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Nishant

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello
I have been playing guitar for 5-6 years and i really want to learn a Indian Classical string instrument.How should i proceed?
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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #2 
1) Find teacher. You cannot learn properly without one at the beginning.
Check this list to see if there is one near you: http://chandrakantha.com/teachers/
If not then try google to see if there is a local teacher.

2) Find a good solid sitar that will last for a while. The cheap ones are no good, and you will eventually have to get a good one sooner or later.
Best bet for a buying good playable sitar that is set up and ready to go are "http://www.aacm.org" or "http://www.raincitymusic.com". Both are excellent merchants for Sitars.

3) Get to practicing. The sitar is nothing like the guitar. Your guitar skills do not really help with the sitar. In order to play sitar you have to practice and play every day. It is not like riding a bike.
I can pick up a guitar after a year of not playing and do fairly well. I can pick up a sitar after not playing for a week and feel like I am starting from scratch.

4) Sounds like a lot of bother to play the sitar, but it is absolutely worth it. I think the Sitar is the most satisfying acoustic instrument to play. It is hard to describe, but it really grabs hold of you. If you are really interested in learning, I say go for it. You wont be disappointed.
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Nishant

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Sitar seems good.I am also interested in sarod.
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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #4 
Sarod is very different from sitar, but all the suggestions above still apply.
Just replace "sitar" with "sarod" in my post above and it is still correct.
Sarod is a very beautiful instrument.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #5 
A guitarist might find the plectrum technique of a sarod slightly more familiar than the open/close hand technique of the mizrab on guitar...I can say as a guitarist it was a hangup for me until a good teacher got me on the right track.

Left hand technique on sitar may feel slightly familiar since it is fretted but the use of only the first two fingers is used and you basically only move up and down the strings (really just the main string, mainly), not laterally across them, much, so its very easy to erroneously apply guitar techniques. I know little of sarod technique, but you might read up on the sarod subforum, I seem to recall problems people had growing their fingernails for proper sarod technique while still playing guitar. Some people (as I recall) found the two instruments not very compatible, but don't quote me on that .

Guitar experience before starting on sitar is a mixed blessing. While the techniques are completely different, and I would advise every new sitar student to heed the oft-repeated advice here to accept that it is not a guitar and don't try to play it like one, the ROUGH mechanics of playing a plucked string instrument with frets certainly helps...if you ever forget how hard it is for a new player to even just fret and pluck a string, flip your instrument over and try it left handed! So guitar experience helps in some ways, but if the student is not guided by a good teacher and prepared to leave his guitar technique behind to adopt proper sitar technique, it can cause as many problems as it helps. Folks here (and eventually my teacher) straightened me out on these things.

Finding a teacher and an instrument all depend on your location...answers will be different if you live in the US, Canada, India, Europe, or elsewhere. I suppose also your budget. Whatever you do, but at least "middle of the road" instruments, don't go cheap. They are challenging enough instruments to play when built to high standards, no need to add further difficulty with crappy construction.
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Nishant

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks cwroyds and nicneufeld
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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #7 
If I can make one suggestion in your choosing between sitar and sarod.
Listen to a lot of music from both instruments, and then go with the one that moves you the most.
Choose by which SOUND moves you the most.
These instruments take a great deal of practice to learn, and you have to LOVE the sound of the instrument and be inspired by it.
Take your time.
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Nishant

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Reply with quote  #8 
I will surely keep that in my mind.I have started exploring Ali Akbar Khan's music at the moment.
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