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Posts: 52
Reply with quote  #16 
in most cases it IS the string and not the fret thats the problem. if you look at the string closely and allow the light to reflect off the bottom edge (the edge that touches the fret) you will see flat spots on the string directly opposite the frets. change the string and if it still happens...go for the abrasive approach


Posts: 674
Reply with quote  #17 
Turtle Wax is the bomb! (Any hesitation I had was dispelled by the owner of the hardware store who told me he used to spend hours waxing his Ford Galaxy every Saturday afternoon before driving his girlfriend to the movies... that was good enough for me!)

The frets polished up to a blinding shimmer with almost no effort. I slid some paper towel under the frets to catch any wax blobs, which worked great.. but there was minimal mess. I did get a speck or two on the wood when I was finding my feet with the stuff initially, but it dries to a kind of waxy clay and easily crumbles away with leaving any marks. The result was effortless, liquid meending and markedly improved tone.

I spent about 20 minutes doing some heavy meend exercises, and then noticed something interesting. That scratching sound, that prompted this thread, started to return. I noticed that a black, soot-like deposit was being left on the fret by the string with each meend. I don't know what it is.. like a combination of coconut oil and rust. Anyway, this gunk was definitely being left by the string and was abrasive enough to create a scratching sound. I could wipe it away, but it would invariably return.

The next morning, I noticed more scratching. An ultra-thin film of this string gunk was adhering to bits of the fret and, overnight, had dried to a concrete like consistency.. almost bonding with the fret. Whenever the sting passed over one of these areas while meending, I could hear and feel it scratching. This hardened gunk is hard to get rid of... only more Turtle Wax could take it off.

So, my guess is the string is the ultimate culprit. My spools of string are about 6-7 years old... probably way past their prime. I'm going to get a fresh set and see if that helps... I'll report back

- Rex

Posts: 46
Reply with quote  #18 
Yes, scratch always starts with (djs and/or) the string
getting messed up on the underside where it touches the frets.
Depends a bit on how good-natured the Sitar is: especially highly
tuned, high action Sitars with hard wood eat strings for
Bhairav/breakfast. Check underside of string after playing with thumb -
feel tiny unevenness at the spots of fret contact where much meending/
krintan etc take place. This unevenness will build up and start to
mess up the frets. Solution: new string for every concert and important playing.
For practise, always rub the string underside with steel wool before/after
playing. Wax, cymbal cleaner etc. won't help much, as it gives surface shininess only,
but adds some smear. Less smear is better (little bit coconut always best).
Pyramid has some nice brass coated string rolls for Sitar, these last much longer
before the dj starts, but these strings are sounding a little bit softer, have high less harmonics,
so they need Jawari adjusted.
Greets, Ingo

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Posts: 2,233
Reply with quote  #19 
Yup, A roll of wire is cheap.
Get a roll for your Ma string, and change it whenever you want.
I change it every couple of weeks.
Why not. Its easy.

Posts: 674
Reply with quote  #20 
SitarDoc gave me the scoop on the corrosion issue. The strings are plated with tin to prevent corrosion. If they're creating lots of black gunk, it means the tin has degraded and the string is bad. It looks like my whole roll is like that! It happens if strings are not kept airtight. I'm guilty ops:

SitarDoc has a great deal on cryogenic strings which are much more long lasting, so I'm ordering replacement batches from him. And, yes, the scratching sound is most definitely caused by abrasive string residue accumulating and hardening on the frets. Thanks again SitarDoc for the Turtle Wax solution, it rocks

- Rex

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Posts: 1,937
Reply with quote  #21 
I concur! SitarDoc has a good stockpile of cryo strings. I've received 2-3 batches from him over the last 2-3 years. All good stuff. I also tried out some of the kharaj wire in different gauges he has; also good stuff.
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