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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #1 
So...kharaj pancham sitars generally have some intonation "quirkiness" on at least the lowest Sa string. My question is, how do surbahars fare? When you fret, say, the second fret on the low Sa on a proper surbahar, does it come out at proper Re, or do you have to fret at the first fret and bend up (as on my sitar, sans Tony's magic kharaj string intonation block)?
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #2 
I don't think I've ever had an intonation problem with mine as they've usually been made by someone who knows what they're doing! :wink:
If the Bass SA was a little high I would lower the notch it sits in near its peg.
I always, now, use a bass guitar/cello string on there as it can be very difficult to get such a thick 'normal' string to sit right at EITHER end!!

Nick
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #3 
Assuming the bridge is flat (safe assumption!), then the more curved the frets are, the greater the pitch error will be as you move up the neck - most especially on the deep kharaj since it resides above the lowest part of the fret. Although proper slotting of the targahan (nut) will help for the first few frets - as will Tony Ks innovative treatment of the deep kharaj at the targahan, the higher one plays up the neck the greater the disparity will be. This is often avoided simply by playing only on the first few frets of the deepest kharaj.

The latest version of our Surb has flat frets like the Vina and/or Rudra for this very reason. Curved frets are great for "GP" sitar, flat frets are better for everything else unless the main bridge is curved as on many tanpuras. Easy enough to curve the bridge for and unfretted instrument like the tanpura = especially when you can utilize the thread/string to optimize the buzz (BECAUSE it isn't fretted) but not so easy (as in virtually impossible) to curve the bridge on a fretted instrument.......
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yussef ali k

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi. (GFosse)-Allow me 2 Q's:
1) Why do you think GP sitars are better off ('great') fitted w/ curved frets?;

2) You wrote it is
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
I don't think I've ever had an intonation problem with mine as they've usually been made by someone who knows what they're doing! :wink:
If the Bass SA was a little high I would lower the notch it sits in near its peg.
Hi Nick...either I'm confused, or are you talking about "height" in physical/action sense (height of string at nut and above frets)? I'm more asking about pitch...ie., on my kharaj pancham studio sitar, when the kharaj string is tuned to Sa open, and I fret either the first or second fret, its always a good deal sharp. A block that brings the nut a little closer to the first fret can compensate for this (still in the "yet to do" file for me).

My assumption was most kharaj pancham sitarists develop the technique of going a fret behind and bending up, so for instance on Yaman, I grab the string behind the first fret, bend ever so slightly to hit shuddh Re, and bend up from there...or third fret for shuddh Ga, etc. My question is if surbaharists generally do the same, or if the design of the instrument generally makes this unnecessary.
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #6 
Nic - sounds like your deep kharaj is slotted too far away from the frets. Yussuf, curved frets allow clearance for the taraf strings and may extend meend range. Without a major redesign of the acoustic sitar there is no way to eliminate curved frets. I am not jawari-walla, as far as actually getting effective jawari for a fretted instrument on a curved bridge I will respectfully refer that question to Tony K. My impression is that such is so difficult as to be impractible or even virtually impossible but maybe the jawari-maestro will say otherwise.
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #7 
nic
I was talking about the height of the string away from the frets.
It really isn't always necessary to bend a note first & THEN play it. As I mentioned, if, say, the first fret is too high when played then I cut the slot a little at a time so as not to have it rattle on any of the first few frets.
I sometimes sell a Kharaj Pancham sitar & I've not had a problem yet with intonation. You also have to be aware of fret bend. Each sitar's frets are a little different but the flatter the better.

Nick
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yussef ali k

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi All. To Fosse:

Thanks 4 replying (I mostly agree). But regarding meend range/fret profile:
This's a bit thoretical - anyway if you sketch a transversal neck cut w/ both types of fret U may be led to notice that at the meend-extreme the string will be at the same point, regardless of fret-profile, so I THINK it's gonna be much the same result.
Since you build instruments, you are in a privileged position to check (& report!-please!) on this.

Have fun doing it (If 1 waits 4 India craftsmen to clear us on these kinds of stuff 1 could B in 4 a long wait ...).
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #9 
Yussuf - no need to check! Although you are absolutely correct that when the MA string is pulled to its extreme limit it is at the identical spot regardless of fret curvature - this is true - you have ignored one aspect: a higher fret (IE more curvature) sits farther away from the neck (higher off of the neck). So the MA (and all strings) are set higher than they would be with a flat(er) fret. This in turn requires the slots in the tar-gahan, and (especially) the jawari bridge to be higher as well. So - even though the MA ends up at the same spot after extreme meend, IT STARTED FROM A HIGHER POINT when the frets have more curvature because the bridge is higher. With more fret curvature (and a higher bridge) the MA will travel a slightly longer distance to the extreme meend point, thereby enhancing meend range, causing a little more stress on the players finger(s) .... and simultaneously making good jawari harder to achieve for extreme meends on the highest frets because the angle of the string (down) becomes more extreme the higher the fret is arched. Make sense?
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #10 
Here's a question...what about the idea of half-arched frets?


Like the upper half of a letter "D"....the curve sloping down on the Ma side, but with a flat profile and a "leg" on the other side. Would it interfere with the chikari? Not as simple to manufacture perhaps.
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yussef ali k

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hi. (GFosse):
Yes, it does make sense: those 3 points (the 2 open str positions + the extreme meend common position) form a triangle in which the biggest side is that between the extr-meend-pos. & the archfret open position. Thanks.

P.S.: Will keep thinking, so don't mind if I bring this back someday, ok?

(Nic N.): Better to get more opinions. For what I exp'd, the less curve there is, the easier it is to make, because they have to be bent into shape.
I'd say a compound radius fretboard could be a good idea if that's what you're suggesting (...it has happened on gtrs!).

Have fun & reply.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #12 
Hey, I just looked at my sitar, and my kharaj string is barely off the first fret...meaning, the targahan is slotted to accomodate the fret curve, with the kharaj going deepest. So I'm not pressing it out of tune to the fret (a phenomenom I've seen on some guitars with brutally high action). If anything I'm doing that up further on the neck as the strings get higher and higher off the fret, which has more to do with the bridge height and position.

So I'm back to an earlier inquiry...all of you with plain old KP sitars...when your open kharaj string is tuned properly to Sa, and you fret that first fret, is it in tune, or is your kRe a little sharp, as it is on mine? I gathered most KP sitars were like this, which is why Tony makes the bass intonation block he sells to folks. I think he even mentioned offering to fit Raviji's sitar with this, if I recall correctly, and he demurred because, well, he's spent the last near century playing to accommodate the quirks of the instrument, no use mucking it up now! Not his words, just what I gathered in my recollection from an old thread.

But reading this thread I'm getting the idea that people think a KP sitar (not even going over to the surbs yet) should, if properly and traditionally made, have proper intonation on the kharaj string, and this "bending up from lower frets" thing I do is compensating for flaws in my instrument, not the inherent flaw (or more kindly, eccentricity) of the design. Am I reading this right?
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #13 
Puzzling problem on your instrument, I would show it to Tony K. As for curved/flat frets, that is more or less how my first Surb (the one in the video) was just built. I put an extra rail on TOP of the rail on the kharaj side, thereby raising that side of the fret higher and creating some relief for this condition. "Tilted" frets if you will, and they are also (by design) flatter than is normal .......
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