INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: tune in, drop out...

 

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Jan
tune in, drop out... Aug 18, 2003 07:03 p.m.


Howdy all!

I have some trouble getting my Vilayat Kahn RR to hold the tune on my 2. string (SA). (not all the time, but still im loosing sleep, and thats bad...)

Anyone have some good advice?

Jan

Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 18, 2003 07:10 p.m.


Hi Jan,
Try some sidewalk chalk on the peg, NOT blackboard chalk.
Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 18, 2003 07:29 p.m.


That helps the string stay in tune?
pb
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 18, 2003 07:14 p.m.


If you are desperate, try the tanpura trick: put a thread under the Sa string at the bridge and move it up or down until it seems right. It may not work at all, but it does make a difference to tanpuras.

Pb

Lars
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 18, 2003 08:26 p.m.


Jan,
Take the peg out and rough it up with some sandpaper and then chalk it.....
Lars
Beenkarji
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 02:53 a.m.


Hi, take out the peg and notice how rough it is in certain spots, notice how it forms a spiral around the wood. Sand the peg in that pattern, if you just sand it, you will greatly shorten the life of the peg. You can use unwaxed white chalk, or there also is a rosin like material they use for violin pegs that works pretty well. I should also mention, sand only on the spots where it appears shiny, you dont need to waist your time sanding the other spots. If it is does not keep in tune well, it could also be the fault of the bronze wire, or how the wire is anchored onto the endpin.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
Ken
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 05:57 a.m.



Jan (Aug 18, 2003 07:03 p.m.):
Howdy all!

I have some trouble getting my Vilayat Kahn RR to hold the tune on my 2. string (SA). (not all the time, but still im loosing sleep, and thats bad...)

Anyone have some good advice?
Hi Jan,
I've been a musical instrument repairman (semi-pro)for more than 20 years, on an off, mostly guitars, some mandolins an occasional upright base and owned a 250 year old cello once.
What has happened, quite obviously, is that the continued twisting and pushing of the peg compresses the fibers and "polishes" the shaft causing it to be both smaller and slick reducing the friction. In my experience everything you've been told so far will work, however the easiest and most conservative method is this: remove the peg, stick it in a glass of quite warm water for about an hour, take it out and place it in direct sunlight, well ventilated, or wrap it in two layers of wet paper towels and use a hot houshold iron to literally Iron the thing. Basically this technique does not remove wood (the last thing you want to do unless you like replacing pegs) but rather restores the thing to it's original size, also raising the grain nearly to it's original roughness. Watch out with sanding as if done with too fine a grit you'll merely reduce the circumference of the peg and smooth the surface, both of which will exacerbate the condition rather than stop the slipping. Also, get some rosen from Russ, it's a cut above the chalk (I use chalk myself but rosen is well known amongst the cello, violin, Flaminco guitar folks and is my next move). good luck...uncle ken
Jan


Jan
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 11:25 a.m.


Thank you Uncle Ken!

Now, that was some kick ass advice you gave us there : )

The water story must be the best way to do this, but a little more time consuming, and i was thinking about that as i was sanding the peg! I just needed to sand a little but still it bothered me that i was actually reducing the mass of the peg. So after reading your reply i am going to attack my no name Sitar with a glass of water to fix some of the pegs on that one as well : )
I spoke to a violin maker today, he told me to use plain chalk. I could buy some special rosin but he told me that chalk is as good as it gets. And listen to this, he told me that its quite normal to mix the chalk with dry soap. That is if the chalk is working to well and the peg is stuck (almost) just add a really small amount of soap in a chalk and soap mix that would put things back to normal.
So i went home and reduced the sice of the peg to fluff it up, then i took some of my kids chalk and the peg is sitting in its place like there is no tomorrow. To honor the refreshed peg and the chalk i put on a new string (my last one, so Lars, those pyramids are most welcome when they arrive ; )
Now i just need to stretch the string a little and let it settle and i guess i am good to go : )

jan

Ken
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 12:02 p.m.


Jan,
Remember not "Plain" blackboard chalk as it has wax in it but "Sidewalk" chalk available at WalMart in the toy dept and so marked, it has no wax. Also the sandpaper is great if you don't want to remove the peg entirely but be careful to sand across the grain and just slightly, might do to make a tube out of 1/4 sheet of 80 grit garnet paper, insert the peg and just twist a couple of times to rough up the surface...cool to get to talk to a violin guy hunh? they are pretty hip to a number of techniques applicable to Sitar. . . .uncle ken
Beenkarji
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 02:51 p.m.


