INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: the perfect tool - or viola!

 

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rg
the perfect tool - or viola! Sep 08, 2003 01:00 p.m.


just thought you guys would like to know that I developed the perfect tool for grabbing the sympathetic strings through the neck - I taped a paper clip to the top of an unsharpened pencil and it worked like a charm -
since I am on - I am working out of a straight bilawal scale (f, c, G, c, g, c1 and c2) and have tuned my sympathetics a number of ways - I can't tell the difference - Since you guys have a more developed ear then I do - Is there on totally awesome way to tune the sympathetic strings which you have found that is better then all others
Billy
Re:the perfect tool - or viola! Sep 08, 2003 02:54 p.m.


I'm new too, and certainly don't have a developed ear yet.

The topic of tuning, especially tarbs, has popped up on here several times, even in the short time I've been visiting this forum. There's more than one way to do this, but I think my favorite was posted by AJ in the topic "tuning up in wv," where she described tuning the tarbs first, then the main strings (I posted a reply to that topic to bring it to the top, since this gets asked about quite often.) There are other good methods for tuning here, so do a Search on tuning for variations on the topic.

One reason AJ gives for tuning the tarbs first is because if they are a little off tune, the intonation could mislead you when tuning the mains. That's a good reason, but before I followed her method, I would just tie a thin strip of cloth around the neck, underneith the mains to silence the tarbs. No, the reason I like this method is it seems to make it easier to ensure the tarbs intonate with the mains, because you can tell if the the SA mainstring, for example, sets off the SA tarbs. So obviously you wouldn't want to put that strip of cloth around the tarbs, as you are using them as a tool to check your tuning. I guarantee you, it doesn't take a trained ear to hear those tarbs singing with the mains!

I've started compiling some of the tuning posts I've found, and will some day go through and edit them into a file (with contributers appropriately noted) which I will post as a more permanent reference. Just don't look for it anytime soon, its down about midway in my IN box.....

Oh yeah, I had to come back to edit this, another reason its cool to tune the tarbs first, especially if you're tuning all of them, is you can have the mains lossened a little so you can more easily reach between them to strike the tarbs. I've tried several different methods, we even discussed it on here once, but I never found an easy way to get to all the tarbs with tight mains.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Stephen
Re:the perfect tool - or viola! Sep 09, 2003 08:00 a.m.


Billy,
You're going to have to grow that little fingernail so that you can reach the tarab. It only has to extend just a bit beyond the tip of your pinkie. Your strings should be near to in tune when you tune the tarab, for if you make more coarse adjustments, with the flex of the neck, all of the tarab tuning will be lost. As far as grabbing the tarab through the peg hole, I used to use the hooked wire technique which works fine, crochet needles don't work very well as the hook isn't long enough. Then someone on this forum had a spark of genius and suggested long-nosed hemostats, which work VERY well. I am going to stress this again for all of the folks that continue to cram that peg into it's hole until it locks in place, you are introducing unneccesary wear and strain on your instrument. If your peg is well chalked, it should stay in place with very little inward force for the duration of your day's practice. If you are expecting it to hold overnight, remember that that is when most temperature change is going to take place. You should tune your tarab before each play anyway and it really doesn't take much at all to seat it for the duration of that play. If you are having trouble with this, I would bet that your water faucet washers wear out very quickly as well. Just enough is enough. Remember that you are using the same principle to seat your kunti as you would use to split firewood.
Billy
Re:the perfect tool - or viola! Sep 09, 2003 09:57 a.m.



Stephen (Sep 09, 2003 08:00 a.m.):
Billy,
You're going to have to grow that little fingernail so that you can reach the tarab. It only has to extend just a bit beyond the tip of your pinkie. Your strings should be near to in tune when you tune the tarab, for if you make more coarse adjustments, with the flex of the neck, all of the tarab tuning will be lost.

I've already grown my little finger nail out a little, and yes, it does make it easier to reach under to strike the tarbs in general, but its still hard for me to pick individual tarbs for tuning that way. Guess it will take practice.

However, as for tuning tarbs before mains, if I do have my mains tight at the time, I use a large paper clip to reach between the mains to pluck the tarbs. Whether the mains are tight or loose, I still think tuning the tarbs prior to tuning the mains is a great way to go. At least it works best for me.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Danimal
Re:the perfect tool - or viola! Sep 11, 2003 03:12 p.m.


Hey, lookit that...I'm a genius!!

Seriously, though, the long-nosed hemostat is the best tool in the world for this sort of operation (pardon the pun).

.....getting one may be problematic, though, if you aren't in the Med/Surg field.

Dan

Stephen
Re:the perfect tool - or viola! Sep 11, 2003 04:05 p.m.


Hobby shops, jewelry suppliers, head shops all have hemostats for sale. American Scientific (search for scientific surplus usually has them in the $2-5 range). Buy a dozen and hand them out to all of your sitar playing buddies.
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