INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Newbie needs all of your expert opinions!

 

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newbie
Newbie needs all of your expert opinions! Jan 09, 2002 11:50 a.m.


Hello all!
I am looking to become serious about learning sitar. I have a few questions you all may be so kind as to answer for me :

1) I know there is a slight bias as this forum is hosted on a site that sells these but.. What would be a good starter sitar? And I need to express when I say starter, I DONT mean CHEAP! I don't want a rinky dink equal to a guitar you would buy at mall etc.. I would like a well crafted sitar even if I have to pay a bit more even for a starter sitar.. And where can I buy one?

2) I used to play the bass and was somewhat decent at it. WIll this help at ALL? Or are we talking of a totally different kind of beast here?

3) What 3 things have you all done that have helped most in learning the insturment?

4) Does anyone know of anyone that would give lessons in the San Diego area?

5) I know this is a lot to ask for and if anyone responds your help is deeply appreciated!

Thanks all!!

PS Im on AIM as : threeehourtour
Feel free to msg me!

Russ
Re:Newbie needs all of your expert opinions! Jan 09, 2002 01:38 p.m.



newbie (Jan 09, 2002 11:50 a.m.):
Hello all!
I am looking to become serious about learning sitar. I have a few questions you all may be so kind as to answer for me :

1) I know there is a slight bias as this forum is hosted on a site that sells these but.. What would be a good starter sitar? And I need to express when I say starter, I DONT mean CHEAP! I don't want a rinky dink equal to a guitar you would buy at mall etc.. I would like a well crafted sitar even if I have to pay a bit more even for a starter sitar.. And where can I buy one?

2) I used to play the bass and was somewhat decent at it. WIll this help at ALL? Or are we talking of a totally different kind of beast here?

3) What 3 things have you all done that have helped most in learning the insturment?

4) Does anyone know of anyone that would give lessons in the San Diego area?

5) I know this is a lot to ask for and if anyone responds your help is deeply appreciated!

Thanks all!!

PS Im on AIM as : threeehourtour
Feel free to msg me!


Hi NewBie;
ThreeHourTour huh? Would that be with the Professor or Mary Ann? (just kidding!)
1) You're right about the inherent bias here. There's a number of us that bought from Buckingham music, simply because the owner does sell quality instruments at reasonable prices, including quite good starters. If you haven't done so, take a look at his website at the sitars he offers. Then ask about a model, and we can give a personal opinion. (No, I am not connected with Buckingham).
2) The owner of Buckingham is a former bass player, and he says it is of definite help in switching to sitar. I imagine that's because of the wide fret spacing on both the bass guitar and sitar.
3) Prerequisties for learning include ability to distinguish between at least quarter-notes, that is you have a "musical" ear, and ability to practice at least one hour a day minimum (I advise more if you can). Getting a knowledgeable teacher is always best advice, but I don't have access. So, I use a couple of books, plus a couple of intro videos (not used nowdays).
4) San Diego huh? You realize Ravi Shankar has a place just a few miles up the road from you in Encinitas. There should be tons of sitarists in your local area, many can teach. Check your local internet and ask. Otherwise, contact the Ravi Shankar Foundation and ask.
BTW, what is AIM? You got me there.

Lars
Re:Newbie needs all of your expert opinions! Jan 09, 2002 07:49 p.m.


Biased?? Me?? Never......seriously though, you should buy the very best instrument you can afford. There is a world of difference between a $300 sitar and a $900 one and if you're serious about playing you'll soon find that you outgrow your beginner model, but........maybe not.
I think Peter at Buckingham is getting in some sitars made by Manoj Kumar Sardar, you might check those out. I would definetely not recommend buying a sitar from anyone else as you'll never get better service or a better instrument anywhere else (OK, Peter.....another plug, where's my t-shirt??)
Hey Russ AIM is Aol Instant Messenger.....
3 things I've done to make playing better:
1: Bought a good sitar
2: Obtained several books.....most notably Ravi Shankar, My Music, My Life and "Techniques of Sitar" by S. Bandyopadhyaya.
3: Play with tablas.....you can use .wav files burned to CD or there is a tabla machine you can get. Russ would know about the machine....

As for a teacher, I think Russ is right about that. There's sure to be one near you through Ravi's organization and who knows, you may even get a tip or two from Ravi himself?? Do give them a call or email........
Good luck to you in your quest.........!!

Ken
Re:Newbie needs all of your expert opinions! Jan 11, 2002 10:48 a.m.


Hi Newbie,
Lars, Russ, I think Jerry, and myself all come from playing various instruments. With myself I played Bass in my rock and country life, then bagpipes, then whistle, uilleanne pipes, and have played guitar since I was 12, now 55. The reason you are hearing such good things about Buckingham music is that we (I'm sure) have all surfed the net exhaustively, have a great deal of experience purchasing instruments and have come to pretty much the same conclusions, that is: only do business with one who has your interest in mind, who carries quality instruments that are pre-played and "tweaked" or set up properly.
I too am taking the initial excursion into Sitar very seriously. My choice was the AAA Tun as I didn't want to spend the whole enchilada but I didn't want a "student" quality instrumetn either. I believe you are attacking your search the correct way. Rest assured that none of us are being paid by Buckingham music or have recieved any compensation other than the care and feeding of our interest by a person with a proven interest in helping us, Peter Cutchey at Buckingham music. You will find those posting here to be sincere in helping as we all are somewhat in the same boat and all can use a "leg up" if you will in this endeavor. You really are quite lucky to be so close to Ravi's lair, no doubt your going to be able to get very good instruction there. My advice is to secure a teacher there and let them help you with instruction. My belief also is that Peter will give you excellent advice on your purchase. Keep in the loop with us as especially Lars and Russ can give you a wealth of knowledge......good luck....ken
theMonk
Re:Newbie needs all of your expert opinions! Jan 11, 2002 05:44 p.m.


Just ring Peter C. on the telephone and his charm and helpfulness is enough to make you a Buckingham shopper. His products reflect his good attitude also. Everything I have gotten from there is very great.
Russ
Re:Newbie needs all of your expert opinions! Jan 11, 2002 06:29 p.m.


Yes, I agree with all I've seen here. Newbie, most of us cruise this board regularly and as you can see, are quite willing to give of our knowledge and help. So feel free to ask.
-Russ
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