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povster

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have short thumbs. "How short are they?" They're so short ... oops, wrong venue!

Anyway, I find my thumb resting constantly on the chicari strings regardless of the way I position my thumb. I can clear the chicaris but with an unnatural arch that is not conducive to proper stroking techniques. I have tried a few sitars and luckily it seems less on my main instrument (the seductive Hiren) but is still there none the less.

Anyone else suffering from this condition? I have been giving it some thought and am wondering on the advisability of making some sort of raised area along the bone where the thumb lies, allowing me to clear the chicaris but still maintain proper stroking technique.

Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? Done such a thing? Laughed at such a thing?

Other suggestions would also be most welcome. (No, I have already looked into a thumb implant and it just won't do!) :wink:

I thank you.

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Andius

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Povster

Had the same problem when i first got my sitar. Chikaris way out of the side of the neck because the main bridge was too far to the left side of the tabli (when looking at it face on). I just moved the bridge more toward the centre of the tabli (to the right as you face it). This moved the chikaris in by about quarter inch, so my thumb no longer touches them. Such repositioning is another reason I dont stick/peg/fix my bridges.

Before I repositioned the bridge, gently tapped on the tabli to findthe most responsive "sweet" spot, and lo and behold it was just where I intended to place it, so improved sound as well solving chikari/thumb problem. Of course each tabli is different, but hope this helps.
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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #3 
I had this happen on a cheap student sitar many years ago. Andius solution works- moving the bridge. On that one, there was a problem with the chikari posts angling out a little and causing the strings to be too far from the neck, which would cause the same difficulty in clearing them. Check to see if that is the case, as they can be redrilled and set straighter up and down. I would highly doubt that to be the case on a HR though. I must say that a couple of Indian players I have seen don't particularly have large hands or long thumbs and it may just be the old practice, practice, practice, that will solve the problem., assuming the sitar is set up correctly.
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #4 
Ok POV foist of all quit reading unintelligible novels by Kundera. Nobody gets the pun!!!
Second my problem is the opposite, I have to tape my thumb to my wrist and Thoidly what he said, pratice practice practice.
I find that the arching movement facilitates playing melodies without striking the drone strings as well as making diri diri strokes on the chikaris cleaner. What the f*** do I know? Neti Neti. I return to "A Hundred Years of Babatude".

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #5 
AbdulLatif,
I wish you too would refrain from tsecret Sanskrit references such as Foistly and Thoidly, and stick to English for the Commoner. What you say about arching the hand so that the mizrab is more "free" is interesting. There is a common mode of thought that says that on the da stroke the mizrab should rest against the Sa string, ready for the ra stroke. However there is also a method by which the mizrab can be more free and go up and down without striking any other strings at all. Howver, although this seems to me to give a better fluency (i.e. speed) it also seems that it is harder to get much power and volume this way, as less of the mizrab avctually strikes the playing string. I'd like to hear others thoughts on this. For me, the challenge when plucking at fast tempo is not hitting the other strings too hard as to cover up the main string.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #6 
I noticed this situation in extreme some years back when the new stock of RR sitars had the bridges shoved over 1/2" or more. The idea, it seems, is to get more meend room for the first string without widening the neck. Great for the first string but obviously is a partial vacuum for the chikari.
Resetting the bridges as mentioned above should fix the problem. Keep in mind the reduced meendability. If you just cannot reset the bridges, you might try shifting all the strings over one position. This may require widening a few slots to accomodate the new tenants, especially if kharaj strings are in the mix. This would also require cutting a slot for the newly relocated first string. Again, keep in mind the meend range. Study your situation long and hard before taking any action.
I considered building a baffle strip to provide clearance for the thumb. The theory is sound but just seemed to be more trouble than worth at the time. There may even be some playing techniques that require deadening the chikari with the thumb. Not my area!!!
With my oversizes paws "they are so big, they - - -", I would have needed to build a raised block 2" out for my thumb. This would have allowd my mizrab fingers knuckle to then sit correctly over the first string as pointed out by the great one - RS. and so ended reserved time to actually learn from him.

