INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Attention Mangla Culture Club

 

Author Message
Russ
Attention Mangla Culture Club Mar 05, 2002 11:16 a.m.


Neal, answer came back from Indrajit. Very similar to what has already been posted on this board. He says the volume of the teak is low in the beginning, but with practice and time,it opens up. He also notes that the tabli (sound board) is fairly thick, and somehow, this also makes it sound better in the future. He did not specify how long it would take. Lars says about a year. One final note he had was to drill two very small holes into the two birds on the tabli. This should also increase the volume. Personally, I'm a bit nervous of that one.

Main news here is for us Mangla owners. Indrajit will be in Austin late this spring and into early summer. I've asked him to consider a short "workshop" just for us Mangla owners, perhaps showing us a few simple gats and the like, talking about and showing us a few things about the Mangla, and letting us ask him questions. If he is willing, maybe we all could get together in Austin (bring your instrument of course)and share expenses if you like. Anyway, I'll let you know how this goes. Would be great!

Ken
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Mar 05, 2002 12:25 p.m.


Russ,
Great stuff, by the way my Tun has the "tone eyes" as Peter calls them. I think the principle on this is the same as a ported speaker box, allowing the volume to swell a bit due to no back pressure. Anyway I wouldn't be afraid to do it on my own instrument, just wouldn't do it on someone elses, but then I'm just a pretty wild guy with a lot of instrument repair behind me so some of the things I would do might not be something you should "try at home". I like the idea of a Mangla seminar of sorts, that time of year might be nice, we could all camp in Peters back yard (I'm sure he'd just love that). Might be worth checking into the local motels to see if we might get a rate reduction, or even the local ashram? . . . ken
K.K.
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Mar 06, 2002 11:31 a.m.


Russ: The holes in my birds are 1/16" Dia. - K.K.
Lars
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Mar 05, 2002 09:51 p.m.


Hey all,
Just got a very good 8 x 10 photo of Nikhil Banerjee and lo and behold.......2 holes drilled in the birds!! Well, how 'bout that??
Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Mar 06, 2002 09:52 a.m.


Way cool. I've heard my people's have these drilled holes. I'm afraid mine was overlooked as I can't find any. Birds look intact. Just how big are these holes?
Ken
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Mar 07, 2002 06:11 a.m.


Hey all,
Holes in my birds are a bit over 1/8" and not perfectly round, a bit of drill waver I'd bet. I wouldn't mind 9/64" though don't know if 1/128" difference would be that much. ken
Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Mar 18, 2002 05:34 p.m.


Hi all;
More news from Indajit. He is doing a concert in Austin May 4th, and after that he will be free for a couple of weeks at least, and is willing to do 2 or 3 sitar workshops at the Asian Cultural Center in Austin for us. But the more the merrier. I think 3 to 4 people would be ideal for a workshop. Can any of you take a little time off and travel in early May? Its not my intent to solicit business for Indrajit on this board, but at least he is offering this rare opportunity. If you're interested and able to come, I can make this more definite. Thanks.
Stephen
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club May 23, 2002 02:30 p.m.


Hey guys,
Is this a for real group, the Mangla Club. I would like to include myself if so. I purchased what was touted as the first "Rose Petal" Mangla in the U.S. last November and am totally delighted with it. The sound gets better every day, aside from what improvements my abilities endure. All of the tarabs now sing and the high range isn't as muted as at first. This might be because I have started tuning to a C# just recently (kinda like driving a new car at 50mph for the first 5,000).
Always glad to talk to a Mangla owner.
Get in touch directly if need be.
sbradley@pdreng.com
Stephen L. Bradley
Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club May 23, 2002 04:17 p.m.


Hi Steven;
Well, its mainly just a loose association of those of us who've bought a MPS sitar in the last year or so. We seemed to have ended up in this forum somehow. Some of us communicate via email as well. I made up the "Club" thing tongue-in-cheek, in reference to both Boy George's Culture Club and to the Breakfast Club movie out of the 80s. Sounded cool at the time....And why not?
Yeah, read your bio on Peter's site. You sound like many of us who have decided to return to the sitar after years. But now many of us are deciding to take this seriously and really attempt to learn it the right way. It would still be cool if a few of us Mangla folks could get together for a workshop. But looks like that's on hold for the time being. Indeed, the rose petal is a great looking sitar. Glad its starting to open up for you.
vimana
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 15, 2002 07:13 a.m.


