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SitarMac

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hey ya'll-
I'm not asking for advice-I'm gonna give my thoughts on this. I'll keep it brief. I have now had the absolute luxury to have my Geetanjali Sitar as well as my Hiren Roy for the past couple of months now and I have to make my feelings known. The Hiren Roy that jimmy-Da gave me is really a museum piece, and I love it dearly....A real Hiren Roy sound that never disappoints me. But the Geetanjali's depth and timbre is just over the top incredible.....But why?? I really think that it has something to do with Teak. I don't know how many performing artists perform with teak Sitars, but I think that I am definantly on Tony-Da's ship when it comes to being an advocate of teak wood. I get at least a 3-4 second longer sustain on my Geetanjali, and while the Geetanjali is heavier than the Hiren Roy, somehow you can feel the actual vibrations and such resonating all through the Sitar. I get this with some degree with the Hiren Roy, but it can't match the Geetanjali. Almost like you can feel life rushing through every grain.....coming to life you might say. I also can't help but wonder if maybe its because of these synthetic bridges. I am going to remove the bone bridges from my Hiren Roy and replace them with synths and see if there is a notable difference in the Hiren Roy.

I am certainly one of the luckiest Sitar players out there as far as Sitars go.....I've always had good quality, good sounding instruments, but none were ever teak, and the more I'm playing the Geetanjali, the more I'm thinking that this really is the best kind of wood. Again, I don't have any real experience with teak, so this may be just the initial feeling of something different that tempers with time....but man, it just really seems to go with the Sitar. Any response welcome!!

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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #2 
yo MacDaDa,
Have you played a vintage teak sitar? Nevermore is mahogany and I've always liked the warmth, something teak owners say takes a few years to coax from the instrument. Your comments about Geetanjalis total vibration is interesting to me. Nevermore does the same and has a loooong sustain I tried an intellitouch tuner on every conceivable point and its all viberating. Tony or Sanjay would know but I wonder if their have been some carving and soundchamber innovations that have given these axes such long sustain and decay? I know Nevermore feels heavier than any of my previous sitars and has a wider neck. The new accepted D tuning for the drones would call for a more solid construction overall, so maybe its a combination of a few different elements. Of course all being equal I have a feeling the teak will sound like a marshall stack as it matures!!
As an aside, last week I played a morning raga ending the tihai on the vadi ghandarva, the sustain was incredible and continued as I put the cloth cover over her. I then went to town, a 4 hour round trip, when I returned the Ghandarva taraf was still ringing and seemed to have increased in volume. Much to my surprise my Chihuahua was in the music room in full lotus position and levitating almost 2 feet off the ground. This was amazing as my Chihuahua has a thyroid condition that has made him quite obese and I thought his levitating days were over. Has anything like this happened to anyone else?

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #3 
Abdul, absolutely! My two parrots both sing the sargam for yaman whenever I play my MPS with the synthetic bridge I had done last year. I know that purists get a little bent when I say this, but the warmth, volume, etc. with that new bridge was noticeably better. I have a question for the woodworking experts- I have an HR that is much darker (visually) than my MPS but I was told that they are both Tun wood. Is there a way to distinguish tun from teak?
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #4 
hi,

i can appreciate that you like the synthetic jawari, but i for one don't. i find they sound thin, don't project, and just make the instrument sound cheeper. no depth or character.

about teak:

do you know of any ustads or pandits who play teak?

ND

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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #5 
My teacher, Irshad Khan, plays teak

Just a thought thought: although they type of wood may have something to do with sustain, I can't help feeling that the alignment of the bridge, placement and type of strings, and curvature of the bridge have a greater influence. I don't have any proof of this, but I play a teak Hiren Roy (VK style) c.1993 and when I took it for a complete overhaul at Sangeet Kutir in Bombay last year I was getting about 3-4 seconds longer sustain and far greater depth of tone. Mr. Sharma did an amazing job on the jawari - it's lasted me a full year, and that's with heavy playing. It's only now just starting to lose it's character... time for another trip to Bombay

I think the only way we would know for sure whether the type of wood was a factor would be if we took two identical sitars, with identical jawaris, that differed only in wood and measured the sustain.
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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #6 
So how do you tell teak from tun if you are just looking at an instrument?
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neela sangeeta

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Reply with quote  #7 
Please correct me if I am wrong, but it was my understanding that most sitars used to be teak, until recent times(last 30-40 years) when the wood became rarer and they switched to tun. And the best teak wood also needed to be aged which is why old parts of houses in Bengal are so prized(by sitar makers) for there aged teak wood.

Neel
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "sitarman"
So how do you tell teak from tun if you are just looking at an instrument?
Yea how do you tell? Also is Tun a real mahogany like the S. American wood or is it actually a sub species of teak, something I've heard before??

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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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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #9 
hi all,

you can tell teak from tun because of the grain. teak has a much wider grain, hard to discribe, but just look at it enough and you'll be able to recognize it. its also a more oily wood. on the teak sitars ive played, the pegs feel totally differnt in the holes, i assume because of the oily wood. tun is basically an indian mahogany. it is different in a few small ways than american mohagany, but the differences are small. for most purposes, its just a type of mahogany.

peace and fret grease,

nd

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #10 
SO THERE IS NO COLOR DIFFERENCE? OR IS THAT IRRELEVENT BECAUSE THE WOOD IS STAINED BEFORE IT IS FINISHED? MY HR IS CONSIDERABLY DARKER, EVEN THE TUNING PEGS.
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TK

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Reply with quote  #11 
In my experience, one of the problems with identifying the sitar by it's color is the fact that most sitars have some stain or color applied to the wood. If you could see the raw, unfinished wood, tun has more of a red-brown color, whereas teak has a more golden-brown, or orange-brown color.
The pegs are usually made from rosewood, sometimes ebony, which of course is usually really dark brown, almost black.
Tk

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