INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Tabla Forum: thickness of the pudi

 

Author Message
Devi
thickness of the pudi Mar 27, 2003 10:13 p.m.


Touched on this in a previous post, but I was hoping for a more definitive answer. What is the ideal thickness of the pudi? Are there advantages to a thin pudi to offset (what I have experienced as) a tendency to be floppy and fragile? Does a thicker pudi generally mean a duller sound?
It's hard to disappoint a pessimist.
Shawn
Re:thickness of the pudi Mar 28, 2003 09:25 a.m.


Hi,

I think everyone has their own idea as to what's the ideal pudi. For people who play Delhi baj, I would think that they would prefer thin skins. I've heard people say things like "so sensitive that you can blow on it and hear the sound." For a pudi to be that sensitive, it would have to be quite thin.

Now on the other hand, Benares style tablas have thicker skins. And, I would not say that they sound dull at all. They have a thicker, earthier sound with more "body" to it.

Of course, it's not just about the thickness of the skin; it's also the QUALITY of the skin and the quality, size, and thickness of the syahi.


Shawn
http://www.percussionist.net
aanadha
Re:thickness of the pudi Mar 28, 2003 12:24 p.m.


Right, Shawn. Other factors include the weight, size and density of the shell, and the weight of the straps and the amount of tension they deliver to the puddi. ( I've just seen two otherwise beautiful tablas crack wide open like an egg from top to bottom because the shells were improperly seasoned) Also, you would be amazed to discover how many styles of tablas there really are both inside and outside of the Benares and Calcutta standards. I've also seen some really funky looking drums that look like they'd been through hell but sounded like they were made in heaven.
As I've said before, it really pays to look around and compare as many tablas as you can to find the one or more that suits you, be patient, and to play the instrument before choosing one.
I'd also recommend David's book on tabla repair and maintenance - even if you have no interest in repairing your own tablas the book will pay for itself over and over again in the knowledge you will have in purchasing and evaluating your instruments.

Aanaddha


Shawn (Mar 28, 2003 09:25 a.m.):
Hi,

I think everyone has their own idea as to what's the ideal pudi. For people who play Delhi baj, I would think that they would prefer thin skins. I've heard people say things like "so sensitive that you can blow on it and hear the sound." For a pudi to be that sensitive, it would have to be quite thin.

Now on the other hand, Benares style tablas have thicker skins. And, I would not say that they sound dull at all. They have a thicker, earthier sound with more "body" to it.

Of course, it's not just about the thickness of the skin; it's also the QUALITY of the skin and the quality, size, and thickness of the syahi.


Mr.Prafulla Athalye.
Re:thickness of the pudi Mar 30, 2003 10:21 a.m.


Devi,

Nice questions. If you ask me my opinion, I can say that the thickness of the leather to be used for the skin should be medium.The advantage of thin skin is that it is very sharp and crispy but at the same time it is too fragile.Fragile in the sense that it is not at all durable and is dangerous to use in a concert as it may break at any time.Regarding thick skin,it is durable but there cann't be a long resonance.So, it becomes difficult while playing in a concert as you really have to hit it hard to get a sound and for that you have to waste a lot of energee.So,ultimately you get tired after some time.But if you are using the skin of the medium thickness,then it is durable also and sounds nice.Offcourse this is my experience.Also the sound of the tabla skin depends on how the work has been done,structure of the wood,quality of the wood,etc.Anyway,I hope my explaination gave you answers of all your questions.Take care,

Prafulla Athalye.
http://www.tabla-player.com

Devi
Re:thickness of the pudi Apr 01, 2003 02:52 p.m.


My thanks to everyone for the replies!

Does anyone know where I can get a bayan head on the thick side (via the internet)? I have two bayans with thin heads and I'd like to replace the head on the floppier of these with a thicker pudi.

aanaddha
Re:thickness of the pudi Apr 01, 2003 10:27 p.m.