I was told by an Indian sitar maker that the practice of drilling holes in the tabili is a band-aid solution, to compensate for construction errors in building the sitar...
K.K.
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 15, 2002 02:18 p.m.


Hi All: From what I understand, the (very tiny) holes found in some sitars' "birds" are merely vents put there for atmospheric pressure and moisture compensation. They're not meant to be tuned ports as in speaker cabinet design. Now, regarding larger holes...?
Lars
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 15, 2002 02:29 p.m.


I was told that they help open the sound up while the sitar ages, not as a band-aid. A lot of people eventually close them up after a number of years. It's unlikely that players such as Nikhil Banerjee and others would have had this on their sitars if it was a result of errors in workmanship as I have played a sitar that was made for him and believe me, there was nothing wrong with it!! There's my .02 cents worth.......Hey KK, you taking up the tabla also??
Laughing Buddha
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 15, 2002 08:42 p.m.



vimana (Jun 15, 2002 07:13 a.m.):
I was told by an Indian sitar maker that the practice of drilling holes in the tabili is a band-aid solution, to compensate for construction errors in building the sitar...

So I guess Hemen always put holes in their sitars because they make bad instruments, huh?
And more... I also guess your maker knows much better than Hemen Roy, Huh?
Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 16, 2002 12:59 p.m.


My take on this is that the sitar already has a vented port. That is exactly what the function of the neck tumba is! Stick your ear up there and find out! I found very tiny holes in my birds, perhaps 1/32 inch at the most, but apparently, they had been sealed back up before I had bought the sitar. As far as atmospheric pressure changes, I wouldn't worry. The sitar is not sealed at any point. Moisture compensation? Not sure what you mean. Unless you live in a very wet climate, the instrument is slowly aging by drying out. That's a good thing if you own a teak!
K.K.
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 17, 2002 11:58 a.m.


Hi Mangla Maniacs: Another theory is that the holes were put there by the sitar maker as "bug escape portholes." (single tumba sitars only) Evidently in ancient times, the sitar maker would put bugs in the sitar to eat away the soft, sound absorbing flesh inside the gourd. Same way archeologists use maggots to clean bones so as not to damage them with sharp instruments. Once the bug got to the harder layer of shell, he would get discouraged and split through the escape holes rather than eating his way through the shell (thereby ruining the gourd). Those old sitar makers knew what they're doing!
Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 17, 2002 12:18 p.m.


That's pretty weird, but you know, it guess it could work. But when I grew and fashioned a neck gourd for my old sitar some time ago, I scraped-out the inside flesh cleanly after it had aged a bi. Maybe those old sitar wallas were kind of lazy as well.
Stephen Bradley
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 17, 2002 06:57 p.m.



K.K. (Jun 17, 2002 11:58 a.m.):
Hi Mangla Maniacs: Another theory is that the holes were put there by the sitar maker as "bug escape portholes." (single tumba sitars only) Evidently in ancient times, the sitar maker would put bugs in the sitar to eat away the soft, sound absorbing flesh inside the gourd. Same way archeologists use maggots to clean bones so as not to damage them with sharp instruments. Once the bug got to the harder layer of shell, he would get discouraged and split through the escape holes rather than eating his way through the shell (thereby ruining the gourd). Those old sitar makers knew what they're doing!

I suppose these holes would be so they could "bug out".
Cutter beatles (sic) are the insect you would be speaking off. Can be extreamly illegal to have in your possession in Chicago. A lot of natural history museums keep them on hand for the very reason you suggest, to strip the flesh from bone.
I got an A in science in third grade for stripping the flesh from a dead bat by burying it in an ant hill in a kitchen matchbox with holes poked in it, then affixing the stripped skeleton to a piece of cardboard with Elmer's glue. Not really sure that my teacher liked it very much.
I do agree that a good curing and then scraping might deaden the sound of pumpkin seeds rattling around inside a quickly made toomba. Ever tried to shake them out through the upper toomba mount?
This brings me to my question. Do any of you feel that the interest by musicians outside of India has put a strain on the artisans that craft these wonderful instruments? Meeting a demand, but perhaps cutting some corners in order to fill orders. How does the quality of modern instruments stack up with those crafted in the past?
Second question. Where would one go to view examples of say a sitar from the 18th century. Or a been that came into being before the influence of (my personal hero) Z.M. Dagar.
My compliments go out to this website for David's article on how sitars are manufactured. I just wish there was a way to explore this more thoroughly and to see examples of instruments that were made in the "golden age".

Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 18, 2002 12:04 p.m.


Those are excellent questions Stephen.I think that because of the high demand of the last 30 years for sitars,some "fly-by-night" exporters have cropped up both here and in India, and they care for quantity, not quality. I have personal experience in buying a cheapie sitar(in terms of quality)from one of them, and unfortunately, they're still around and pushing product. Unfortunately, Hiren Roy and most likely Hemen and Kanai Lal by now, have gone the quantity vs quality route. That's one reason why Peter is seeking the maker that refuses to be quality-compromised, and that's why the MPS is an up-and-coming instrument. You may pay more, but you get the quality that the "old ones" used to have too. Hey Lars, ol' Ravi's "My Music, My Life" has some pics of ancient instruments, not too bad.
Lars
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 17, 2002 10:38 p.m.


Hey Stephen,
Not sure about the 'golden age'......sitars were rather primitive compared to modern ones. A good source for info and some pics is the book called. "Sitar and Sarod in the 18th and 19th centuries" by Allyn Miner. I like ZM Dagar too......one of his longtime students does jawari up here.......email me and I'll tell you the best place to get that book if you're interested......
sitarfanatic@hotmail.com

Lars

Stephen
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 18, 2002 02:03 p.m.


In addition to the "My Music, My Life" photos, I found a book called "Musical Instruments" that is part of a youngster's library of subject related books (i.e. transport, buildings, fish, etc.) for 5 bucks in the discount section that has two pages of photos of older instruments that are wonderful examples of probably 19th century instrments. Lots of hand painted icons and peacock feathers. I'm curious if some of the museums in larger cities have the instruments of India represented in their collections. I would assume the Met in NYC might and perhaps the Smithsonian.
Stephen L. Bradley
K.K.
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 18, 2002 02:42 p.m.


Hello All: Stefan, thanks for the tip on David�s excellent article on the construction of the sitar. I hadn't read that before. I have one correction to make, however, and my apologies to David if this has been brought up before. I�m not bringing it up just for the sake of it, but rather to help a possible unsuspecting fellow sitar enthusiast avoid making a rather time consuming, and possible damaging mistake. The finish used on sitars is not �Lacquer� but �Shellac.� Lacquer is made from tree sap; shellac is made from an excretion of a small insect, the Coccus lacca, which feeds on trees in India. I�m not trying to be picky, I just would hate to see somebody go out and buy a can of lacquer to try and touch up or re-finish his/ her sitar, as lacquer won�t stick to some shellacs (and it plays havoc with some plastics.) BTW if anyone is interested, there are some great websites with articles on the manufacturing and uses of shellac (you�ve eaten it!) and the �French polish� technique of furniture and musical instrument finishing. � K.K.
Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 19, 2002 10:13 a.m.


Thanks KK. The only reason I know the diff is because of a short thread we had going here a few months ago (can't remember the title)on sanding vs polishing out cuts or grooves. Ken gave me a bunch of info on french-polishing, and is a good resource for this too. BTW, another final polish that sometimes goes on a sitar is carnuba wax, which you've probably eaten before also (the "shell" on some candies). Of course, that's also a prime ingrediant in car wax. Amazing what stuff we will eat, huh?
Lars
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jun 19, 2002 11:18 p.m.


Ohh, so NOW you tell me I can't put lacquer on my sitar!! WHAT A MESS........sure tasted good on my ice cream last night though......
Larry
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 18, 2002 12:50 p.m.


I also would like to be included in the club. Ive had my mangala for a little over a year now and ditto to al the other accounts of this instrument. Sorry to see Peter go but maybe he's not. What is up with the birds eye thing other than whats been already said and do the New Rose Petal models come with the whole. Did the above work shop happen ?

