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petergam

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Reply with quote  #1 
I've just bought my first surbahar, following many years as a part-time amateur sitarist. I understand that the general pitch can vary around G#/Ab, going a few notes higher or lower. Could anyone give me the pitches, using stave notation, of the 7 main strings? At the moment, I have all the strings at either Ab and Eb, with 3 different octaves. The main string is Db. It seems odd that two of my strings are tuned to exactly the same note. Stave notation would be very helpful, since it identifies the octaves. Thank you.
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Tomek Regulski

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hello Peter- congratulations on your new surbahar! What kind did you get? 

I have been playing for almost 2.5 years (also coming from years of sitar study), and it has been a very rewarding experience. 

Are you comfortable referencing octave numbers? If so, here is how you should tune it, with Sa = A-flat, and let's call middle C on the Piano C4. 

1st String: D-flat 3
2nd String: A-flat 2
3rd String: E-flat 2
4th String: A-flat 1
5th String: E-flat 3
6th String: A-flat 3
7th String: A-flat 4

If this system is strange to you, then I can respond a bit later with it all jotted down on a staff. 
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petergam

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you very much for such a clear reply. It's exactly what I need! The instrument is made by "Bina Musical Stores". It's not a top range instrument but I'm a 4th rate surbahar player, so it's good enough!

I'm puzzled by the 4th string Ab 1 pitch because the string seems too loose to be able to really cope with this pitch (it buzzes badly and isn't at all sonorous). I suspect the gauge is incorrect but I don't really know what gauge I need to ask for from the shop (like everyone else, we're in lock-down in the UK and I don't think they have access to specialists). What gauge should this string be please?
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Tomek Regulski

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Reply with quote  #4 
Sure thing, happy to help. 

So, for this fourth string, is it basically a thick bronze wire? aka does the setup on your surbahar mimic that of a kharaj pancham sitar, just with thicker gauges? Let me know, and then I'll do my best to help figure out the solution. 
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petergam

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Reply with quote  #5 
It looks the same as the 2nd string - bright copper colour and feels the same thickness. The other strings are either bright silver or just dark. I'm afraid I don't know enough to answer your question about kharaj pancham.
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katyrow

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Reply with quote  #6 
The fourth wire is usually in the range of .046" or .048"  Some surbahars sound better with a nickel flat wound wire in that position.   
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by petergam
Thank you very much for such a clear reply. It's exactly what I need! The instrument is made by "Bina Musical Stores". It's not a top range instrument but I'm a 4th rate surbahar player, so it's good enough!

I'm puzzled by the 4th string Ab 1 pitch because the string seems too loose to be able to really cope with this pitch (it buzzes badly and isn't at all sonorous). I suspect the gauge is incorrect but I don't really know what gauge I need to ask for from the shop (like everyone else, we're in lock-down in the UK and I don't think they have access to specialists). What gauge should this string be please?


If it's really flopping around try a .040 inch bronze or brass. I've seen them as thin as .036 inch, just depends on what the particular instrument does best with.

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petergam

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thank you for your guidance Tomek, Katy and Lars. I've messaged the shop I bought it from (in London, England) and hope to sort the issue.
Peter
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