INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: New Mangla has arrived

 

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neal
New Mangla has arrived Mar 03, 2002 04:20 p.m.


Just got my teak Mangla checked by my teacher. Her comments were that the instrument sounded very muted. She actually used the term suppressed- as if the sound was not jumping off the instrument. From all I've read this seems to be normal. My question is how much of a change might I expect in a year or so...25%, 50% change??? Just curious.
Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived Mar 03, 2002 07:28 p.m.


Hi Neal;
I kind of hate to say it, but I've had my teak now for 3 months, and it still sounds fairly mute. My generic tun is twice as loud but same size. Very little tarb string response lately. So, I don't know what to say as I'm noticing this too. One thing I'm doing is changing all the strings to a better quality than what it came with. I'll let you know if it helped.
Lars
Re:New Mangla has arrived Mar 03, 2002 10:16 p.m.


Can't give a description in percentages but at mine is definetely sounding 'deeper'. At first with the teak, it was brighter and not as 'echoey' as the tun but now I find it's reversing and the tone becoming fuller (or is that 'more full'?) and not as bright although it is time to change the MA string...
neal
Re:New Mangla has arrived Mar 04, 2002 11:32 a.m.


Hi Neal;
I kind of hate to say it, but I've had my teak now for 3 months, and it still sounds fairly mute. My generic tun is twice as loud but same size. Very little tarb string response lately. So, I don't know what to say as I'm noticing this too. One thing I'm doing is changing all the strings to a better quality than what it came with. I'll let you know if it helped.

Russ, So re-tuning from c to c# wasn't the answer? Neal

Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived Mar 04, 2002 03:42 p.m.


No, tuning to C# was a limited fix. Tuning higher made 3 more of the tarbs which weren't responding before kick in, but no effect I can hear on the main strings. Like I say, I'm changing string gauges, so I'll let you know if there is any harmonic change or not.
neal
Re:New Mangla has arrived Apr 15, 2002 07:22 p.m.


Lars,

In addition to your teak becoming deeper and fuller sounding, has the volume changed? My middle register Sa & Re sound muted and low volume..nice and clear mind you, but low in sonic volume. Has that changed in a year?


Can't give a description in percentages but at mine is definetely sounding 'deeper'. At first with the teak, it was brighter and not as 'echoey' as the tun but now I find it's reversing and the tone becoming fuller (or is that 'more full'?) and not as bright although it is time to change the MA string...

neal
Re:New Mangla has arrived Apr 15, 2002 07:23 p.m.


Lars,

In addition to your teak becoming deeper and fuller sounding, has the volume changed? My middle register Sa & Re sound muted and low volume..nice and clear mind you, but low in sonic volume. Has that changed in a year?


Can't give a description in percentages but at mine is definetely sounding 'deeper'. At first with the teak, it was brighter and not as 'echoey' as the tun but now I find it's reversing and the tone becoming fuller (or is that 'more full'?) and not as bright although it is time to change the MA string...

Lars
Re:New Mangla has arrived Apr 15, 2002 11:09 p.m.


Hi Neal,
Well, I don't know what to say about my sitar.........I personally consider it a Stradivarious of Sitars but I'm biased. It has completely mellowed, sounds exactly like Nikhil Banerjees sound which is what I wanted. Not as echoey as the tun (which was sold). Bought another teak with the red penwork!! Now on this newer one, the sound is completely different but it has a very open jawari. I feel like Ravi Shankar when I play that one (don't quite sound like him though.....heh heh).
mash
Re:New Mangla has arrived Apr 16, 2002 03:02 a.m.


Hi Neal..has your teacher recommended that you have the jawari looked at..it may well be that your sitar jawari needs attention..a friend of mine has recently purchased a new sitar..vilayat khan style made by gurudayal singh ion the punjab..the initial sound was a bit supressed..but as soon as my teacher filed the jawari..lo and behold..what a wonderful sound!!..I may be completely off tangent but i think its worth looking into..cheers mash from sunny UK..

neal (Mar 03, 2002 04:20 p.m.):
Just got my teak Mangla checked by my teacher. Her comments were that the instrument sounded very muted. She actually used the term suppressed- as if the sound was not jumping off the instrument. From all I've read this seems to be normal. My question is how much of a change might I expect in a year or so...25%, 50% change??? Just curious.
neal
Re:New Mangla has arrived Apr 16, 2002 08:00 a.m.