Stephen (May 23, 2002 02:30 p.m.):
Hey guys,
Is this a for real group, the Mangla Club. I would like to include myself if so. I purchased what was touted as the first "Rose Petal" Mangla in the U.S. last November and am totally delighted with it. The sound gets better every day, aside from what improvements my abilities endure. All of the tarabs now sing and the high range isn't as muted as at first. This might be because I have started tuning to a C# just recently (kinda like driving a new car at 50mph for the first 5,000).
Always glad to talk to a Mangla owner.
Get in touch directly if need be.
sbradley@pdreng.com
Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 18, 2002 06:04 p.m.


Welcome to the "club". No, the workshop didn't quite work out. Too hard to get people at the same place at the same time. But hey, maybe next time? I think we covered that bird's eye thing pretty well. Apparently my Mangla sounded good enough, so they closed the hole back up. Fine with me.....
vimana
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 29, 2002 04:58 a.m.



Laughing Buddha (Jun 15, 2002 08:42 p.m.):

vimana (Jun 15, 2002 07:13 a.m.):
I was told by an Indian sitar maker that the practice of drilling holes in the tabili is a band-aid solution, to compensate for construction errors in building the sitar...

So I guess Hemen always put holes in their sitars because they make bad instruments, huh?
And more... I also guess your maker knows much better than Hemen Roy, Huh?

you are putting words in my mouth laughing buddah. relax! my sitar has a hole in it too. under the jawari. its good though we analyze this phenomenon.
so is carwax the thing to polish the sitar with?

Lars
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 29, 2002 08:34 a.m.


"Laughing Buddha" can't reply to you as he passed away on 7/1.........so he got the last word on that
Yes, car wax is the best thing to use on the sitar, use pure carnuba wax. Go to Schucks or your local store and get the KIT car wax in the yellow can but make sure it's the kind with wax only........

Lars

K.K.
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 29, 2002 02:25 p.m.


Hello Friends: In honor of Peter C, and in the spirit of this forum, I have created a Mangla Prasad Sharma Culture Club membership card. I am issuing this card, free of charge, to anyone who wants one. I'll need you to email me your name, as you want it displayed on the card, shipping address, and the month/year you purchased your first Mangla instrument, for your "official" member number (# 001 is reserved for Peter C. of course.) Let's keep the spirit alive by carrying this reminder in our wallets, purse or pocket books qehqeh@yahoo.com
Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 29, 2002 03:34 p.m.


Not a bad idea! I think ol Laughing Buddha would have wanted to keep this boat afloat, even though now a new wind will have to fill its sails. I'm game. I'll mail you shortly.
neal
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 29, 2002 07:13 p.m.


Hi All,
My God, what happened to Peter? Neal

"Laughing Buddha" can't reply to you as he passed away on 7/1.........so he got the last word on that
Yes, car wax is the best thing to use on the sitar, use pure carnuba wax. Go to Schucks or your local store and get the KIT car wax in the yellow can but make sure it's the kind with wax only........

Lars[/quote]

Lars
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 29, 2002 09:23 p.m.


Hi Neal.......sorry for the news but Peter passed away on 7/1 from heart problems. Was very sudden. Buckingham is still going on with his wife Paula running it....

Lars

Russ
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 30, 2002 12:04 a.m.


Yeah, Peter has left the building. But every time I tune up, I can remember our first meeting, and him showing me how to tune the sitar to itself. So, when I play, he's still here even if only in spirit. Until we meet again, Laughing Buddha!
vimana
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jul 30, 2002 12:08 a.m.


Peter passed?! I was just emailing him month ago and he gave me some good advice. He was the bass player in a 60's band that had hits THEM with 'Baby Please Don't Go" and "Here Comes The Night" with Van Morrison being an original singer. He was Laughing Buddah?? Sorry Peter if my post irked you. It was not intended to do that. Peace friend!!!
K.K.
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Aug 06, 2002 11:25 a.m.


Hey Kids: Anyone who hasn't already emailed me their names, addresses (for mailing the cards) and month/year they purchased their first Mangla, please do ASAP. The "official" Mangla Prasad Sharma Culture Club membership cards are soon ready to send. These will be available indefinately, but I'm trying to have the membership numbers reflect the order of who-purchased-when. Let's keep the spirit of Peter C. alive qehqeh@yahoo.com
K.K.
Re:Attention Mangla Culture Club Jan 02, 2003 11:39 a.m.


Hi All: Just a reminder to any new MPS owners who haven't read the archives - Mangla Culture Club membership cards are available, free of charge. Email me at: qehqeh@yahoo.com for details. - K.K.
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