INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: sitar in rock band

 

Author Message
Barend
sitar in rock band Mar 06, 2002 02:33 p.m.


I play in two experimental bands and I want to use my sitar in the near future, but my band mates don't know anything about indian music.
Does anybody have some tips and ideas of how th handle a sitar in a rock band. How do you do it with amplification on stage. I have the blue spot pick up but is it enough to overpower the other loud instruments
Russ
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 06, 2002 05:37 p.m.



Barend (Mar 06, 2002 02:33 p.m.):
I play in two experimental bands and I want to use my sitar in the near future, but my band mates don't know anything about indian music.
Does anybody have some tips and ideas of how th handle a sitar in a rock band. How do you do it with amplification on stage. I have the blue spot pick up but is it enough to overpower the other loud instruments

Well, I don't think I'd try to play sitar with a loud rock band. Some instruments just aren't made for that! Yes you can crank it up pretty loud with the blue spot, depending on the amp and effects you put it through. But I guarantee its going to sound like poop that loud! How about trying it with an acoutic set instead?

Remco
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 06, 2002 05:45 p.m.


Hi Barend,
Have you ever tried one of those feedback surpressors? I think Sabine makes one. It's cancels out the feedbacking frequencies. A friend of mine used one on his sax (through the mike) and his instrument could be amplified twice as loud....

peace,

Remco

peterc
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 07, 2002 11:31 a.m.


Hi Barend, we have already spoken together via e-mail re. this.
For feedback, try to get the main speaker in front of you, not behind you.
If speakers can not "See" mics or transducers they feed back much less. Turning down the top end (treble) will help, too.
Also, the sitar and strings are picking up the other instruments, then playing it back through the transducers. Try not to be so close to any of the amps. When you are in a quiet room you can speak through the sitar and hear your voice!
This is the nature of transducer based systems which do pick up the entire sound of the instrument and what's around it.
However using a mic. in a rock environment is quite hopeless with sitar as the sound bounces off the nice shiny surface of the sitar and produces feedback at very low levels.
Feedback reduction systems will help but sometimes color the sound. However, in a rock environment this is perhaps less important than in, say, a more manageable lower level sound environment.
Make quite sure your PA FOH (Front Of House) speakers are well ahead of the stage and perhaps direct feed your amp through the PA, too, so more sound is going away from the stage.
There is a certain amount of snootyness about using sitar for rock and I would remind everyone that a storm of protest took place when the electric guitar and, later, violins were first introduced to pop music. Nothing is as certain as change and we all need to be prepared for this as otherwise we become crusty dinosaurs.
Sitar can sound very good very loud, but the engineer has to be skilled and know exactly what he (she) is doing. There is only one reason why any instrument sounds bad, and that is lack of skill/knowledge about amplifying the instrument properly.
We sell successfully to many rock/jazz/fusion sitar players and your problem of feedback is the only one we have ever had. Therfore one can infer from this that others are thinking about this perhaps a little more carefully; finding and using the obvious solutions to this, like those above.
When I can hear you from Austin, TX. USA and you're playing in Amsterdam I'll know you have really cured the problem (grin).
Best of luck, Peter.
Remco
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 08, 2002 11:27 a.m.


Hi everyone,

Just came across an item on the Loopers' Delight Group:
http://www.loopers-delight.com/LDarchive/200203/mail2.html
Please look at march 7th: there are some questions about a pre-amp for sitars.

peace,

Remco

Barend
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 22, 2002 08:06 a.m.


Can you also give me some musical tips.
For example how to apply the sitar in combination with bass guitar or electric guitar
and drums, do you have some interesting ideas about that?
theMonk
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 22, 2002 06:10 p.m.


I play guitar in a fusion experimental jamrock band now. My friend also plays sitar but never in the band. You say youll be playing with bass electric guitar and I assume drums. Obviously you wont be playing any chords. Your main things would probably be soloing (if your band plays improvised music) and you play the melodys with the guitar or bass or alone while they back you up. When the sitar is not needed for a solo or melody you could outline the chords almost like a jazz bassist would, this could create a great feel for the music and you wouldnt be the center of attention if someone else was taking a solo. If your only aquinted with indian music Id suggest you learn really well what western notes the sitar is playing and what tuning offers the best and easiest way to play in the western keys your band is playing in. if you wanted to play more Indian fusion style music ie Shakti, you could explain to the band the basics of indian music, like tell them there is no chords but there is a tonal center and the soloist bases himself in pure melody. then establish the key youll be playing in and let the drummer lay out a beat and have the bassist and guitar establish the tonal center while you play basically a raga. It can grow from that idea as your band mates learn more and understand what is going on.
Remco
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 23, 2002 02:50 p.m.