Devi,
IMHO, www.silverbushmusic.com/ has two 'Bombay-style' heads available via internet. One is $30. - it's an ok. head, a little on the thin side, easy to work with, but only comes in one tuning - a 5 and 1/4" size won't sound all that great unless it's pulled to like a D or higher. Also, since it is on the thin side I wouldn't put a real heavy strap on it - a brand new 'Bombay' strap also available from silverbush ($25.) in my estimation is too heavy for this head and will give you problems breaking in. Silverbush's "Vishnu" head ($60. !? available in various tunings,) is about the heaviest head on the market but is also VERY difficult to work with especially for anyone who hasn't replaced a lot of puddi's. It's a well-made product and should last a long time but don't expect it to have that long clean sustain you may be used to from a thinner head until it's in it's prime - it'll take months to break in. You also may want to get in touch with other suppliers such as www.sitarsetc.com , Gabe Halberg - the Vermont tabla/nylon strap guy, or www.peshkar.com/service in India to compare products and prices. Let us know how you fare, please.
ps. I've seen some real excellent heads from Pune that are Bombay style but with a thinner chat but I don't know to get in touch with the people who make them (Nissar Sheik (?))

aanaddha

aanaddha
Re:thickness of the pudi Apr 01, 2003 10:32 p.m.


Oops, sorry, I just realized you were asking about "bayan" heads not dahina. Anyway try those sources and see what gives.

A.

Devi
Re:thickness of the pudi Apr 03, 2003 10:34 p.m.


Well, the next thing I was going to do was see if Gabe would be willing to rehead my tabla with a head I send with it (instead of his own). I guess I shouldn't try to do it myself...
It's hard to disappoint a pessimist.
Warren
Re:thickness of the pudi Apr 05, 2003 12:04 p.m.


Devi don't replace the puddi yourself . I have replaced a lot of puddis and I can tell you it took a long time to get to the point where I could replace a puddi and get a great sounding drum. Also it's ridiculous to make a big investment in replacing a puddi, if someone like Gabe can fix your drum and you can keep the costs down to about $75 go for it but if you have to spend more then 75 it's better to buy a new drum.
Don't go buying a puddi from one person and paying someone else to do the labor because if they screw it up they'll just say that it was bad and you'll be out of luck.
When you send someone your drum let them know that you expect the drum to sound good when you get it back , no buzz , no chips in the gab etc. That way you have some guarantee. And there are few people like Gabe that might buy your broken drum so you can recoup a little money to buy a new one instead. or save your shell and at some point an oppurtunity may come up where you can get the puddi replaced inexpensivily .


Devi (Apr 03, 2003 10:34 p.m.):
Well, the next thing I was going to do was see if Gabe would be willing to rehead my tabla with a head I send with it (instead of his own). I guess I shouldn't try to do it myself...
aanaddha
Re:thickness of the pudi Apr 06, 2003 10:58 a.m.


[quote]Warren (Apr 05, 2003 12:04 p.m.):
Devi don't replace the puddi yourself . I have replaced a lot of puddis and I can tell you it took a long time to get to the point where I could replace a puddi and get a great sounding drum. Also it's ridiculous to make a big investment in replacing a puddi, if someone like Gabe can fix your drum and you can keep the costs down to about $75 go for it but if you have to spend more then 75 it's better to buy a new drum... "

I see Warren's point but I don't necessarily agree. You wouldn't buy a new guitar if the one you had was out of tune or had a broken string, nor unless you were very wealthy or very famous would you pay to have someone tune or re-string your guitar. But guitars and tablas are different... to a point.
However, before you discard a good tabla because you don't like the sound of it check to see if: 1. It needs tuning. Learning to tune a tabla is a skill that every student should learn somewhere along with their bol production and their first kaida. 2. The straps need to be pulled. A 5" inch puddi will unlikely provide anything worth hearing lower than a D or D sharp. A 5 1/4" dayan will often need to be pulled to a D or D sharp to sound it's best depending on the shape of the gob and the make of the puddi. Not any tabla can be tuned to a C sharp and sound good, in fact, finding the perfect C sharp dahina is like finding gold! 3. If your tabla is buzzing, and before you discard it, check to see if there aren't any foreign particles that have slipped beneath the chat. Replace the thread if there is one beneath the chat and it has flattened out or doubled-up. I use a new .009 steel guitar string cut to size. It's easier to replace and makes a nice clean circle underneath the chat to a point that it's fits snug just over the inside edge of the rim and doesn't move around.
Having said that, is it possible that somone with a website would be willing to provide an ad page for people who would like to sell their unused or broken instrument to help defray the cost of purchasing a new instrument? Or, to buy an unused instrument for less than it would cost at a retailer? Perhaps someone in your part of the world has a good tabla set they are willing to buy or sell and you could actually see what you're getting. It would be a shame see otherwise good tablas sitting in a corner collecting dust if all they need is a new strap, or puddi.
I am looking for tabla shells 5.5 inches and larger. If you have something you'd like to sell write to me and I'd be happy to make you a decent offer. I am not a retailer or wholesaler but I do occasionally enjoy recycling good instruments from old ones if I can while I myself learn the subtleties of the craft.

