INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough!

 

Author Message
Billy
Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 28, 2003 09:50 a.m.


OK, this is about restringing. I got some Pyramid strings a couple of weeks ago, but because I ended up in the hospital and recovery for a few days, I didn't try to restring until this weekend. Remember in your how-to-play-sitar book, almost every one of them, says something like "don't try to restring the entire sitar at once unless you are very familiar with the sitar, do one string at a time." Well, I thought I was familiar enough with the sitar I was working with, and decided to take all the strings off, pull all the pegs and make sure they were ok, chalked and so forth, and the peg holes were ok and no cracks, etc.

So, here's the "DUH" part. I started with the tarbs. As I was putting them in, I found some of the pegs didn't seem to want to go in all the way, and some seemed to want to go too far, and all kinds of hassles. It wasn't until I had most of them done that I realized that the pegs were made for the individual holes, the string holes in the pegs matched the position of the hole in the fret board, and I should have kept the pegs in order as I was stringing the tarbs!!! DUH!!!!

So now, I have to take them back out, figure out which peg goes to which string, and start over, hoping I don't kink any string while doing this. Fortunately, I haven't tuned or tightened the strings much, only enough on a couple to keep the bridge in place.

One thing about tweaking the sitar on my own, as a beginner, I have learned quite a bit about it, but its been at the expense of a lot of time and work. Still, they have been lessons well learned.

OK you Pro's that read this message when I said not to, have at it!


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
jaym
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 28, 2003 12:47 p.m.


On each peg, there may be a number written on it that tells you which hole it corresponds to. If you have 11 Tarbs, then the pegs should be numbered 1-11....look closely =)
Stephen
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 28, 2003 12:56 p.m.


Billy,
On most of the sitars that I've seen, the tarab kunti are marked as to which hole they go in. Usually the markings are just knife hatches on the peg. Probably not to obvious on #1, but will be fairly noticable on #13. Number one peg goes in the longest string's hole. The main tuning pegs are marked in this way as well. I hope your sitar has been marked in this way as there are quite a few possibilities. Another hint on this, keep tension on the tarab string by pulling the loose string upwards until you have wound the excess onto the peg. If you don't do this there is a possibility that you will get a loop/kink in the string which might cause the string to break or just drive you nuts by not holding tune because the excess is slowly tightening around the peg. While the instrument is completely unstrung, take advantage of this time to inspect the "button" where the string enters the neck. Make sure that the hole doesn't have any sharp edges that can cut the string under tension. A small jeweler's round needle file can remedy this. Good luck with it.
Billy
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 28, 2003 02:10 p.m.


Duh again!

Thanks for the hints guys. I knew about holding the tension on the string when inserting the pegs, but not about the numbering. Yes, there are "hatches" on the pegs, I wondered what their purpose was... oh well, live and learn!

Not only do I know about making sure there weren't edges on the "buttons", but I also repositioned a couple of them so they line up with the holes in the neck better. I hope that wasn't a no-no, but on some of them it was hard to get the string through, even a string as small as these. Just another irritation. I guess I can understand why some places charge so much for restringing!!!


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Remco
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 28, 2003 05:25 p.m.


Just curious, how do all the other sitarists over here change their strings? I've got to change in the near future my other strings as well (I 've changed my melodystring only..) On a guitar with a whammy it's usally advised to change strings one by one to avoid extreme tension differences. But I'm afraid that won't work when I look at the end peg where all the strings are combined....

Peace,

Remco

And thanks for this topic: I might have made the same mistake...

Russ
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 28, 2003 05:46 p.m.


About every 2 years, I like to change all the strings at once. I dedicate a whole weekend to that (takes it too). Gives me a chance to examine the whole instrument and do repairs if needed. Also lets me remove all those string shards and the little loops of broken strings from the end peg as you pointed out.

To keep even pressure across the neck and bridge, change strings just like rotating the tires of an auto. That is, do opposite strings first (first and seventh, second and sixth, working from outside to inside). Same with the tarb strings. I lose fewer strings this way.

Jeff
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 28, 2003 06:54 p.m.


This is what I do when I restring the entire sitar. Take off the first string then put the peg back, take off second string put peg back, 3rd the same and so on. When all strings are off I have all the pegs still in the correct holes. I took all the pegs all out at once before and it was a mess.
Next time I do all the string I will mark the pegs with a pen, Thats a good idea.
Russ
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 28, 2003 07:07 p.m.


Remco, what's a whammy?
Sitarsrule
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 29, 2003 02:01 a.m.


The first time I changed strings was a real headache, I didn't mark the bridge before removing the strings, I had to have my friend Tony K. Re do the jawari. I sat there as he performed his magic touch to my sitar. I learned a lot from him that day. I'm still learning. Since he moved to India, I,ve got to now learn on my own.
I've worked on a few sitars, and each of them wern't marked, I had the size and mark them myself. One of the sitars was rebuilt, the gourd was in pieces. I glued it together. It came out ok. The next one will be better. It's a learning Experience Working on these things............................Peace
Remco Helbers
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 29, 2003 11:51 a.m.


A whammybar is the same thing as a vibrato-bar (or wrongfully named a tremolobar). You can set them up "floating" so you can pull the note up and bend it down. When you take off a string the tension will change and all the other strings will go out of pitch as well because the complete set of strings counterbalance the springs located in the back When taking ALL the strings of it means you'll have to reset the complete whammy. Especially with the modern whammy's the setup is difficult because these systems are very sensitive..... Listen to a guy like Steve Vai, he's amazing with his bar. He's able to imitate Indian instruments on his guitar.....

Peace,

Remco

Stephen
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 29, 2003 01:20 p.m.


And like the whammy bar that you speak of, I'm sure most of us know what happens to a violin family instrument if all of the strings are removed at once. I think the design of a sitar is a bit more tolerant of removing all of the strings at once for an annual tune up.
Russ
Re:Beginners Only - Pro's don't read, I'm already embarassed enough! Jul 29, 2003 07:39 p.m.


OK, I got you. Kind of thing Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn made famous (with their vintage stratocasters). My old Gibson hollowbody has one of those bars on it, but I think the older styles weren't as sensitive as the newer ones. I've never had the balance problem.
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