Thanks all, I'm sure the Jawari is fine. I'll let it "blossom" naturally with time. It would almost be fun to have 2 or 3 totally different sounding sitars in one's collection!!! Neal
Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived Apr 16, 2002 10:08 a.m.


Hi Neal;
Well, now you know why a number of us have more than one sitar....

I've had my Mangla for 4 months now, and after playing my fingers off, I am noticing sound changes, mostly in the timbre opening up a bit (more harmonics), but also the volume coming up just a bit too. So, two things are apparent. No two teaks will sound alike, regardless of string gauge or jawari. They really are unique. Plus, there is definitely a "break in" period for them. Lars says a year to optimize, and I believe he's right. But what really counts is play time, so get those hours in, and you should begin to hear the changes soon.

Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 11, 2002 11:34 p.m.


Hi Neal;
OK, last time I'll bring this subject up again. I think we can retire it now.

Just got back from training with Indrajit Banerjee, and I tell you, in one week, my teak Mangla has completely opened up. Every tarab is now singing its heart out, and the top strings are sounding very nice. No more muteness at all.

The secret? OK, first of all your strings must be in very good tune. Being off even a little bit can cause the the tarabs to be silent. Secondly, be forceful when you play. I've had a habit of tickling the strings, but that is not the way. Play them with authority and your Mangla will obediantly open up.

So, there you go. Lars was right all along. End of subject. Have fun!

neal
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 12, 2002 08:55 p.m.


Hey Russ,

Thanks for the update. I can imagine that precision tuning on a professional instrument is indeed more critical than on a generic instrument. I still need to really develop my tuning ear. It's a definite weakness for me.

When you strike the strings with more "ooomph" are you saying that playing with more authority makes the instrument sound bolder just temporarily while you are actually playing ..... or are you saying by doing the above, then over the long term it actually changes the sound of the wood, sawari etc. and elicits a permanent sonic change? Quite interesting. How did that come up?

PS How was the weeklong class with Indrajit?

Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 12, 2002 11:55 p.m.


Playing with authority produces a physical change in the instrument, and is permanent. But this only works on a "professional" instrument. Can't tell you exactly why. Something to do with a physical change in the bridge jawari as the string cuts into it in a different way with forceful playing. You won't get the same effect on a "cheapie" instrument. It will still sound bad.....
Week with Indrajit was more than I had hoped for. Changed my playing technique for the better, and his teaching ability is all one could hope for. So, obviously I'm a personal fan now.
Peterc
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 13, 2002 08:22 a.m.


It is said and widely believed in India that every instrument has a soul in it and that one nurtures the soul as one takes the instrument through ones life.

Here is part of a Q&A interview with Pandit Mani Lal Nag last year:
Peter: "It is said in India that every instrument has it's own soul and that this soul grows with the musician as it is played by he or she. Do you think that this is true?�
Pandit Mani Lal Nag answers simply and directly "Yes, it is" is all he said and (I think) all he needed to say.
The pics. Of the concert and part of the interview may be seen at:
http://www.buckinghammusic.com/concerts/man/man.html.
If I were much younger I would break all ties with my over complicated world and sit on Baba Mani Lal�s doorstep not moving day or night until he finally took me in.
Perhaps when I�m 60 (I�m 58 this month) I may break the ties that bind me, as many Indians do, and turn away from this material world in time to attend to the next.
To me Baba Mani Lal is an expression of the infinite. A very advanced soul. It is my feeling he won�t be back for another life in this sphere as there is no need.