DO NOT SOAK THE PEG IN WATER, I have had to repair that mistake on many people's instruments numerous times. What is so bad?, well for starters when you soak it in water the peg begins to swell, and basically the finish cracks right off, second of all, the moisture takes a month or two to actually leave the peg, so you have to pretty much kiln dry it again. The worse news is that the peg can continue to swell if it hasn't been dried properly, and if you put it back in its proper place, good luck getting it out. Seriously, sanding a peg is not going to give you problems, thats what sitar players, and sitar-wallahs have always done. If you already jumped ahead and tried that method, I suggest you order a new peg, Rikhi Ram sitars are very expensive, and I dont want to see a swollen peg crack the upper part of the dandi.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
Jan
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 03:06 p.m.


Just to be on the safe side, i went into a shop where they sell all kinds of pens, pencils, brushes, paint and other stuff.
I asked about the content of the chalk and when i presented my fear of WAX they told me that the chalk is a two component thing.
Clay and chalk. No wax what so ever, and that was for all the different chalks they had in the shop. Could it be something you guys have over there
that has not hit the shores of Norway yet? I guess the conclusion is that i don�t need to worry about wax : )

jan

Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 03:47 p.m.


Hey Jan, they put wax in blackboard chalk so it doesnt screeeech! and make you cringe.
I dont know where your from but us Americans like our women loose and our blackboard chalk full of wax!
AJ
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 05:25 p.m.


Yes, and most American's are such down to earth folks they are full of that most special organic componant, as well! heheh

AJ

pb
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 08:38 p.m.


LOL,
Jeff, I can hear the keys typing to draft up a sensitivity policy now !

good one.

Pb

Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 08:47 p.m.



pb (Aug 19, 2003 08:38 p.m.):
LOL,
Jeff, I can hear the keys typing to draft up a sensitivity policy now !

good one.

Pb



Organic, 1.pertaining to or suggesting organisms. 2.pertaining to bodily organs. 3. containing carbon. And 4. how the hell did you do that thing in the qoute box AJ?
Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 08:58 p.m.


Whoops, I went to qoute AJ but I didnt see Pb's post and qouted his by mistake. When I got to the reply with qoute box I saw Pb's post and thought somehow AJ put in some kind of secret message but it was Pb's. Understand? I didnt think so. And now I cant fix it because it says I'm not a member of this forum for some reason. Well AJ at least I have $h!t for brains.
AJ
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 09:54 p.m.


Aw now Jeffy, chill out..........at least you have some brains, I think mine are somewhere outside Istanbul in some camel dung.......! no secret message or anything, just a faint whiff of my particular brand of said organic matter, with a small dash of sarcasm added for flavor........did you log in when you replied? that could be what happened........aw don't sweat the small stuff, believe me, it's ALL small stuff....well, most of it, anyways....hang loose! heehee

Namaste!
AJ

Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 19, 2003 10:43 p.m.



AJ (Aug 19, 2003 09:54 p.m.):


aw don't sweat the small stuff, believe me, it's ALL small stuff....


Namaste!
AJ


Hey! Thats what my wife says!

Jan
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 05:29 a.m.


I did not soak my RR peg, im going to try it on my noname! The chalk i got is without wax! The string is hi quality and the loop on the end is not moving at all.
Still after the new string, reworked peg, and wax free chalk the The string isnt keeping its tune like it should.
We are going in to autumn here with more humidity and a colder climate. I suspect the sitar is "moving" a bit.

My noname Sitar with a Ravi Shankar string setup has never been able to keep the tune on the thicker strings. But i suspect i can tow (?) a truck with the MA and it would still be in tune...

Jan

Danimal
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 09:39 a.m.


If I may ask, how much pressure are you putting on the peg that isn't staying in tune?

On some sitars, you really have to bear down on the peg (i.e., while turning clockwise to tighten, you also press "inwards" from the peg to the neck).

I used to use a light touch and my pegs kept slipping. Then I saw a video (Ashwin Batish) where he chalked his peg and then realllllllly cranked it into the hole! Made a really loud screeching noise.

