Hey All: I was cleaning up my teak last night after practice and noticed that the finish looked dull where my forearm rests on the main gourd. Upon closer inspection with a magnafying glass, I noticed "billions and billions" of tiiiiiny leeeeetle cracks in the shellac! I've seen this on older sitars, but my Mangla is only 5 months old! Is this normal? - K.K.
I can't say as my Mangla is only 6 months old, but notice that many pro sitarists out there always put a piece of cloth between their forearm and top of the gourd? Ravi and Nikhil always used fancy silk. So, I get the feeling this is always a possibility. Maybe best to be safe than sorry?
I'm struggling with the same thing. I've tried silk but it's so slippery my sitar tends to slide away from me. Right now I'm trying some stuff called Alcantara: it looks like suede and is pretty rough on one side, so my arm won't slip away. My teacher also warned me for the bottom of the gourd, where it touches your leftfoot. My sitar's finish is also starting to show wear. She advised me to use some cloth to protect the finish. I'm also struggling with my sitting position: I'm pretty tall (6 foot6) and when I'm in the "correct" position my right arm has the tendency to slide of the gourd. Maybe it's time to change to surbahar! Also my wrist has this weird angle that feels awkward. Any hints?
Hey Remco; Know what you mean about height. I'm only at 6'1", but I found out I needed a sitar with at least a 14" tumba. At your height, I'd hold out for a 14 1/2" at least. They're harder to find, but they do make them up to around 15" max across the tumba. If silk is too slippery, maybe try cotton? Yes, I do note a few players that wear socks when they play. I thought maybe that was just to keep their feet from getting cold, but just maybe it is to protect the bottom of the tumba from foot contact and wear? Anyway, I regularly use a cloth impregnated with carnuba wax to brighten up the finish on my sitar's tumba. Works well, and I don't see any cracking (yet....fingers crossed).
I'm with Russ on that........I use wax also and wipe the sitar down after playing every time and have never had any cracking. Or you could just not worry about it and repolish the gourd every once in awhile.....
Hi All: Thanks for the suggestiions. I think I'll probably put a few coats of carnuba on it and then maybe, in a year or so, re-french-polish the worn spot, along with the tarb tuning pegs which could use a better finish on them. (but that's another topic) Thanks again. BTW, Lars, it's not cool to smoke incense, even with your shades on. - K.K.