Hi All! ~ Take a peek at www.rikhiram.com. Click onto the catalogue page, then click onto sitars, go to bottom of sitar page and take a look at some "New innovation" in the evolution of the sitar, called the Rikhi Sitar. Anyone have an idea of what the innovation might be. It looks like a different bridge perhaps? or a large circular opening in the Tabli, like on a guitar? Just curious what it's all about. Neal
Hey Neal, Lars,
Looks like a National Steel Standard Sitar, perhaps a new style of playing with a mizrab shaped like a spoon you might get some cool slide guitar riffs going. Always something new under the sun, still this one doesn't compare to the Green Onion Sitar, which might be even better with the inclusion of a resonator.
Musical instrument makers never sit still, always on the lookout to come up with something the competition doesn't have, sometimes good, sometimes bad ideas come out of this.....
That's true! I guess you can send their sales reps an email and ask what that thing is. Looks almost like a dobro modification to me. Two obvious things I can think of to improve a sitar is to make two open ports on the face of the tabli, each about 1/4 inch in diameter. This is sometimes done already, but the practice is not standard! The other thing is to replace the tuning pegs using wood to wood friction to hold in place with guitar-type pegs that use a screw key to hold it in place. Then all this unnecessary pain to retune every time you pick the thing up would come to a quick end!
I'm with you on the machine heads idea Russ. Wouldn't it be a joy to tune compared with now? And to re-string come to think of it. One of the things that takes me forever is tuning tarafs. I find myself, after the first two or three, counting up the pegs to make sure I'm turning the right one. Does anyone have a smart way of knowing which peg tunes which string?
and see what you think. I wonder what is the price and how it sounds? Neal
Looks cool though
The other thing is to replace the tuning pegs using wood to wood friction to hold in place with guitar-type pegs that use a screw key to hold it in place. Then all this unnecessary pain to retune every time you pick the thing up would come to a quick end!
jerry (Apr 09, 2002 01:21 a.m.): I'm with you on the machine heads idea Russ. Wouldn't it be a joy to tune compared with now? And to re-string come to think of it. One of the things that takes me forever is tuning tarafs. I find myself, after the first two or three, counting up the pegs to make sure I'm turning the right one. Does anyone have a smart way of knowing which peg tunes which string?
Well, the thing is it isn't the pegs if you get them right and tight so they don't slip - it's usually the big piece of wire people keep wrapped around the peg that sits there like a big old spring so when you pull on the string it tightens up and you lose tuning. Then when you go to retune it, it slackens of and fools you into thinking it's in tune already! Cutting this down as far as you can helps a lot. 6� of spare wire is about max. here. When you tune Ma (1st string) give the string a lot of hefty meend "welly" two or three times at about the 7th fret. Retune and repeat this until it stops falling flat� then play! With the bronze strings pull the string between the forefinger and thumb for about 2�-3� from the top bridge (nut some call it) about 2-3 times and retune and pull and retune and pull until they stay in tune. Never pull a whole bronze string forward � it�ll only stretch and then come back sharp fairly shortly. So far as knowing where you are with your tarrafs, it�s really just practice. Really carefully watch a senior student or a pro when they tune these. They have done this so many times that they just poke their little fingernail under the strings and pick them out. Their kinetic body awareness gained though doing this so many times also tells them which peg to reach for. They also have the scale they�re after imprinted on their ears and brains. Have you thought about color coding the pegs with small colored circular labels? This may help some way so you don�t have to count them.
Hi Peter; Color coding the pegs huh? Colorful idea. Sounds a little like how I learned piano all those years ago. Just might work. Yeah, taking the slack out of the mains that way is also what Ashwin recommends, works pretty well. But I think what we're mainly concerned with are keeping those tarabs in tune. What a pain! I think you're right about only using the minimum of string necessary on the peg. I already do this, but it still goes flat on me. In any case, as you say, I'll be learned from a pro by next week anyway! -Cheers
Hi Russ. I nearly always have the sitar flat on the floor in front of me when I'm doing this as I'm usually tuning the tarbs to the frets. This flat on the floor technique also gives me the opportunity to push the pegs belonging to the 7 main strings in more firmly then when I have the instrument in the playing position with the peg head hanging out in space. I use my RH thumbnail to pick a string near the top bridge when working with the top 7 strings so I'm then in a perfect position to be able to hold the neck with one hand while pushing a peg in and tuning with the other hand. So when I'm tuning the tarbs I put a finger nail under the one I'm tuning and give it a bit of a pull upwards near the white grommet. In this way I pull up the slack on the wire inside the neck as well as a bit in the rest of the system (loop, etc). Also a narka and of course chalking the peg are useful if one runs into slipping pegs. Also roughening the peg's bearing areas with rough sandpaper can help with slipping pegs. When these areas look shiny is the time to roughen then up a bit. When I replace a tarb I put the new string under tension while I'm winding it on the peg by pulling it up in the bridge area while I turn the peg. This way the wire winds in on the peg tidily so it alleviates problems that will otherwise be caused later on. Most sitars that come in from India have the tarbs wound in a hurry, so many tarbs have kinks inside the neck and break until you have replaced them by careful winding under tension. Once all the tuning has been carefully done with the sitar on the floor then I fine tune it in the playing position as the neck often shifts a bit when the sitar is elevated, but at least I now have all the pegs nice and tight and good tension set on all the springy bits would around the pegs by doing the "Floor position" tuning first. One more thing, I never use a guitar type needle or LED tuner for sitar as they�re quite inaccurate. Instead I always use a standing Sa note to tune the sitar to itself as all the Indian pros do. The instrument sounds so much sweeter when tuned to itself. Also Needle or LED tuner usage seems to lead to lazy ears where tones aren�t �heard� properly. Cheers, Peter.
Thanks Peter. I do many of these things already, such as tuning on the ground, using a narka and sidewalk chalk, etc. Maybe a little sanding the peg might help too. Fortunately, I've always tuned a sitar by ear to itself, using a Sa generated from a harmonica. So, my "ear" is in good shape, I think. But I usually tune the tarbs to the rag system I like to play in, usually Kalyan. I guess I'd better be careful or I'll get "stuck" hearing only that system!