INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: #2 vs. #3

 

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neal
#2 vs. #3 Mar 03, 2002 06:09 p.m.


Hello all, Heres another "newbie" question. My new Mangla came with a #2 gauge (I think) first string. Can a heavier #3 gauge string be used instead? or is the Jawari not cut for that ? Neal

PS Hope these basic questions aren't irritating.
Russ
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 03, 2002 07:44 p.m.


Hi Neal;
No problem. With the exception of Lars who has had one for a while, we're all newbies with these Manglas. Every reference I have recommends #3 gauge for that first string, so I imagine stay with that. How's your bass string sound? I took mine off cause it sounded like poop, not musical at all. So, I'm getting a thinner #12 phosphor bronze to replace it. In fact, I'm replacing all my strings.

PS- proper term for the bridge is the sawari or sawatch (appoximate pronunciation). Jawari generally means optimizing an instrument for best sound. Don't worry, those terms are often confused or mixed.

neal
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 03, 2002 08:28 p.m.


Russ,
Did you mean no problem in response to my string question? or no problem in response to my "newbie" question?
Did your teak mangla have a #2 or #3 gauge first string? My teacher thinks its a #2 . My question was can you change that to a heavier gauge if desired? Or its it a problem with the pre-cut sawari?
neal
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 03, 2002 08:29 p.m.


Russ,
Did you mean no problem in response to my string question? or no problem in response to my "newbie" question?

Did your teak mangla have a #2 or #3 gauge first string? My teacher thinks its a #2 . My question was can you change that to a heavier gauge if desired? Or its it a problem with the pre-cut sawari?

PS I thought by retuning in C#, all of this was alot better? NO?

neal
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 03, 2002 08:30 p.m.


Russ,
Did you mean no problem in response to my string question? or no problem in response to my "newbie" question?

Did your teak mangla have a #2 or #3 gauge first string? My teacher thinks its a #2 . My question was can you change that to a heavier gauge if desired? Or its it a problem with the pre-cut sawari?

PS I thought by retuning in C#, all of this was alot better? NO?

Lars
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 03, 2002 10:08 p.m.


Hi Neal,
I use a 3 gauge (.012) string with no problems as to fit. I use a 2 gauge (.011) for the 'Pa' chickari string......you can check the string size with some digital calipers which are quite handy instead of eyballing it as you're only talking about (.001) of an inch! It will fit your bridge just fine.......
Lars
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 03, 2002 10:12 p.m.


Let me know how the thinner bronze string works Russ, I was thinking of going to a brass string for the low SA. I remember reading about Ravi Shankar and his desire for the perfect low string sounds and Nodu Mullick got that for him but it affected his meend? I think.........
Russ
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 04, 2002 10:07 a.m.


Neal;
Sorry,only meant no problem about a newbie asking questions. The major problem is that India has no quality control. So, even Mangla may put out the occasional less than ideal sitar. Since Indrajit Banerjee inspects these instruments before they're sold, I sent him an email requesting advice on how to brighten-up these mute instruments. I rather imagine he would be the one to know best.

Lars;
I'm experimenting with the bass string! The Mangla came with the fat brass string, and that's the one I took off because it didn't produce a decent sound when struck. And if you tried to actually fret it, yuck! Realize that Ravi has his sitars custom made just for him, and those sitarji's go out of their way as it means a great deal to be endorsed by "the man". So, maybe something a tad skinnier in bronze may work better.

neal
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 04, 2002 11:09 a.m.


Russ, please relay to us all as soon as you hear from Indrajit Bannerjee. Please. Neal
sitarsrule
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 04, 2002 07:45 p.m.


I found if you replace the heavy bass string # 4 , with a 1st string tuned the same as the 1st string that it has a nicer, smoother sound without all the unwanted buzz, even though you can't fret it all that well, it gives avery even sound. Hope this helps. I've been playing for 10 yrs, and Have been doing this for 8 of those. I find that it sounds great.......PEACE
Russ
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 05, 2002 09:58 a.m.


Hi Sitarsrule;
Well, that's why Vilayat Khan (your fav as I remember?)throws away the bass string entirely. He plays a 6-string sitar as he has no use for the low octave. But I do like to hear that deep sound, especially when playing alap. That's also why you have the "hook" on the top fret, to get the bass string out of the way when playing faster passages. I've been playing off and on since 1970, and I've always used a fat bass string, so I'll keep looking for that ideal one.
K.K.
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 05, 2002 02:36 p.m.


