INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Ali Akbar College Store sitars

 

Author Message
Rob
Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 17, 2003 11:53 p.m.


I noticed that the Ali Akbar College store has a lot of sitars incuding Hemen, Hiren Roy, RikkiRam and Manoj among others. Are their instruments on site or just pictures that have to be ordered from India? Looks like they have variety of different decoration grades as well.
Has anyone played their instruments like the Hemens, Hirens and others and which did they like the best?
Seems like some of them have hefty prices.
Amitava
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 18, 2003 10:21 a.m.


Last time I visited (a few years ago) they seemed to have Hemens and Rikhi Ram's in stock. The order regulalrly from India, but the state of the inventory does not assure you with the availability.

Yes they r pricey.

As for your last question...oh lord...please look in the past threads and the current ones...Almost every opinion/maker has been touched upon.

A

Jaym
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 18, 2003 10:51 a.m.


Check out Sitar Etc and talk to Lars. He has a good array of quality instruments and is very fair in pricing. I bought a Shristi standard and he gave it alot of TLC and dropped the price by $75!
Russ
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 18, 2003 12:43 p.m.


I was out there in summer 2001 and they only had one sitar, a Hemen, on site. I don't think they keep many onhand at the store at any time. I think the pictures are representations of what they can order for you. You better believe they're pricy!
SHANTI
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 09:19 p.m.


RUSS IS A LIAR! I HAVE BEEN STUDYING AT ALI AKBAR COLLEGE FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS, EVERY TIME YOU GO INTO THE STORE THERE ARE SO MANY INSTRUMENTS YOU CAN BARELY WALK ACROSS THE ROOM .AT NO TIME HAS THERE BEEN ANY FEWER THAN 50 SITARS ON SITE, NOT TO MENTION SARODES HARMONIUMS SURBAHARS , AND THE LARGEST SELECTION OF TABLAS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD INCLUDING INDA. I WOULD SAY RUSS HAS NEVER EVEN BEEN TO THE AACM STORE.
Jette
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 09:30 p.m.


Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?Doesn't Shanti mean peace?

Jette

SHANTI
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 09:38 p.m.


YES SHANTI DOES MEAN PEACE , IT IS ALSO MY NAME. I AM JUST TRYING TO ANSWER THE ORIGINAL QUESTION HONESTLY. THERE IS NO WAY RUSS MADE AN HONEST MISTAKE ABOUT THE NUMBER OF SITARS IN THE STORE
Jette
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 09:41 p.m.


You're wrong. Russ is a New Mexican!

And from all his past posts - much more polite and respectful than your post reflected of you.

Jette


RUSS IS A LIAR!

SHANTI
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 09:47 p.m.


RUSS MAY BE A NEW MEXICAN AND VERY RESPECTFUL, HOWEVER WHAT HE POSTED IS NOT TRUE NOW NOR WAS IT TRUE IN 2001. WHAT IS HIS INTREST IN INTENTIONALY MISLEADING SOMEONE TRYING TO BUY A MUSICAL INSRTUMENT. AND WHAT IS YOUR INTREST IN DEFENDING HIM
Jette
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 09:47 p.m.


And you're telling me there are more Tablas at the AACM store than in ALL of India?

Okee-Dokee. Yes-sir-ee.

AND THE LARGEST SELECTION OF TABLAS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD INCLUDING INDA.

SHANTI
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 09:54 p.m.


ABSOLUTELY!
THE AACM STORE HAS MORE TABLAS IN STOCK THAN ANY OTHER SINGLE STORE, INCLUDING TABLA STORES IN INDIA.
IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IT COME VISIT THE SCHOOL YOURSELF, OR GIVE THEM A CALL IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THEM SEND YOU A PHOTO.
Jette
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 09:58 p.m.


Perhaps he made an honest mistake. Perhaps you might have addressed it as such...Hi Russ, I respectfully beg to differ. I have been at AACM for 5 years and there is ALWAYS a very large selection of instruments...

I don't think he has any vested interest in his observation of AACM. Just look at his 'Fair and Balanced" posts from the last 2 years and you will see that. Do you think that maybe he just made a mistake? Maybe he's human?

I am not defending him. I was just shocked that another human being would call someone a LIAR without even asking a few follow up questions. Oh well. Enough said.

PEACE Shanti

Jette
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 10:01 p.m.


You're wrong. Russ is a New Mexican!

And from all his past posts - much more polite and respectful than your post reflected of you.

Jette


RUSS IS A LIAR!

shanti
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 10:54 p.m.


perhaps you are right, I should not have called russ a liar, so I appoligize. it is just that I was offended that someone would post something so incorrect. maybe russ was mistaken about visiting the aacm. it would be impossible for anyone who has been there to believe there is only 1 sitar in stock, must have been somewhere else.
I still stand by the claim that the store has a larger selection of tablas and probably most other north indian classical instruments than any other store in the world.
peace
Russ
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 19, 2003 11:35 p.m.


Whew, feels a little like somebody is angry with me! Sorry if I upset you. OK, here is the source of my statement.