Since then, this is the approach that I've used....when I've changed strings. I've found that once the peg is really tight in it's hole, I can tweak it sharp or flat and it won't slip. Mind you, this is on my cheap sitar (which I hope will become my "park sitar"), I'd be nervous about trying this approach on a high $$ (Euro, Peso, Rupee....) instrument.


Dan

Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 10:11 a.m.


I have the same problem with my first string one my MPS. Sometime I have to mess with it for a half hour or more before it holds and then I still cant do any major meends. And I've checked everything, I'm tempted to really tork down on the peg but I dont want to break it either. I think I use enough pressure when pushing the peg in. I guess it just one of those things about sitar.

And speaking of "PROBLEMS" I'm going to see the "Sex Pistols" this Saturday in Atlantic City. Whoo Hoo!!!!!
Hope I get to meet John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten

K.K.
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 12:55 p.m.


Jan: I'm not sure if you've ever mentioned that it is the peg slipping that is causing the string to go out of tune. Is this the case, or is the peg staying seated? The bronze or brass strings will normally go out of tune from meends, and of course is the main reason why the sitar has tuning beads.
K.K.
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 01:39 p.m.



Jeff (Aug 20, 2003 10:11 a.m.):
I have the same problem with my first string one my MPS. Sometime I have to mess with it for a half hour or more before it holds and then I still cant do any major meends.

Jeff: Same question - is the peg slipping, or is the string going out of tune even with the peg seated properly? If the peg is slipping (and you've done the chalking, sanding, etc.) then there's nothing wrong, you're just not pushing in hard enough. Remember to twist the peg as you're pushing in. If the peg is not slipping and the string is going out of tune, I suspect that you're not meending the MA string hard enough, or enough times, before you fine tune the string. If you notice on any video of your favorite master, you'll see them doing a major meend on the MA string before they ever play a note. The string really has to be tuned sharp (if it were in a relaxed state) in order for it to be in tune after you do a meend.
Excuse me if you already know this.

Jan
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 02:06 p.m.


All!

Trust me on this one, the peg is not moving at all when i do my meends, i know how much force to lay on it and its sitting there as it should. After playing it for about 30-40min. today it got where i wanted it to be. Still i think that the climat has some influence on the movement of the wood in my sitar and its ability to keep in tune.
Some days its allmost impossible to tune it and i have to play it "warm" before the strings will settle. Other days its just perfect and will only need minor adjustments on the MA.

But this time i changed the overall tune of the instrument and went down from a MA = F to MA = E, so the tension on the neck is less than it used to be.

Anyways, im where i wanted to be, the sitar is tuned and it stays in tune.


thank you all

Jan

Billy
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 05:15 p.m.



Jan (Aug 20, 2003 02:06 p.m.):
But this time i changed the overall tune of the instrument and went down from a MA = F to MA = E, so the tension on the neck is less than it used to be.
Jan

Jan,

Just wondering, when you took your tuning down, did you have a problem with your low Sa string being too loose?


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 05:48 p.m.


Hey KK,
I think the culprit in my case is that darn swan bead, either you or Stephan sent me a spare awhile ago (sorry cant remember who did)
So I've tried two different swans.
I may just try a round bead, that may be more stable. The swan just wont sit still. Come to think of it I'm sure stephan sent me the swan. Thanks again Stephan. And yes I have the sandpaper underneath of it.
Beenkarji
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 06:59 p.m.


Yeah, thats the problem with swans, they have wings so they want to fly away. Try taking it off your ma string and sanding the bottom of it so it is flatter, or the issue may be that there is too much worn off the bottom, and it doesn't grab hold until right where the string passes over the kheli, in that case, get a new swan.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
K.K.
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 20, 2003 06:59 p.m.


Hey Jeff: What gritt sandpaper are you using? If it's too fine, it will just clog and the bead won't grip it at all.
Jan
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 21, 2003 07:02 a.m.


Bill!

I have no problem what so ever with the SA. Now i get a little deeper sound and im back where i was a month a go. I have a Vilayat Khan style sitar and the lower SA on my instrument is the same as the first SA on yours.
So i dont have that problem. My noname is Pancham-Kharaj tuning. But that is just hanging on the wall waiting for me to find the time to take it apart and put it together again and make it the first ever refurbished sitar comming out of mother Norway : ) I want to set it up with Vilayat Khan tuning.
The ebony jawari is allready ordered : )

For different tuning options, Check out this nice link!

http://fn2.freenet.edmonton.ab.ca/~buhrger/sitar/tuning.html#vk


Jan

Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Aug 22, 2003 09:49 a.m.