aanaddha
aanaddha@cox.net

Warren
Re:thickness of the pudi Apr 07, 2003 01:19 a.m.


I agree , I guess I was speaking in terms of a broken puddi or totally unusable. I have 5 bayas and 7 or so dayans, 2 sets are pretty bad but playable enough to lend to my students, as for the rest, I have at least 2 sets that sound very good.and I buy a few puddis at once, so I guess my point is you can still use drums somewhat wornout, buy a few , keep them around, in terms of other musicians instruments tablas are very cheap. I have heard of people buying shells for 40 to 50 dollars so depending on how much you pay for a dayan selling the shell and getting a good new one can be almost the price of replacing a puddi , the quality of the shell may be a factor. When someone I know goes to india sometimes they bring me a good set for 150.00 . Anyway the best thing eventually is to know how to replace a puddi


aanaddha (Apr 06, 2003 10:58 a.m.):
[quote]Warren (Apr 05, 2003 12:04 p.m.):
Devi don't replace the puddi yourself . I have replaced a lot of puddis and I can tell you it took a long time to get to the point where I could replace a puddi and get a great sounding drum. Also it's ridiculous to make a big investment in replacing a puddi, if someone like Gabe can fix your drum and you can keep the costs down to about $75 go for it but if you have to spend more then 75 it's better to buy a new drum... "

I see Warren's point but I don't necessarily agree. You wouldn't buy a new guitar if the one you had was out of tune or had a broken string, nor unless you were very wealthy or very famous would you pay to have someone tune or re-string your guitar. But guitars and tablas are different... to a point.
However, before you discard a good tabla because you don't like the sound of it check to see if: 1. It needs tuning. Learning to tune a tabla is a skill that every student should learn somewhere along with their bol production and their first kaida. 2. The straps need to be pulled. A 5" inch puddi will unlikely provide anything worth hearing lower than a D or D sharp. A 5 1/4" dayan will often need to be pulled to a D or D sharp to sound it's best depending on the shape of the gob and the make of the puddi. Not any tabla can be tuned to a C sharp and sound good, in fact, finding the perfect C sharp dahina is like finding gold! 3. If your tabla is buzzing, and before you discard it, check to see if there aren't any foreign particles that have slipped beneath the chat. Replace the thread if there is one beneath the chat and it has flattened out or doubled-up. I use a new .009 steel guitar string cut to size. It's easier to replace and makes a nice clean circle underneath the chat to a point that it's fits snug just over the inside edge of the rim and doesn't move around.
Having said that, is it possible that somone with a website would be willing to provide an ad page for people who would like to sell their unused or broken instrument to help defray the cost of purchasing a new instrument? Or, to buy an unused instrument for less than it would cost at a retailer? Perhaps someone in your part of the world has a good tabla set they are willing to buy or sell and you could actually see what you're getting. It would be a shame see otherwise good tablas sitting in a corner collecting dust if all they need is a new strap, or puddi.
I am looking for tabla shells 5.5 inches and larger. If you have something you'd like to sell write to me and I'd be happy to make you a decent offer. I am not a retailer or wholesaler but I do occasionally enjoy recycling good instruments from old ones if I can while I myself learn the subtleties of the craft.

aanaddha
aanaddha@cox.net


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