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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #1 
hello folks,

I always wondered why the tabli, being such an important element in defining the sound of a sitar, is so intrusively decorated. Don't the carvings and other glued decorations added to the tabli have any influence ?
If somebody with a knowledge of lutherie could shed some light on that , that would be great.


samy
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #2 
samy

Sitar tablii, if made correctly, should take into account any extra 'bits' on its surface. IF MADE CORRECTLY. An instrument will/should mature as it gets older. Even a crap one should sound better, not necessarily good but better, as it ages & the wood dries.

'Intrusively decorated'.
Does one prefer the VK style, as I do BTW? With very little, if any, decoration.

I have a 45 year old instrument that has no room for any more 'elaboration' and sounds superb. That could be an age thing though.
Having said that, I just bought a black VK style that, as Tony K will testify on its visit to his place in Pune late last 2005, sounds very nice even now & is less than a year old.

As I previously mentioned on another post, it's not unheard of for a tabli to be opened up, ie the gourd removed, to be altered even after many years.

Tony K will no doubt give the best answer to this as he actually deals with this subject personally.

Nick
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Nick,
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
Does one prefer the VK style, as I do BTW? With very little, if any, decoration.
I have a RS style, and I really like its sounds, but it's too decorated for my taste, so I also prefer the sober aesthetic of the VK style, which has much more character.

I hope Tony K or others can give some technical insight

thanks for the answer

samy
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hello Samy,I've wondered about the same thing. I agree with the diskenetic primate. A good craftsman will take the decoration into account when tap tuning the tabli and I think it may even add to the bass response. My sitar has the decoration added as an applique and I've wondered if the mass being glued to the surfface of the tabli allows the sound to transmit more regularlyacross the grain of the wood underneath. The applique technique has been used traditionally mine was built this way to allow for a contrasting wood to be used as a decorative motif.
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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #5 
This is a fascinating topic, especially for someone with very little knowledge of instrument building- like me. However, it seems just common physics that a piece of wood will vibrate easier, under the same influence (same guasge strings) with less mass attached to it. Am I incorrect? So I would think that the lighter, the more vibration. As for tone change, that would be a subjective thing as some might like the effect of the heavier tabli in terms of tone. Maybe the less decorated gayaki style sitar tabli evolved from more than asthetic preferences? There have also been posts in the past about the little holes drilled into most of the instruments I have seen- HR or MPS, etc. around the decorations near the bridge. The sitar has less "hole" area on it's top than any wooden instrument I know of- guitar, violin, cello, etc. Why? Sorry for wandering!
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #6 
From bare boned subjects of wartime austerity to tricked out La Bombized Highland Ave. delights, tablis work when tap tested to the ears satisfaction. The shop rats in Miraj pass each one around to three or more of the senior staff and do the Bo Jangles knuckle shuffle all over the wood. When everybody likes the effect of the soundboard, it gets signed,dated and glued on. (hide glue optional) !! I suppose a perfectly smooth soundboard would get the sound across a bit better. Setting up an 'O' scope would be an interesting project. I would also like to see how an internally braced sitka spruce tabli would work. Probably produce a very 'light' sound. There must be websites that deal with this topic. Dealing with the traditionals and the market, there is no room currently to further explore such a project. Figure, though, the tabli has been tested with the carving, to whatever degree, and with a good response is on board for the duration.
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #7 
As Tony states very ablely, the Maharastran sitars that we carry come heavily carved and inlaid and I can tell you that they are the best sounding and loudest sitars of all of the bunch. They all have different tonal qualities, of course, but these are very loud and have a wonderful tone to them.

Bharat
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shagird

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Reply with quote  #8 
Decoration adds mass, more mass would need more energy to produce same level of sound as an "undecorated" tabli, I would assume. However the greater mass would mean less resonance and therefore greater clarity :?

Hey AbdulLatif, should we then agree that a sitar sounds best when it is a) fully decorated and b) is played at the bottom of the pool (no harm to the fish)?
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "shagird"
Decoration adds mass, more mass would need more energy to produce same level of sound as an "undecorated" tabli, I would assume. However the greater mass would mean less resonance and therefore greater clarity :?

Hey AbdulLatif, should we then agree that a sitar sounds best when it is a) fully decorated and b) is played at the bottom of the pool (no harm to the fish)?
I'll let ya know!! I do know that archtop instruments and violin family instruments are carved on the backside of the top plate to acheive desired resonances and to eliminate wolf tones. A thicker mass generally accents the bass registers in much the same way as the "gob" in the center of a tabla skin does. I have very little experience with gayaki type sitars other than the first sitar I owned, but the abscence of a kharaj string seems to point to an effort to emphasis the mid and upper range, while the RS style sitars are better suited to the low register alaps.
I'm getting my snorkel now.

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"Words are said to have a delusive nature (Mahamaya Matrika) because the word itself, although it may contain a reference to an object is often surrounded by clusters or Kulas of lesser Shaktis...."
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