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barend

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have a Barcus Berry pickup which I have installed on my sitar.

I also had it installed on my precious sitar and that sounded ok. But now I have a new sitar which sounds better acoustical but with the pickup it doesn't sound as good as my previous sitar. It sounds much more nasal and mid-like. I have placed it on exact the same spot as on the other sitar (see picture).

the one closest to the bridge is the actual pickup the other one is the jack input.

Does each sitar have it's own sweet spot?
and where can I place it to get a rounder less nasal tone?

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e306/barendtromp/S5001118-1.jpg
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neela sangeeta

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Barend,

I use the same pickup and place it in almost the exact same spot, but a little further away from the bridge. I think it is definitely possible that that spot will not work for all sitars. I do not have any specific recomendations besides experimentation. One friend of mine actually places his pickup above where you have the jack, on the other side of the strings, but closer to the bridge.

Good luck,
Neel
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Barend,

Yes, each sitar has a sweet spot, and the sound can change dramatically by just moving it a centimetre or two. You just have to keep moving it around and listening to find the sound you like best. All kinds of things like the wood, jawari, tabli shape, strings and playing style affect the sound, and the best placement will be different for each player and each sitar and depend on the kind of sound you're going for.

I'd also suggest recording yourself directly from the pickup, and judge from the recording so that amp clouring and room acoustics don't exagerate or distort what you're hearing. What you think might be a terrible sound coming from the amp might actually sound amazing when you hear it back recorded.

I'm using a McIntyre pickup at the moment. It's disk shaped and I found the best spot for the rounded mellow sound I like is directly below the sympathetic bridge.

What kind of preamp are you using? I'm using a LR Baggs Paraacoutic DI... it can raddically shape the sound (to cut away all the tranducer glare and harshness) and I can't imagine using a pickup without it.

Good luck!!

- Rex

PS: The technique I use to find the best placement for the pickup is the to first find the spot on the sitar which give mes the most volume. I then use the preamp to trim out all sounds I don't like and boost the sounds I like. If I'm still not happy, I look for another spot for the pickup and try again. I record each test and listen back to it carefully.
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barend

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "rex@sitar.co.za"
PS: The technique I use to find the best placement for the pickup is the to first find the spot on the sitar which give mes the most volume
how do you do that just by recording and listening back?

I use an ART Tube DI and do the EQ on the mixer

It is a little bit hard to experiment with the placing because you have to stick it the sitar with some tape and you have to attach it pretty tight otherwise the sound is not good and it will fall off the sitar. So you can not just take it on and off to listen to the sound or you might damage the sitar.

The only solution to do some experimentation is to do it with two persons. One is holding the pickup and one is playing.

I also noticed that when you push the pickup tight against the tabli with your fingers the sound changes dramaticaly. But when you stick it with some tape the sound is much softer. So that is also why it hard to jusge where to place the pickup
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Barend,

Yes, I just record it and play it back.. it takes a bit of time and trial and error is the only way I've been able to accurately judge the sound I was getting.

I use adhesive putty to stick the pickup to the tabli, it makes it very quick and easy to attach and remove it. I just use "Fun Tack" that bought at a stationary shop .. it's very widely available, there might be something similar where you are. It doesn't leave any marks on the tabli.

I route my preamp to a mixer too.. sounds like you have a good setup

- Rex
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barend

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Rex,

is this the one you are using?
http://www.amazon.com/DAP-01201-Reuseable-Adhesive-Putty/dp/B000H5S7K8

and doesn't the pickup fall off with this?
I use double sided mounting tape, it is not so easy to remove but the pickup is better fixed that way. What I do is warm it with a foan and than it comes off.
But for experimenting with the pacement the putty might just work fine.

I think the basic sound of the pickup has to be good because a preamp or EQ can't change the main character of the sound. Yesterday I recorded something with the pickup and with the EQ in my recording software I couldn't get rid of the nasal tone. I can make it less but not completely change the sound I will do some experimenting with the pick up placement this weekend.
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi Barend,

It's this specifically that I'm using:

http://www.lepageproducts.com/products/detail.asp?catid=68&subid=175&plid=328

I've never had a problem with the pickup falling off. I'm sure the product you mentioned is pretty similar.

Yes, you need a good pickup, and find the the best placement. The placement is probably the most important thing. You're right, the EQ can can only work with what it gets from the pickup, and finding the right placement can go a long way in getting the right tone.

I've never heard or obtained more than "just OK" sound with a pickup, but they are really useful for many hard-to-mic live situations, and can solve a lot of tricky problems. With the right EQ and a bit of reverb, the sound can be passable. I'm pretty happy with my McIntryre/LR Baggs combo at the moment for playing live or jamming. But I would never record with one because I find the overall character just too one dimensional for my liking in comparison with a mic... but that's better left for another thread

- Rex
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barend

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Reply with quote  #8 
I have looked in shops but I couldn't find that putty over here.

I also use the pickup only for live fusion situations and rehearsals. And also I never had a pickup that was really satisfying. Although I have to say that I like the Barcus Berry much better than the Blue spot transducers.
I am also curious about the Schecter pickups but those are way too expensive.
Anyone had/heard any of these? and was it a really big difference?
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barend

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Reply with quote  #9 
So I have done some experimenting with the pickup placement this weekend.
This is what I have found:

the pickup sounds the best if you move it more to the side of the sitar. The more you move it to the middle of the sitar (closer to the jawari and neck) the more nasal the sound becomes it also becomes louder there.
But if you move it to the sides of the bottom of the sitar the sound becomes rounder with more bass. Now I have it installed about 1 cm from the input (see picture above) in the same direction.

For the first time I am happy with the sound as it is. It comes close to the miced sound, although the mic sound has more sparkle and clearness. But it doesn't sound so 'electric' and nasal anymore. In this position I don't need to EQ anything and it still sounds good.

Also a tip: make sure that you tape the wires to the sitar. If you don't do that the wire will vibrate against the sitarbody and this will result in a distorted sound or some extra noises. Also the instrument cable should not comes against the sitar, this can result in clicking noises.
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vilandreu

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:

Great information about sitar placing and installing pickup. Yes.
I have a sitar pickup of TAV spanish company.
The result is very good. You you can visit

http://www.tav.net
http://www.rivel.com.es
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Greg

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Reply with quote  #11 
Those TAV pickups look worth checking out...
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