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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yo sitarman, Soitonly, no more foist or thoid.
I picked up the arched hand position from my Ustad. He used various positions for different reasons. Its good to have a full tool chest.
The arched hand does cut the volume so the tarafs need to be spot on and the mizrab strokes need to be timed to the taraf resonance and overtones to achieve extra volume. You'll notice that attack affects the rythm of the tarafs they are cool when the attack is used to sound them and the harmonic series to generate counter melodies. A well tuned tamboura helps also, a real one not an ETM (no volume adjustment on the fly)
It also makes real sweet quiet passages at low volume while playing in fast tempos (no drowning out by the drones.) I use it so in fast Jhalla I don't need to use the string hooks. I use the hooks other times, especially if playing with a guitar, oud, etc where the drones would overpower or clash with the "key"
I also mentioned the diri diri diri +- strokes on the jawari. the "arched" attack allows interesting rythmic interplay and on "Nevermore" melodic spice (4 chikaris,1 for Vadi) without hitting any drones.
Back to "A Hundred Years of Attitude",
The BoBster

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povster

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "AbdulLatif"
Ok POV foist of all quit reading unintelligible novels by Kundera. Nobody gets the pun!!!
Second my problem is the opposite, I have to tape my thumb to my wrist and Thoidly what he said, pratice practice practice.
I find that the arching movement facilitates playing melodies without striking the drone strings as well as making diri diri strokes on the chikaris cleaner. What the f*** do I know? Neti Neti. I return to "A Hundred Years of Babatude".
Did you just call yourself a nobody??? I'll read on MacDuff and post further at the end.

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povster

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Reply with quote  #9 
Well thanks to everyone that responded.

Well here's the thang. My finger positioning really hasn't changed but in the instruments I used to play (a custom Naskar, an old teak Hemen and a more modern Hemen) this problem never occured. I did cultivate a good arch but the arch I have to do now is really unnatural.

In measuring the distance from the edge of the thumb rest, the high sa chicari extends 3/8" past the rest. Seems pretty far away from the rest visually, more than 3/8" would suggest. The strings ride about 1" above the rest.

I saw the posts about moving the bridge and that is a possibility. Also about shifting string porition and checking post position (Seabicuit by three lengths in the far turn!)

Whatever I decide I will post the results. Thanks again!

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povster

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Reply with quote  #10 
I noticed this situation in extreme some years back when the new stock of RR sitars had the bridges shoved over 1/2" or more. The idea, it seems, is to get more meend room for the first string without widening the neck. Great for the first string but obviously is a partial vacuum for the chikari.

Hey Tony! With the bridges moved over that much how about the nut? Would simply moving the bridge further from the chicaris also impact the lay of the string unless the nut were moved or recut to accomodate?

Thankz!

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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #11 


Yep! nobodaddy thinking no thing in da middle o nowhere. Me and my dog TotVamasi.

Sitarman! Just to clarify my meaning when I say arched. The hand is in an arched position but I'd say the analogy is to think of a cobras head, the palm is the hood while the mizrab finger is like the cobra striking. The mizrab is directed in a short ark, down to the string and then pulled up on the Da stroke and down and then pulled up and out on the Ra. You still keep the weight of the hand involved also or the sound is too thin.
PoV...Your gonna have to go with an extension prosthetic or surgery, you may be the first sitar wallah to ever attract a groupie. What size shoes you wear? :wink:

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povster

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Reply with quote  #12 
The mizrab is directed in a short ark,

So Mister Abdul, isn't that the boat Noah built first but then realized he could only fit one of each animal in it?

As for my show siize? Only my podiatrist knows for sure!

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #13 
It seems that picking with the index finger pointed right at the 1st string, in other words, the index finger mor bent than if it were angled so it would rest on the sa after strinking the 1st, very little of the mizrab would strike the string, only the tip actually. This would undoubtedly increase speed but volume is very weak like that. Maybe it is har to describe and I am misinterpreting your technique.
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "povster"
The mizrab is directed in a short ark,

So Mister Abdul, isn't that the boat Noah built first but then realized he could only fit one of each animal in it?As for my show siize? Only my podiatrist knows for sure!
Nahhh Noah had a short ark for animals without thumbs.

Sitarman, yeah its hard to explain. Read my earlier post about tarafs etc. It is a quieter technique overall. I'll send you a short vid. The force of the hand is still in play.

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #15 
A video would be very informative. Thanks.
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