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arnabsarod

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Posts: 204
Reply with quote  #1 
Hello all,

I wonder if other sarod players here would like to share details of the strings they use on their instruments, including gauges and the materials they prefer. For the last 12 years or so, I have used some from of cryogenic steel or the other for my MA, SA, chikari and tarab strings, with reasonably good results. These strings were usually from Schaff or Precision. My experience with post-2000 Roslau wire is quite dismal. A friend has recently suggested that I switch to tin-plated steel strings made by Pyramid, a German maker. Do any of you use Pyramid wire? If so, please share your experiences. My friend and I have recently ordered 4 oz. coils for ourselves.

While I have had nothing to complain about the Schaff and Precision wire I have used, I do have major issues with the Japanese made phosphor bronze wire that is sold by our one and only Bhargava's Musik, under the Nataraj brand. This wire has a good tone, but I suspect that the gauge is inconsistent even in a 29-30" measure. My playing style is heavily laden with murkis (rapid movements within closely spaced notes) and my nails often get stuck trying to navigate the pancham 0.012" bronze string. This problem occurs at different intervals, depending on the particular measure of wire that is in use. I never face this problem with the streel strings. I had once bought a coil of phosphor bronze wire from the AACM and it was very good. Along with the Pyramid wire, my friend has also ordered a range of US and UK-made phosphor bronze wire for me. Let's hope it suits my playing. Does anyone suggest any particular brand?

Here are the gauges I use (sarod usually tuned to key of B):

MA - 0.008
SA - 0.009/0.010
'PA - 0.012
'SA - 0.015/0.016

C-1 - 0.009
C-2 - 0.009
C-3 - 0.008
C-4 - 0.008

My sarod has a 20" long fingerboard and one can comfortably play as far up as the ati-taar gandhar. The speaking length, as a result of this, is almost 27". This makes B the most comfortable key in which to tune this sarod. It can be played as high as C# or D, but for those keys, I would use 0.006 for the MA string.

Pictures of my sarod:

http://www.arnabchakrabarty.com/images/DSC00586.JPG
http://www.arnabchakrabarty.com/images/DSC00587.JPG
http://www.arnabchakrabarty.com/images/DSC00588.JPG
http://www.arnabchakrabarty.com/images/DSC00590.JPG

Sample of meend and murki work on the Pancham string:

http://www.arnabchakrabarty.com/random/V0028.WAV (Purvi - playing around with the SA). Recorded 2 mins ago on my Transcend T-610, on the 1930s Gopal Sharma sarod pictured in the links above.

This clip is played with my natural nails filed down to the best possible degree of smoothness. Even so, you will find a certain amount of "scratchiness" on this particular string. This never happens on the steel strings. It would be fun to know the experiences of other sarod players. Keep the thread going and diversify as needed!

Regards,

Arnab
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norumba

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Posts: 32
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi,
I often cheat and use D'Addario plain loop end banjo strings for the hi sa and ma, chikari and tarab strings, simply because IM really horrible at tying those loops also saves a step if you have to change one in a hurry at a performance. I suspect theyre a little brighter that regular raw wire.

I have Nataraj coils for the bronzes that I picked up in Kolkata when i was there, but havent tried anything to compare them against. Would also love a good reccomendation for a source of consistent bronzes...
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Tomek

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Posts: 98
Reply with quote  #3 
I would highly recommend the Pyramid wire. I have not used a whole set on a sarod, but I have used their guitar strings and currently have a steel .012 PA string, courtesy of a sitar playing friend. They are very high quality strings, made of very high quality steel.
Btw, beautiful sarod, I love the wood grain!
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arnabsarod

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Posts: 204
Reply with quote  #4 
Stefan and Tomek,

Thanks for the responses and recommendations. I'll be sure to try them out and report back.

Regards,

Arnab
0
acousins

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #5 
Hello,

I used to buy my strings from AACM, but in the last couple of years found a dealer with a larger range of string gauges and types in Oregon, US (I live not too far away in Seattle). I have bought both steel and phosphor bronze of various gauges from them, and have been happy with the strings. I haven't had problems with gauge variations on the phosphor bronze strings as Arnab mentioned (I have bought both 0.011" and 0.012" p.b. strings). The dealer is at this website (ask for Lutz):

http://www.fortepiano.com/

Not all the links work - click on "Online Catalog" and look for "sitar strings".

The question of string gauge and pitch of the sarod has been a continual issue for me - I have oscillated in tuning between Sa=B flat to slightly lower than B to B to C. It sounds as if my sarod has the same string length as Arnab's - just under 27". The sarod is an Amjad Ali style teak sarod made by Rikhi Ram in the late 70's - it was RR's first copy of the first sarod my guru (Amjad Ali Khan) bought from Hemen.

In tuning to B flat, I use Ma=0.008" Schaff, Sa=0.010" Schaff, Pa=0.012" Schaff steel or 0.011" phosphor bronze, Sa=0.016" phosphor bronze.

In tuning to B I use Ma=0.008" Schaff, Sa=0.009" Schaff, Pa=0.010" or 0.011" phosphor bronze, Sa=0.016" phosphor bronze.

In tuning to C I use Ma=0.007", Sa=0.009" Schaff, Pa=0.010" phosphor bronze, Sa=0.016" phosphor bronze. I used to use Ma=0.008" but it is extremely tight on my sarod at this pitch; I currently am trying a D'Addario electric guitar 0.007" steel string for Ma - it seems to be OK.

On my sarod kharaj Sa and Ma sound very good when tuned to B; however, I have recently decided that the overall sound is much brighter and has more character and passion when tuned to C. I would be interested in hearing other people's experiences.

Regards, Anand
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arnabsarod

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Posts: 204
Reply with quote  #6 
Anand,

Thank you for your contribution. 0.007 a.k.a. 000 doesn't work for me in B/C as my finger/nail combination is too heavy for such a thin string. C# and upwards, however, it makes a lot of sense, though. I am using 0.012 (steel - the triple tin-coated variety) for the pancham. The triple tin-coated variety is indeed far superior to anything I have used in the past. The gauges are even and the texture feels much smoother on the nail.

I am told that the wire I am presently using is from a maker in Tennessee who does custom orders for guitarists.

Arnab
0
norumba

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Posts: 32
Reply with quote  #7 
hi all, been a while since i tuned in
I used a little heavier gauge when tuning to B on the Hemen - .009, .011, .013 - but it didnt speak well-- i may try that on the shorter Dulal,but for now i like the Dulal in C...

Arnab, can you offer more specifics on this wire from Tennessee youre using?
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