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nicneufeld

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So I happened on this page today:
http://teental.free.fr/sitar/?p=89#more-89

Essentially it is an acoustic guitar that has been defretted and restrung as a sort of sarod. Very interesting!

I don't have any spare acoustic guitars, but I do happen to have a cheap Chinese copy of a Gibson Les Paul Junior for which I have no great purpose. Sorry...just realized that I'm not speaking to a guitarist audience...essentially it is a mahogany solid body electric guitar with two magnetic pickups. I also have defretting nippers (having done a couple defretting jobs in the past).

So while I'm not starting on this project immediately, this is what I'm thinking of doing:

1. Defret the instrument. (and try not to crater the fretboard too bad!)

2. Fill in the fret slots with putty or thin veneer strips and epoxy.

3. Using a radius sanding block, sand to a nice smooth radius.

4. Finish the fingerboard surface with something like a teak oil varnish using up to 10 light coats. Also consider epoxy finishing but I'll have to read more about this!

5. Buy a few banjo 5th string bone nuts:
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Nuts,_saddles/Banjo_5th_string_nut/Bone_Banjo_5th_String_Nut.html

6. Mount one bone nut at the 12th fret for the high chikari and one at the 2nd fret. To mount, I'm not sure exactly...maybe just a slight recess using a manual crank drill with an 1/8" bit so that the post fits in, then woodglue or epoxy.

7. If the bone nut at the 12th fret isn't high enough to prevent rattling, perhaps one of those banjo "railroad stakes" that would lock the string down a few frets behind the bone nut, giving better downward tension.

8. Buy and install the following strings in plain steel (unwound):

1 .009 Ma (baj)
2 .011 Sa
3 .014 Pa
4 .018 Low Sa
5 .009 Sa (low chikari)
6 .008 Sa (high chikari)


Finally, test it out...somehow a blend between sarod, electric guitar, fretless guitar, etc. I will be the first to grant that without the steel fingerboard, the unique bridge and hollow body, and the taraf, it is not going to sound much like a sarod, but it could be an interesting instrument to play. I've always wanted to do a fretless guitar, but with the standard guitar tuning, so chord-centered, it always seemed like a limited idea. The sarod tuning of a fretless guitar sounds like a much more interesting instrument to me than a normal EADGBE fretless guitar.
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RichardH

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kalyan

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I did something similar about five years ago. It was on an acoustic 12 string guitar that was sort of a prototype for a sympathetic harp guitar we were making. I did not want to commit to the fret-less style so I made a fingerboard out of ebony that fit on top of the existing fretboard, then raised the nut and the saddle to match. The result sounded very cool having the 12 sitar style sympathetic strings , 3 chicari strings that ran over a small jewari bridge then the sarode like main strings but with acoustic guitar tone. The down side was it being a steel string guitar it needed fairly heavy strings with high tension(compared to sarode) to properly drive the face so it was not super comfortable for the fingernail sarode technique and it left large dents in my nails that interfered with my sarode playing. One thing I really liked was I had an extra low pa string that was a flat wound, when played without the nail it had a great almost stand up bass sound. It was basically like this guitar but fretless
In the end I took off the fingerboard and set it up mohan veena style to loan to a friend who was studying at the AACM. Some day I plan to put it back together as a fret-less but I have not gotten around to it yet. My freind Andrew playes a fretless strat Sarode style that sounds really cool too
Looks like you are on the right track. One thing that you may want to think about is putting the high sa chicari post at the seventh fret so it is the same length as that note on the ma string, it was my initial inclination to put it at the twelfth but I found it a bit short and choked , the 7th worked much better for me.

Kalyan

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Kalyan

goddenmusic.com. musicianmallusa.com facebook.com/goddenmusic
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nicneufeld

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Quote:
Originally Posted by "kalyan"
One thing that you may want to think about is putting the high sa chicari post at the seventh fret so it is the same length as that note on the ma string, it was my initial inclination to put it at the twelfth but I found it a bit short and choked , the 7th worked much better for me.
Good thought! I probably ought to string it up at the time and test with the posts in place just by tension, before drilling and gluing!

I had run across that "Strat-rode" video myself. Sounds lovely. I don't recall picking out any chikari though I wonder what they would sound like!

Sometime this week I may get brave and get out my defret nippers and get this project going.
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nicneufeld

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Frets came out tonight. Beautifully I might add...I doff my hat to the chinese makers of this budget guitar, because they neglected to use glue when installing the frets...resulting in a surprisingly easy defretting process that caused almost no chipping in the rosewood fretboard!

I noted that my wood putty was dried up, but then I saw I had a spool of light coloured "iron on" veneer...basically ultra thin wood veneer with a heat-to-set glue backing. The wood without the glue was the perfect width for the fret slots. So the most painstaking process here was to remove the glue from enough of the veneer to get 22 or so fret fillers...which I have now glued into place with wood glue. I'll let it set overnight, then tomorrow or whenever next I can get to it, I'll cut away the extras, and start sanding to get a nice smooth surface on the fretboard...once there, then its finishing time! Teak oil is what I'm intending to use..supposed to be a tough varnish blend suitable for oily woods like rosewood.

On the plus side using light coloured wood veneers instead of my dark wood putty is going to give me nicely visible position indicator lines!
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #6 
Lofi first image:
http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2/nicneufeld/sarod/veneers.jpg

Veneers are glued in, ready for trimming, sanding to radius, then finishing.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #7 
Another lofi process pic:

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2/nicneufeld/sarod/veneers2.jpg

Trimmed the veneers off with a utility knife, sanded down to the fretboard. Didn't really worry about the radius block because I took off relatively little fretboard wood and it is already radiused. First layer of Watco teak oil is soaking in, in the pic. Perhaps epoxy would've given me a better, harder fingerboard, but I can always strip and refinish the fingerboard if this proves unworkable. Going to keep applying this oil very lightly, buffing with 0000 steel wool in between coats.

PS, this is never going to be a beautiful instrument...its been a cheap $100 beater guitar for a while, from which I've borrowed parts and experimented. The back of the neck is sanded down to raw maple, just for grins, and not very prettily. But hopefully despite its ugly duckling status it will prove to be an interesting instrument as a fretless faux-sarod.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #8 
OK, here she is:

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2/nicneufeld/sarod/sarod.jpg

Tuned main strings to C, SPSM. Chikaris tuned with Sa and high Pa (could quite get the note up to the super high sa without risking broken strings).

I recorded a quick little demo of first impressions to an mp3 file, but I'll have to suss out a good mp3 host.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #9 
Crappy first impressions with and without distortion...


All in all, a fun project. If I did it again, I might do a lower tuned fretless baritone as the wound lower strings definitely sustain better than the high unwound strings do on a rosewood fingerboard.
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aparajit

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi,

Check out my posts...I built one from scratch with a metal plate. It has a Gk-2A hex pick up. We have released a CD which is on CD-baby and you can hear some samples on facebook as well. Search for atoms in eve.

Also, I am glad I did not see your post earlier or I might have deterred you from your experiment since I have done this myself once before. Action needed to reduce buzzing is way too high.

Cheers!
Apu
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Kazem Ziaebrahimi

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Reply with quote  #11 
Circa 1997ish

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