Hello fellow Mangla Maniacs: I took my micrometer (it's a little more accurate then the calipers) to the strings that came with my teak. I am rounding out the numbers because none of the strings were dead on size. The first string is .012 (#3 gauge); the second is .016 (#6); third is .022 (#9); fourth is .032 (#13.5); fifth is .010 (#10); sixth, seventh, and tarbs are all .09 (#0).
These are the sizes that I've seen listed as standard "Ravi Shankar" stringing, except for the .032 bass string. This is usually a .028, but I've seen .032 listed as an "option." Now I haven't experimented with comparing the two bass string sizes (yet) but I would think the thicker string would have a deeper sound. (bass guitar strings vs. 6-string guitar strings, etc.)

Russ: I have found one interesting factor about the thicker .032 bass string. (Maybe it's the same for the .028, I don't know.) Follow the string, from where it's connected at the tailpiece, up to the point where it comes in contact with the back edge of the bridge. At this point the string angles downward to the nut/string retainer at the top of the neck. What I notice was, because of the relatively low tension on the (thick) bass string, it's not being pulled tight enough to conform to this angle, and is actually arcing OVER the back part of jawari area, causing the string to contact the front part of the bridge when you fret the string. This causes that dull, doinky sound. I took my needle nose pliers and, at the point where the string contacts the back of the bridge, I put a very small bend in the string. Now I get a clean tone fretting up as far as you would want to. You'll have to experiment with how much of a bend to put in. This does raise some questions though. Was my (and Russ') sitar's jawari originally set up for the thinner .028 string? Or maybe it actually needs jawari work done on it? Is the bridge positioned wrong? Is there a break-in period where the jawari has to wear a little before it starts to sound right?

Regarding the thickness of the sounding board. From what I've read, this is an area where the sitar maker has to make a compromise. Thinner wood equals more volume (loudness), thicker would equals more sustain. BTW, my teak already has the little holes drilled in the birds, don't they all? - K.K.

Russ
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 05, 2002 03:44 p.m.



neal (Mar 04, 2002 11:09 a.m.):
Russ, please relay to us all as soon as you hear from Indrajit Bannerjee. Please. Neal

Check in the new thread "Mangla Culture Club".

K.K.
bass Sa strngs Mar 18, 2002 01:40 p.m.


Hello Mangla Maniacs: I got a chance over the weekend to A/B the .028 and the .032 bass strings. My test was as scientific as I cared to get (no using meters or measuring freqs or anything that intense.) I set up my mini disc recorder with a stereo mic sitting on top of my sitar case, and set the sitar on the floor in front of it (same position for each test, of course.) Both strings were the cryogenically treated wire, purchased from Silverbush music. I played each string at different volumes/attacks and played the bass string alone, letting the string's sustain completely die out, as well as played the strings along with the other strings on the sitar. Both strings were tuned to C natural.
The results were: The .028 felt a little mushier than the .032. Not as solid a feel. Of course, this would seem to be an obvious observation. The .028 feels more like the other bronze strings (.016 and .022) on the sitar, whereas the .032 feels a little more "separated" from the rest. I'm just a newbie, so I can't really give an account of how the string really "plays."
Listening to the recordings, the .032 definitely has more of an attack to it than the .028, kind of like an un-amplified bass guitar string, being played with a pick, sound. The .032 SEEMED to have a little more bottom to it, but this could just be my mind be prejudice, knowing that it was a thicker string.
The .028 had more growl to it than the .032. This is probably due to the fact that it bends over the bridge easier than the thicker .032. (read my previous post regarding this and, again, I'm just a newbie, so maybe I'm totally wrong about the need/desire to fret the bass string.)
Summary: (In my opinion) the sound of the .028 is more consistent with the rest of the strings on the sitar whereas the .032 has more of a voice of it's own.
I encourage all you Mangla-oids to run your own experiments. As Ashwin says in his Sitar video #1 (about removing the tumba from your sitar) "Have fun with it!" - K.K.
Russ
Re:#2 vs. #3 Mar 22, 2002 05:41 p.m.


Hi KK-
Interesting you mention Ashwin. You know he went through the same ordeal with his bass string, and ended up pitching it. Replaced it with same string and tuning as #2. Right now, that's what I do have set up on my older tun instrument. But, I think I'm going with the thinner bronze wire on the teak as I just can't get a recognizable tone out of the .032 brass, fretted or not. I tried your technique of bending the string using a needlenose, but I can't tell any difference. Anyway, I kind of like that growl from the thinner string anyway (hehe). So, I'm not going to worry about that one any longer. Watch your step as you exit the bus......
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