In purely Western terms I suppose this improvement to an instrument can also be explained by the fact that one performs thousands of small adjustments over the years of being married to a sitar.
Although India has it�s problems with many things they excel in patience. This sense of eternal patience may well be extended to all Indian instruments as they epitomize the truth of waiting as the marriage to a new instrument goes through all the usual stage of passion, fighting, and finally a long and loving journey through life together.
This sense of patience and loving care through time is difficult to convey to most Westerners without seeming patronizing as we are all used to instant gratification.
Eventually those who are wise learn this sense of patience, which may well be the most important fundamental thing India has to teach the Westerner.

To me every instrument, no matter how humble, has a sense of revererence to it. It is a holy thing that may expand the soul and senses if we but give it the chance� but to tell people they will have to wait a few weeks more as the instruments are late from India is a difficult thing as many people are at the fountain head and have yet to begin their journey to eternal patience (grin).

Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 13, 2002 01:11 p.m.


.....Yup.......
jerry
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 14, 2002 05:25 a.m.


Hi Russ
Your extended lesson with Indrajit sounds fabulous. Really pleased for you (if a little envious:)).
I smiled when I read that he'd told you you were tickling the strings. When I had my one and only lesson so far, my teacher first asked me to play something. I did my best but he quickly stopped me and asked if I always played like that. When I said yes, he frowned for a moment and said 'You play like a GIRL'.
I guess it's a habit we westerners easily fall into.
Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 14, 2002 11:17 a.m.


My time with Indrajit was also a humbling experince for me. Although I've been "playing around" with the sitar for a long time, I had developed bad habits with no teacher to correct me. So, this training had to be done if I were to continue. The "tickling" technique comes from playing guitar, using fingers rather than a pick. Fine for guitar but not for sitar. BTW, best not to offend the ladies (play like a girl).There are few female professional sitarists right now, but I think that may change if what Mita Nag says comes to pass.
jerry
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 14, 2002 12:45 p.m.


Of course, Russ. I didn't mean to offend anyone. This was what he said and I think he was referring to me wiggling my index finger over the string rather than playing with all fingers together. I have nothing but admiration for all real sitar players, no matter which sex.
My index finger habit won't go away (as the bishop said to... oh, never mind). I really must get myself taking proper lessons again.
neal
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 17, 2002 04:48 p.m.


Just a thought Russ- I usually never have the second gourd on because it is fragile and makes the sitar a bit heavier, but I was thinking the extra resonance and vibratory frequencies it adds might additionally season the wood if one was to leave it on ALL THE TIME , you know - hour after hour of practicing? Just a thought...

Playing with authority produces a physical change in the instrument, and is permanent. But this only works on a "professional" instrument. Can't tell you exactly why. Something to do with a physical change in the bridge jawari as the string cuts into it in a different way with forceful playing. You won't get the same effect on a "cheapie" instrument. It will still sound bad.....
Week with Indrajit was more than I had hoped for. Changed my playing technique for the better, and his teaching ability is all one could hope for. So, obviously I'm a personal fan now.[/quote]

Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 17, 2002 05:52 p.m.


OK. If leaving it on all the time gives you incentive to play it often, then do that. But I don't think the second gourd has anything to do with any "seasoning" of the wood. Just gives slight amplification of the tarabs and seems to boost the midrange a bit too. Plus, Mangla's real-gourd tumbas look good too!
Laughing Bhudda
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 17, 2002 09:33 p.m.



jerry (May 14, 2002 12:45 p.m.):
Of course, Russ. I didn't mean to offend anyone. This was what he said and I think he was referring to me wiggling my index finger over the string rather than playing with all fingers together. I have nothing but admiration for all real sitar players, no matter which sex.
My index finger habit won't go away (as the bishop said to... oh, never mind). I really must get myself taking proper lessons again.

Hi Jerry.
I believe the classic cure for this is an elastic band round the fingers to keep them together.
Not too tight - just there as a sort of reminder, really.
Tape works, too, but does tend to pull the hair off the old knuckles a bit when you take it off (grin).
jerry
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 17, 2002 11:30 p.m.


What a great tip!!!!!
Thank you, thank you. Today will be a big practice day - with elastic band.
J
Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 18, 2002 12:37 p.m.


...Ouch!....
Lars
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 18, 2002 03:12 p.m.


