumentalist in B, this still leaves me without a dayan I can use for this purpose.

So if I really want to achieve a B, should I order a C#, or make the retailer pulling the drum closer to ideal pitch before shipping a condition of the sale?

Thanks so much for the responses!
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wilsaxo

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Posts: 163
Reply with quote  #4 
Pulling the straps is nothing to be afraid of. Gloves are needed of you don't have a hook, but a hook is what I use and it is very easy to make. I made mine for under $3. Since you have older dayans try it on one of them first if you don't want to learn on the new one.

If you are set on buying another one consider 6.25 inch and insist that it be pulled up to pitch before shipping. Good luck with this.

David
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trippy monkey

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Posts: 4,281
Reply with quote  #5 
Sorry to chip in but which instrument in B do you want to play with? Sarod? Surbahar? Rudra Veena?
I won't ask the name though.

Thanks
Nick
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Pujadaddy

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Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks, I am heading in that direction as far as pulling the straps, and practicing on my older dayan first. My guru said he can supervise.

Thanks David for all of the information.

The other instrument is a sitar and he tunes to B (don't ask me why).

Brian
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Lars

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Posts: 1,452
Reply with quote  #7 
I don't think you'll get a 6.5 to go to B and the thinner skin of a MD is more likely to split if you push the limits. Next time look for something around 5.5 inches....
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Pujadaddy

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Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #8 
Yes, my guru thought that this was a high pitch for the size as well, but the retailer said that this was the recommended pitch by the maker for this specific drum. It even had a 'B" supposedly written on it from when it was made. I was operating solely on the retailers assurance that this was the case when deciding on my dayan. I have decided to live with it at G# (its still a beautiful instrument) and go with a 5.75 for my next dayan, but I may look for another retailer depending upon the opinions I get here.

Thanks again for all of the responses.
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wilsaxo

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Posts: 163
Reply with quote  #9 
Lars has very good points about the size and the thinness of the MD skin. The syahi acts to lower the pitch of the drum among other things that make a tabla sound like a tabla. MD's is thin in keeping with Callcutta style. For the large drum to attain the higher pitch less syahi would be applied during manufacture, but with the skill to keep the overtones balanced for a good tabla sound, so 6.5 could be made to a "B" with skill, but this is likely the upper limit. The problem with this is that all of the skin used in the pudi and straps is only going to keep stretching during its useful life and thus tune lower. All of the actions of bringing it back up to pitch will eventually cause the head to fail sooner than say a 5.5 or 5.75 one.

David
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tablafreak

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Posts: 548
Reply with quote  #10 
The 6.5" actually can go to a B. But by "B" I mean Kharaj B (very low pitch below middle C). I dont think the maker or seller was lying. I have a 6.5" dayan at Kharaj C and it sounds fine. Hope this helps.
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gurdip

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Posts: 46
Reply with quote  #11 
Figure I'll post on this topic, here's a specific key/size range for MD (Mukta Das) dayans:

Based on personal experience, since we import these sizes and have them in stock.

Size and general key set. (by the maker of course)

5.25" - E to F (Safed 3 - 4)
5.50" - D to D# (Safed 2 - Kali 2)
5.75" - C to C# (Safed 1 - Kali 1)
6" to 6.25" Bb - C (Safed 1) Pakawaj tone.
6.50 to 6.75 B - A (Mandra safed 7 to Mandra safed 6) Pakawaj tone.
7" to 7.25" G - G# Pakawaj tone.

Hope that helps, Happy New Year folks!

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