Hey KK, I think I put grit 120 on. What do you suggest? 80 grit?
Jeffrey R King
Jan
Re:tune in, drop out... Sep 21, 2003 03:54 a.m.


Here you go Rob!

personally i like the peg soaking advice, i have not done it yet
im waiting for the darkness to settle (winter), then ill give it a go.

Jan

sitarsrule
Re:tune in, drop out... Sep 21, 2003 12:13 p.m.



Jeff (Aug 19, 2003 03:47 p.m.):
Hey Jan, they put wax in blackboard chalk so it doesnt screeeech! and make you cringe.
I dont know where your from but us Americans like our women loose and our blackboard chalk full of wax!
Speak for yourself, I'm into tight bodies, nothing loose will do. as for waxie build up, each their own desires??
K.K.
Re:tune in, drop out... Sep 25, 2003 02:48 p.m.



Jeff (Aug 22, 2003 09:49 a.m.):
Hey KK, I think I put grit 120 on. What do you suggest? 80 grit?

Jeff: Did you ever get settled with your sandpaper?

Jeff
Re:tune in, drop out... Sep 25, 2003 04:46 p.m.


Naaa,,,, I still have the same strip I put on when I first got the sitar a year ago.

Man, a whole year went by already! Time is really slipping away. Boy, I've wasted my life.

So what do you use? 80 grit? Like I said before "me thinks I have 120 on there now".
When I do change it I'm gonna try that "leather shoe" trick on the bottom of the bird. That should really do the trick.


Jeffrey R King
K.K.
Re:tune in, drop out... Sep 25, 2003 05:05 p.m.


Hey Jeff:
I don't remember off hand what grit I'm using. I'll check tonight (If I remember) I'm thinking it's around 180 - 220.
I tried the leather thing way back, didn't work for me. Maybe I used the wrong kind of leather, but it still slipped too easily. Sure would be nice to get rid of the sandpaper though.
Can anybody using the leather thing recommend what kind of leather to use?
K.K.
Re:tune in, drop out... Sep 25, 2003 05:08 p.m.


Maybe I'm lame...are you guys using the leather thing with sand paper?
Jan
Re:tune in, drop out... Sep 25, 2003 06:21 p.m.


Some use leather, some use sand paper.
If you dont want to sand down your swan you can use both, i guess...
but i have never heard about that. I use sandpaper my self, But on my old sitar i use nothing and its ok. It stays in tune no matter what i try to pull out of that string...

Jan

swansong
Re:tune in, drop out... Sep 25, 2003 07:46 p.m.


maybe you could experiment with sand paper on the tabli and a tiny strip also underneath the swan, the sandpaper should last longer than the bone swan... just an idea. it then shouldn't matter really what grit but I guess coarse would be good.
K.K.
Re:tune in, drop out... Sep 25, 2003 08:20 p.m.


Sand paper against sand paper.. ...yikes!... fingernails on the blackboard!
Neal
Re:tune in, drop out... Oct 12, 2003 05:29 p.m.


DO NOT SOAK THE PEG IN WATER, I have had to repair that mistake on many people's instruments numerous times. What is so bad?, well for starters when you soak it in water the peg begins to swell, and basically the finish cracks right off, second of all, the moisture takes a month or two to actually leave the peg, so you have to pretty much kiln dry it again. The worse news is that the peg can continue to swell if it hasn't been dried properly, and if you put it back in its proper place, good luck getting it out. Seriously, sanding a peg is not going to give you problems, thats what sitar players, and sitar-wallahs have always done. If you already jumped ahead and tried that method, I suggest you order a new peg,

Hi everyone - I have been meaning to post this for a while. I took out ALL of my sympathetic pegs and did just as Ken said. I am happy to say that for the first time in a year plus the pegs no longer slip.

Neal

AJ
Re:tune in, drop out... Oct 12, 2003 05:59 p.m.


Amen Neal!

Must be a pretty kewl change, especially if ya went thro this for an ENTIRE YEAR!
sheeeeez!

Yep, Uncle Ken knows his stuff, absolutley no doubts for me on THAT particular issue!
I have the greatest respect and appreciation for his skill, experience, and true craftsmanship, and a lot of gratitude for his help on various things presented at this forum!

Again, congratulations!
Now go and play until you get an awful blister!

AJ : )

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