That's around the FINGERS Jerry......!
Hey Neal, I would recommend leaving the gourd on too......I like the tone better that way too...
Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 18, 2002 10:36 p.m.


Elastic Band beats the Plastic Ono Band any day of the week........
jerry
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 19, 2002 01:04 a.m.


Oh, the fingers...
that would explain why I kept fainting yesterday.
Laughing Bhudda
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 19, 2002 07:37 p.m.



Russ (May 17, 2002 05:52 p.m.):
OK. If leaving it on all the time gives you incentive to play it often, then do that. But I don't think the second gourd has anything to do with any "seasoning" of the wood. Just gives slight amplification of the tarabs and seems to boost the midrange a bit too. Plus, Mangla's real-gourd tumbas look good too!

Actually there are a few reasons why it's a gourd and not a "Woodentop"... the gourd is lighter, it's what should always be there on a quality sitar, it kicks the tarbs quite nicely and it gives more sound back to the player.
The idea behind Mangla sitars was (and is) to turn the clock back to when sitars were made without much regard to economy and expedience.
That's why we have a gourd top tumba, hand carved bone langot (tailpiece) + thumb rests + upper nut and bridge.
We can't (and don't want to) use real ivory for the decorations, but feel we have done as much as we can to restore the old ways to Mangla sitars.
Meantime the "Big old names" busy themselves taking more pennies out of their "Pro concert" sitars with fiberglass bridges, woodentops, celluloid upper nut and bridge, metal langots and more.
These things are, I think, quite tolerable in mid-range sitars, but not in the real concert models.
BTW I'm wondering about a good source of US deer horn for bridges... any ideas for this?
Lars
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 19, 2002 09:48 p.m.


Well.........I have an SKS, how many deer do you want?? Hey, have you ever seen a camel bone bridge?....I heard that is an option too??.....
Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived May 20, 2002 10:50 a.m.


Hmmmm....first thought that comes to mind would be to contact the state game and fish office. There are places out here in Colorado and Wyoming that the elk populations get so large that they have to do large-scale huntings to thin the herds to levels the environment can support (that's the theory anyway). So, there are large supplies of elk horn available, most likely sold in bulk to commercial bidders. I think this material would be well suitable for bridges, langon, etc. Deer horn may be a little harder to get in quantity, but that office may also offer advise? Hey Lars: my old sitar has a camel bone bridge. Not as common now as it used to be.
Vimana
Re:New Mangla has arrived Aug 04, 2002 04:06 a.m.



neal (Apr 15, 2002 07:22 p.m.):
Lars,

In addition to your teak becoming deeper and fuller sounding, has the volume changed? My middle register Sa & Re sound muted and low volume..nice and clear mind you, but low in sonic volume. Has that changed in a year?


Can't give a description in percentages but at mine is definetely sounding 'deeper'. At first with the teak, it was brighter and not as 'echoey' as the tun but now I find it's reversing and the tone becoming fuller (or is that 'more full'?) and not as bright although it is time to change the MA string...



If a sitar is 'echoey' or has a reverberant sound to it from the tabili area is this a desired effect? Is this a mark of a good sitar or a mediocre one? What should a great sitar sound like?

Russ
Re:New Mangla has arrived Aug 04, 2002 06:38 p.m.


From what I've been told, the wood of any well made acoustic string instrument should reverberate with the strings. That is the basic secret behind the best acostic guitars (and famous violins). No vibration at all will give a dull sound because only the strings are sounding. The wood should reinforce the sound as well. Anyone else have a different take on that?
K.K.
Re:New Mangla has arrived Aug 13, 2002 12:18 p.m.


Hi All, and Jeff, welcome to the Mangla Prasad Sharma Culture Club! My wife just received her new Mangla 6 string instrumental tanpura (a graduation present from meJ) Wow, what a beauty! She is absolutely delighted with it. The craftsmanship and finish are excellent. Beautiful lotus pegs, even a little nicer than the ones on my teak. Nice engravings, and bone bridge, nut and string guides (no plastic). Lovely sound. I can�t believe you can buy such an instrument for under $400, including shipping! And it comes with a fiberglass case! Cheers � K.K.
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