Hey Barend,
Ever thought of using your Jamman (looping device) so you can make soundscapes on the sitar? You could outline the chords more by overlapping them in a chordlike way. Use the echomode to let the notes fade out. You could also create tampuralike drones this way. I don't have a mike but I'm walking around with this idea for some time. Also the use of delays might work to create a more ambient vibe.
theMonk
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 23, 2002 03:04 p.m.


yeah my friends and I once had the idea for a project called "the Funk Sitar project" which basically would be like a funk jam with sitar creating tanpura like ambience and playing melodys and whatnot. Using any looper you could make some amazing things with sitar.
theMonk
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 23, 2002 03:05 p.m.


Also have you played a Boss RC-20 jamstation, I am going to buy one. I heard it is supperior to the jamman. Are you happy with it?
theMonk
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 23, 2002 06:06 p.m.


How much was the echoplex? Does it use real tape? can you overdub on top of your loops? Whats the looptime? the boss has 5:30 sec.

When activating the looper while sitting traditional style I could see you having luck using your right foot, may mess up your playing and be very complicated, youd just have to try.

Remco
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 23, 2002 05:41 p.m.


I've used the Jamman about 4 years ago but replaced it with the Echoplex from Oberheim (these days Gibson): better sound, longer looptime. I don't know the Roland/boss device. Also the Repeater from Electrix looks cool: you can store your loops: cool way to store your tampura drone, even tablapatterns and reload them for a gig.
Remco
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 23, 2002 05:48 p.m.


The only thing is, as I realise it now: how do you activate the device? You have to press a button to start a loop, not easy when sitting in a traditional way. Hmmmmm.......
Also feel free to check my site:
www.editionblue.com
On the cataloguepage you can find some sound samples. The On Some Road CD is made purely by looping and a Chapman Stick. Sorry guys for this OT-babling......
theMonk
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 23, 2002 06:12 p.m.


Hey lets move this off topic chat to the community forum. I want to talk more about your recording.
Russ
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 23, 2002 10:12 p.m.


Interesting ideas here. I play primarily acoustic these days, but I have played a good bit of fusion guitar and synthesizer mainly back in the seventies. Not so much now, but I've been a fan of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Shakti for a long time.
Anyway, I've put my sitar through an Echoplex I've had now since 1979, and also through a Boss flanger. Doing a slow meend with fast-attack multiple echo is just too cool. And a fast gat through a flanger will put you into space!
Your questions on Echoplex, Monk. Yes it uses real tape (the original ones anyway), and the echo time can go to infinity because its an endless tape. But it gets muddy after about a half-dozen or so. Digital echo is OK, but it just don't have the same "soul". So anyway, your ideas on sitar fusion are interesting as I've played with it a bit too.
Remco
Re:sitar in rock band Mar 24, 2002 06:09 a.m.


Please note that the new Digital Echoplex is a totally different beast. Please check out www.loopers-delight.com
for more details. It's got 198 sec of looping time, Reverse, it's linkable to a computer (midiclock)

peace,

Remco

Barend
Re:sitar in rock band Apr 10, 2002 08:48 a.m.



theMonk (Mar 22, 2002 06:10 p.m.):
I play guitar in a fusion experimental jamrock band now. My friend also plays sitar but never in the band. You say youll be playing with bass electric guitar and I assume drums. Obviously you wont be playing any chords. Your main things would probably be soloing (if your band plays improvised music) and you play the melodys with the guitar or bass or alone while they back you up. When the sitar is not needed for a solo or melody you could outline the chords almost like a jazz bassist would, this could create a great feel for the music and you wouldnt be the center of attention if someone else was taking a solo. If your only aquinted with indian music Id suggest you learn really well what western notes the sitar is playing and what tuning offers the best and easiest way to play in the western keys your band is playing in. if you wanted to play more Indian fusion style music ie Shakti, you could explain to the band the basics of indian music, like tell them there is no chords but there is a tonal center and the soloist bases himself in pure melody. then establish the key youll be playing in and let the drummer lay out a beat and have the bassist and guitar establish the tonal center while you play basically a raga. It can grow from that idea as your band mates learn more and understand what is going on.

Thanks for the tips these are very helpful, do you also have some idea to build songs, because when stay on one root it is difficult to divide for example the verse and chorus part, and how to handle chord changes or modulations?
theMonk
Re:sitar in rock band Apr 10, 2002 11:40 p.m.


If you memorize your keys and notes on your sitar, you will realize your not limited to one key, except your chikaris(spelling?) they may be tuned to one key only if you intend them to ring out the tonic. But If you knew you keys and notes on sitar you also realize your limited in keys only by the whole step jumps in the frets of a sitar. Certain notes arent able to be sounded if your playing in a different key than your sitar is tuned to. But the notes are their for you to play in a different key, as long as your are knowing the key and the notes you have open to fret and play at the time. if you dont understand what I mean Ill make an example of what I mean later.

About verses and choruses, if you learned enough to change keys and whatnot without changing tuning then this would be no problem. But maybe the band could change and youd just change the notes your were playing to fit that certain chord and lay off the tonic.

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