INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Introduction and two questions

 

Author Message
Matt
Introduction and two questions Dec 27, 2002 06:04 p.m.


Hi all, this is my first post after lurking for several weeks. I recently purchased a new student model sitar, something I've wanted since I was thirteen and discovering "Sgt. Pepper" (I'm 32 now). So, this year I finally decided to take the plunge. I've played bass semi-professionally with a jazz/folk/rock/world fusion group for 12 years and am thinking of incorporating the sitar into our repertoire...eventually! I'm quite obsessed with and fascinated by this instrument, and I'm very happy to have found this forum, which has already provided me with a wealth of information.
I have two questions:
1. Is anyone out there using Pyramid strings? I recently discovered these when looking for "the" sound for my old Rickenbacker bass. I'm assuming they're decent but would appreciate any feedback.
2. Does anyone know of any sitar teachers in Iowa?
Thanks!
Lars
Re:Introduction and two questions Dec 27, 2002 07:23 p.m.


Hi Matt (nice name by the way, my son has it!)
Nice to see you here.......
Pyramids are the best IMHO.........
Sitar teachers in IOWA? Not sure about that but will check on it, you may want to search the Guru-shishya database over at www.batish.com for teachers in Iowa. If there are none then you could go to the Maharishi Center (forget the exact location/city...Sioux City maybe?) and ask them there as they might know of a good one. Debu Chaudhuri plays there on occasion....hope this helps....

Lars

Matt
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 08, 2003 06:33 p.m.


Thanks Lars -
I have a couple of sets of Pyramids on the way from Buckingham Music (outstanding customer service - I'm in the process of buying a tanpura from Jon as well). Can't wait to get them on.

Also, it looks as if I have found a local teacher. My wife and I ate at the local Indian restaurant last week and saw a flyer for the Cedar Rapids Friends of India Association. I contacted them and through a series of emails was able locate a teacher in Iowa City, only 30 minutes away. He's off to India for a month so I will be contacting him then. Needless to say, this made my whole day!!!

For those of you looking for a teacher - if I can find one in the cultural wasteland of Iowa, there's hope!

Jeff
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 01:35 a.m.


Hi Matt, You want to talk about waste lands! trek on over to south Jersey here where I hail from. You'll be amazed by the level of apathy you've never thought possible!
Stephen
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 07:41 a.m.


I'm going to end the debate on the subject of which brand of strings to use. Pyramid strings are the ONLY strings you should be using. All of the other strings on the market are crap. Excuse my language (If I was talking to you in person my explicative would be stronger) but I've tried many brands and these are several cuts above the rest. If you're not using Pyramids, rip that old !#%& of your instrument and replace right away.
gary
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 10:57 a.m.


Stephen,
To say all other strings on the market are "crap" is quite a demonstrative and unfair statement.

I have been using Roeslau treated wire for some time now and they are anything but crap.

In musical terms why are the Pyramid strings so much better?

Gary


I'm going to end the debate on the subject of which brand of strings to use. Pyramid strings are the ONLY strings you should be using. All of the other strings on the market are crap. Excuse my language (If I was talking to you in person my explicative would be stronger) but I've tried many brands and these are several cuts above the rest. If you're not using Pyramids, rip that old !#%& of your instrument and replace right away.[/quote]

Russ
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 11:37 a.m.


Hey guys, this is not worth the flame...

In my opinion, Pyramids are very good. I use them on my Mangla right now. They do have very good tone and sustain. But you have to keep in mind that sound characteristics are dependent not only on type and gauge of strings you use, but also the state of your jawari, type of material used for both the bridges and sitar face (tabli), type and size of the gourds, your personal playing style, overall sitar size, and probably other things I can't think of right now. Acoustic design is fairly complex!

Roselau hi-carbon wire is fine, so are the cryogenic strings in my opinion. The only ones I would stay away from are the generic cheapos that many dealers also offer. You get what you pay for in that case. Yuck!

K.K.
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 12:20 p.m.


Hi All: What I'd like to know is, WHY are the Pyramid strings better than the rest? So far, Russ is the only person who has given any descrption at all. To quote, "...very good tone and sustain." What is it about this wire that justifies the $20-$25 a set? Thanks - K.K.
Gary
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 12:53 p.m.


No flaming here...in musical terms why are the Pyramid strings so much better? That was, amd is simply my question...Gary


Hi All: What I'd like to know is, WHY are the Pyramid strings better than the rest? So far, Russ is the only person who has given any descrption at all. To quote, "...very good tone and sustain." What is it about this wire that justifies the $20-$25 a set? Thanks - K.K.[/quote]

Stephen
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 02:23 p.m.


Damn, I sure stoked up the fire. I really didn't mean to put the other brands down as much as I was trying to build the Pyramid strings up. The one thing that has impressed me more than any other is how quickly the P's will hold a tune. Other brands that I have used can take up to a week of severe yanking on the strings before they will hold a tune, the Pyramids begin holding the tune after one day. Also, I have not tried the Roseau strings, so no comparison was made to them.
Sorry if I offended anyone on this issue. At least I now know how to stimulate some action on this forum.
Russ
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 05:51 p.m.


