I was fascinated by everyone's feedback on the upper tumba and think it deserves its own thread. The upper tumba if made of gourd must have some effect on the sound, here is why.... I play rudra veena, and if I take off the toomba the instrument is almost inaudible, however I did a little exspearmint (yes it makes a good chutney....) and with my tumba-less veena I held a spun wood sitar gourd to where I normally attach my gourds, and indeed there was a huge difference in volume. Next I used a larger gourd upper tumba from a sitar, and even more volume was achieved, so here is my theory on the volume.... I think it is partially the porous nature of a natural tumba, and partially the size that affects volume. So basically the larger the tumba you have, the greater the sound, use your own rudra veena to see this for yourself....lol Also about sanding to produce superior tone, actually sanding is what can dull the tone, ever notice how a sitar or even violin is not sanded smooth on the inside? The reason is, when you sand the instrument the dust gets trapped in the pores of the wood, and essentially dulls the sound, so the better solution wood be to use very fine carving tools on the inside to achieve a smoother interior. The exterior of course has to be sanded, and it does take its toll on the tone, but not as much as the inside. Personally, if it were up to me, I would leave the kunti end of the dand open, and have holes on the table much like a saraswati veena, if fact I am a bit inspired now, maybe I will call up my friend in miraj and have him do that....lol
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
Maybe slightly offtopic, but in the eighties I read an interview with bassplayer Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth Band, Mr Big and Talas) and he had used a vice (big clamp to hold an object your working on) clamped to his headstock to increase the volume and sustain. He discovered this by accident, when his headstock touched a wall when he was playing, so he attached a vice to his headstock (must have ruined the balance I think). Also I saw some adds of a manufactor who offered brass plates you could attach to you headstock to increase volume and sustain, so I think the upper tumba makes sense...
Hey Beenkarji, the rudra veena has two big gourds/wood tombas right? I wonder what one of those would sound like on a sitar...
I've seen some pics of sitars on the web where there is a sizeable hole in the tabli below the tarabs, much like a guitar. I read that it made the sitar really loud. Maybe the upper tomba has a similar (perhaps lesser) effect? Can't remember where I saw that site, I was googling. Sitting infront of a wall really makes a difference though.
Well as far as the tabli, I was thinking more in the line of three round holes like on an oud, with elegant scroll carvings to cover the holes. I talked with my maker last night and he was confused, so I am going to just give my friend Tony directions because he is used to making requests.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina