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mangataot

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi All,

I just changed a pudi and it took many hours and a lot of pulling to get it to pitch. It was worth it because I now have a great sounding drum. Aside from what I was intending to talk about here, I have found that Calcutta skins seem to take a lot more pulling. Is that because they are thinner and tend to do a lot more stretching before they settle I wonder? Often the holes above the gajra can widen where stretch happens which doesn't look great but it doesn't cause any issues as far as I know.

Anyway, getting back to the point.. I have found that some syahis can be very hard and shiny and will not get sticky to the touch. Usually most benaras pudis are like this. Ones I've found in Bombay are usually like this too. Talc doesn't tend to stick to them unless you add extra moisture through a sweaty hand or from the environment. Other ones can be quite the opposite. They are less shiny and have a slightly sticky feel. Talc will stick and black will come off on your fingers and end up smudging onto the maidan very easily. I seem to have one of the latter this time round. I wonder why this is.

Another variable quality is the squeakiness! Some syahis will squeak if you don't use talc and others will be totally silent.

Anyone have any theories to offer on this topic?

M.

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VNO Design

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Reply with quote  #2 
The main reason for the differences in look is the composition of the mix and the method of polishing as it dries. Sweeping strokes with a narrow stone will produce finer "crystals" than heavy pressure with a wide blunt stone. The glossy or matte finish as you are seeing is mainly what goes into the mix. It's common for the Bombay makers to use tree gum in the mix which gives that hard gloss shine. The part about all of this that gets me is how inconsistent the whole operation is. There are no real measurements taken or logged, no standards, and no control other than the maker and how he feels that day. I've watched many of them work and it's pretty much all the same. One of the ways bad batches occur when one of the non-controlled materials has an anomaly which almost always goes unnoticed by the maker. Humidity is also a known factor, but making Tabla in a controlled humidity environment is unheard of in India.

With regards to some needing more or less pulling, you're right, it has to do with the thickness of the hide and at what pitch the gab was applied.

Hope this helps,

-David

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sohummusicals

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Posts: 601
Reply with quote  #3 
The proportion of Glue to Syahi Masala plays an important role in grain formation of the Syahi.
the more the glue the bigger the grains and texture goes uneven, It kills the sustain totally. Lesser glue will not let the maker do the work properly and the syahi will come off while making, so it has to be a well balanced mixture. Applying thin layers of syahi and polishing them with less pressure then gradually increasing the pressure on the stone helps get fine and even grains. If a craftsman tries to apply thicker syahi layers to fasten the work, what you get is a syahi with big cracks which won't sound good at all.
The ingredients defer from place to place for example Kolkata pudis use Glue made from Rice and they use a totally different technique compared to Bombay/Pune Tabla Makers. Here on the western side of India we all (Including Mumbai tabla makers) use only Maida (White Flour), one that is used for making Cakes and pastries. Nobody uses Tree Gum and Saras(Glue made from animal Bones) nowadays as it kills the sustain of the pudi, though it is used as the best sticking agent in industry.
The Tightening of the pudi before syahi application is the most important part.After mounting the pudi, If you are unable to press the skin at the center with a finger then its considered the right tension for syahi application. IF you try applying syahi on a loose pudi, the finished product won't sound good at all. so all in all it comes down to the pudi, how well the skin is stretched evenly and what kind of skin has been used to make the pudi. Kolkata skins basically are very thin compared to Mumbai/Bombay pudis , a Kolkata maker cannot work on Bombay pudis and Bombay tabla maker cannot work on a Kolkata pudi, for instance, 5 years back when i visited Jeevan Kakade, who is the uncle of Somnath Kakade, he was telling me, someone brought kolkata pudis at his workshop and he tried to rehead them , He used Pune Tasma(Vadi/Strap) for it. When he started pulling the straps, the gajra went lower and lower and ripped off from the Holes of the skin. Bombay pudis need Straps made in Pune, which are basically made from Buffalo Hide and are way stronger than the one that is used with kolkata pudis.
-U
Quote:
Originally Posted by "mangataot"
Hi All,

I just changed a pudi and it took many hours and a lot of pulling to get it to pitch. It was worth it because I now have a great sounding drum. Aside from what I was intending to talk about here, I have found that Calcutta skins seem to take a lot more pulling. Is that because they are thinner and tend to do a lot more stretching before they settle I wonder? Often the holes above the gajra can widen where stretch happens which doesn't look great but it doesn't cause any issues as far as I know.

Anyway, getting back to the point.. I have found that some syahis can be very hard and shiny and will not get sticky to the touch. Usually most benaras pudis are like this. Ones I've found in Bombay are usually like this too. Talc doesn't tend to stick to them unless you add extra moisture through a sweaty hand or from the environment. Other ones can be quite the opposite. They are less shiny and have a slightly sticky feel. Talc will stick and black will come off on your fingers and end up smudging onto the maidan very easily. I seem to have one of the latter this time round. I wonder why this is.

Another variable quality is the squeakiness! Some syahis will squeak if you don't use talc and others will be totally silent.

Anyone have any theories to offer on this topic?

M.
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mangataot

Registered:
Posts: 100
Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks for these considered replies, guys.
Very interesting indeed.
This answers a lot of my questions.
I can't see a huge difference in the straps between Benaras and Kolkata tablas - at least the ones I have here.
I do remember having a big dayan from Bombay once which had really heavy duty fat tasma.
I found it really hard to tune. It was really unresponsive.
Having got my tabla sounding pretty good I'm now thinking I'm going to have to restrap because it is quite unbalanced.
The trauma of all the pulling ended up with some chaos in my strap tensions!

M.

__________________
**Marc Clayton**
http://www.TABLALAB.COM
TALACLASS and RIYAZ APPs out now for iPad.
Try them out at Tablalab.com
http://www.mecaudio.co.uk
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