Hello All: I am soon to be the proud owner of a new teak Mangla from Buckingham Music (whistles, cheers) as soon as the new shippment arrives. Peter was so kind as to send me three mizrabs; medium, large, and extra-large to test fit them before I ordered a package. Here's my problem: The "medium" is too small. The "large" seems to fit the way Ashwin describes how to wear it on his video. With 1/4" space between the tip of my finger and the tip of the mizrab, the sides dig in about where they do on Ashwin's finger. This is, as Anoushka Shankar describes it in an interview, "ridiculously painful." (I'm not afraid of pain, but I don't want to endure it if it's not correct.) The "extra large" fits the way I've heard it described on other web site articles - The sides of the mizrab fit over the bone on the sides of my finger, and point right where the crease of the knuckle is. This is definitely more comfortable, it doesn't dig in at all, but there seems to be more side to side (yaw) play and isn't near where Ashwin wears it. I'm confused also because my hands are not anything near "extra large." They are more like medium compared to others. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thank you - K.K.
Hello KK; Welcome to the Mangla club! There's getting to be quite a few of us on the board. From what you describe, it sounds like the large size is best for you. You're right, there is some pain involved until your finger gets used to it. Like Ashwin and Anoushka say, it should be quite tight and not move at all when you play. Little grooves should cut in to your finger over time (may take a year or more). With me, the groove is about one millimeter in front of the distal finger joint. Peter tends to wear his where the mizrab fits right into the joint space. I don't wear it there because that tends to constrict the movement of my finger when I play.
Maybe you can play first with coated mizrabs. I did this for a couple of weeks although my teacher disaproved. She gave me look, like "What kind of a whimp are you?" It helped me through the first weeks. She showed me the difference in sound: the uncoated is a lot louder and brighter than an uncoated, although the coating only touches the finger not the string, hmmmmm..... She made me choose from about thirty or fourty mizrabs.
Yeah, there is a weird effect when you use a plastic-coated mizrab. Somehow, that plastic absorbs some of the energy expended when you flick your finger to play the note. It kind of dull the sound. Don't ask me why! All the masters maintain not to use coated mizrabs, or remove it as soon as you can. But hey, it also prevents permanent callouses on your finger (not very attractive). So, if it works for you, OK then.