Hee hee, yeah you woke us up again Stephen!

Do you mean stay in tune by "hold a tune"? I've never noticed a difference in holding the note, but maybe so. They all seem to take some "break in" time. I'm under the impression that Pyramid strings have a very high reputation in Europe, and have for quite some time. That's probably part of their higher price (yes, you're paying for a name).
But maybe their price is justified?

Matt
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 06:22 p.m.


As I mentioned in my original post, I'm using Pyramid strings on my '76 Rickenbacker bass. I had some minor but annoying intonation issues with that instrument that I couldn't seem to tweak out. Once I switched to Pyramids - the recommended brand for old Rics - the intonation problem cleared up immediately. I would agree that the strings seem to stay in tune more quickly. Gotta love German engineering! My sitar strings arrived today so now I've got a weekend project...
Russ
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 07:07 p.m.


Yep,probably why I drive a German car. But I digress...too bad they don't make a "German sitar"(or is this blasphemy?). Wonder how Pyramids would sound on my original axe, a 1972 Gibson hollowbody electric?
Jette
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 07:43 p.m.


Hello fellow Manglaloids, Rikhi Ramhoids and Hiren Royds... can one buy just a MA string from Pyramid??? or must an entire set be purchased?
Lars
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 09, 2003 08:42 p.m.


Jette, I think right now they just come in sets but hopefully soon will have MA coils too. I've seen some really BAD strings, just saw a set where the laraj SA string was brass and felt like a rubber band. I've used the Roselau wire and it's OK, haven't tried the plated stuff. The Pyramids are made to exact specs. For example the MA string is 01185 inch, but with others you will find more variation because the wire thickness changes as it comes of the spool but it will still be called a #12 whether it is under or over so you could end up with a thicker or thinner string. I've had Roselau wire that was very nice and bright and others that were tough and dull with the same jawari....A lot of top musicians in all genres use Pyramids because of their consistant quality....there's my 2 cents......Hiren Royds? Sounds painful.....

K.K.
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 10, 2003 12:42 p.m.


Hi All: Although there are many different musical string manufacturers who make �strings� of their own design specs, there are only a handful of manufacturers who make the �wire� that goes into the making of the strings. Since sitar strings are really just �wire,� and noticing that Pyramid and Roeslau are both German companies, I decided to do a little research. Here�s the email reply I got back from Pyramid �

Dear Sir,
Thank you for your request.
We basicly use Roeslau steel wires for our music strings, yes. Some other kind of strings we also use US steel wires.

Best regards
PYRAMID
Max Junger

My guess is that if there is any difference in the Pyramid (sitar) strings it�s because, as Lars stated, Pyramid only accepts wire that is within a very narrow range of tolerance.
So, to quote an old Moody Blues song -

��and YOU decide which is right, and which IS an illusion�

d'esouz
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 10, 2003 04:32 p.m.


Are we to deduce that (for sitar wire) Pyramid wire is essentially just the "cream of the crop" of Roeslau wire? Is this what I am hearing? d'esouz
Lars
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 12, 2003 12:02 a.m.


Yes, Pyramid is the cream of the crop.......Roselau does make their wire because to profit by making wire you have to make LOTS of it with about a 2% profit margin. However, the wire is made for Pyramid only using specific alloys and custom dies and so if you were to get generic Roselau it would not be the same at all.
A "12" ma string from a normal generic wire can be anywhere from .01175 to .0125 inches and still be called a "12". The dies and processes use by Roselau for Pyramid keep the tolerance down to .00005 which is quite a trick but they've been doing this for 150 years.....so there's the scoop on all of that for all of my fellow Mangloid, Hemenoids, HirenRoids (ouch), and RadhaKrishnoids....oh, and RikhiRamoids.....

Lars

Russ
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 12, 2003 12:16 a.m.


Whew! Well alrighty then......Hemenroids? Got to be tough to sit down with that one!
Chet
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 12, 2003 07:42 p.m.


Not to mention those "HirenRoids", yowza!
Jeff
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 13, 2003 10:35 a.m.


Hemorrhoid?
Russ
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 13, 2003 12:01 p.m.



Jeff (Jan 13, 2003 10:35 a.m.):
Hemorrhoid?

....I reckon......

K.K.
Re:Introduction and two questions Jan 13, 2003 12:23 p.m.


RadhaKrishnoids...aren't those the annoying @#%$ who use to hang out at the airport, soliciting donations?
Big L
Re:Introduction and two questions Feb 05, 2003 02:50 p.m.


Didn't they used to use gut strings in the old days before wire? Anyone ever seen that?
Lars
Re:Introduction and two questions Feb 05, 2003 11:13 p.m.


They've used wire for quite sometime now....they use gut strings still on the Sarangi, neat sound.....

Lars

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