In late August of 2001, my mother and I drove out to California, specifically to San Rafael and to the AACM. I had heard so much about it, I just had to see the place. So, we decided to make a vacation drive out of it. I spoke with Bruce the store manager who was very busy repairing more tablas than I've ever seen in my life. I mean, they were hanging from the roof, all over the floors and tables. Had to be careful not to step on them! The AACM store appears to be a converted two-story apartment building just off a busy street filled with tourists, and the store itself appears to once have been a garage. Very busy and very cluttered that day. Khansahib has his teaching area set up on the second floor at the top of the stairs, just outside the store area. Very hard to find a place to park off that busy tourist street. So, I asked to park in front of the store, just off the strett, where their resident tablaya has his own private parking spot. He was gone that day, so they were nice enough to let me park in his spot. There was one very nice Hemen standing near the corner of the store, marked $2,000. I asked the student working there why so much, and he told me its the name and pointed to the very fancy carving on it. I asked to play it for a moment, and he let me. I asked him after that if they had any others to compare to, and he said no, not at the moment. But they were expecting a new shipment in the following week. So, I bought a T-shirt with sarode on lotus, a new set of strings for my old sitar, and two new mizrabs out of the large "bottle" full of mizrabs by the cash register. My mom and I stayed perhaps an hour and a half, and then drove on towards the redwoods of Bodega Bay on the coast further north. We made a pleasant day out of it.

So, that was one day out of my summer vacation in all of its detail. I am many things, but I am most definitely not a liar. AACM appears to have a lot to offer, but that one day, there was without doubt only one sitar in that store. And on that point, I stand firm!

shanti
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 20, 2003 12:35 a.m.


that is without a doubt not true I have no idea why you would even claim such a thing. there is alway over 50 sitars for sale in the building either in the store or in the room upstairs that has shelvs to the roof on every wall that are 4 sitars deep, and two full storage sheds filled with instruments that have never even been looked at yet. the store has never had only 1 sitar on hand and they always have a range of cheaper sitars available from about $350 and up . I have been attending the shcool 3 days a week for over 5 years and often help unload the shipments. the display in the store consists of a wall dedicated to sitars and has never been empty.
Russ
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 20, 2003 12:53 a.m.


I can only tell you what I saw and heard. Perhaps then you should respond to the original poster's questions, and I will depart this thread.
Bruce
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 20, 2003 10:59 p.m.


Hello. I am Bruce Hamm, manager of the Ali Akbar College Store. I have been studying with Ali Akbar Khan since 1974. I have been teaching at the College, and managing the Store, since 1982. This Forum was just pointed out to me and I have been browsing it today. It seems to be mostly a buddy club for Lars Jacobsen and his new business. That is fine with me. I�m all in favor of people starting new businesses. I�m sure Lars works hard, gets good stuff and provides good customer service. There are however, some real untruths about the AACM Store floating around here that I find offensive.
First of all, in answer to the original question, we have in stock all the sitars that we advertise. We usually have in stock 50 plus sitars. They are on display in the Store, which is in the basement (�garage�) of the College. Anyone can come in and play as many sitars (or harmoniums or whatever) in a practice room upstairs for as long as they want. For someone to assert that we have only one sitar on display, or that we have only pictures on the web page of stuff that we order is ridiculous. The whole point is that all sitars need some attention after they get here from India. We clean them, restring them and if they need jawari, we send them up to Brian Godden. We don�t sell any sitar �as is�.
In another thread, it was suggested (by �Russ�, who claims to have only seen one sitar when he was here) and I quote �Unless you establish yourself as seasoned player to the manager,they will sell you "something" off their shelf at great expense.� (this was in the "who can you trust" thread) Now I don�t know who this �Russ� is, but he obviously doesn�t know me. I have spent 20 years patiently teaching beginners here. If I (or we) didn�t care about customers, I�d be selling cars, not sitars.I'd sure be making a lot more money, too. I find it offensive that �Russ� would use �me� to promote whatever his agenda is.
Which leads to my last point. There is a belief promulgated here that the AACM Store is somehow more expensive than anybody. Let�s examine the facts and compare prices between AACM Store, Buckingham, Kala Kendra and Lars� store. We�ll leave out Mid-East because we all know what level of quality they have.
Kala Kendra sells sitars from $399 to $999. But they don�t tell you who makes them. We sell sitars from $400 to $2500. We tell you the maker�s name.
Buckingham sells Radha Krishas (but they call them something else) for $600 to $745. We sell Radha Krishnas for $520 to $750. We make no bones about them, but call them a decent beginning instrument, which they are, especially after we fiddle with them.
Buckingham sells a Mangla #1 tun for $1250, and teak for $1495. We sell a Mangla Prasad #1 tun for $1200. I�ve never been taken with teak wood instruments. We also have a #3 for $600 and a #2 for $850. On the subject of Mangla Prasad�s, Peter C, quite skillfully promoted them as being �better than the Hiren Roys and Hemens �. That they never were. Both the ones we have gotten and the ones that landed in Brian Godden�s shop for work are not in that league. They are a decent mid range sitar � in my opinion not as good as Manoj Kumar Sardars. We sell Manoj�s for $600 to $1200.
Lars� shop � Sitarsetc sells sitars from a maker that I�m not familiar with for $795 to $1500. I have no quarrels with that. Now that he has announced that he is getting a Hiren Roy he is backing off from bashing them. Hmmm.
We sell Hemens and Hiren Roys (and Rikhi Rams sometimes) in the $1500 � $2000 range. They are still the best. The people who put them down tend to be the ones who are pushing some other �new� product.
So it seems that the AACM Store is not so �pricey�. And I�m sure no one spends the prep time on each sitar that we do. How many people in this country can do a good jawari? Not many. One of them, Brian Godden, works for us and has for the last 20 years.
Billy
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 21, 2003 12:45 a.m.



Bruce (Sep 20, 2003 10:59 p.m.):
It seems to be mostly a buddy club for Lars Jacobsen and his new business.

Bruce,

I have no way that I can chime in on either side of this discussion; I believe Russ is quite sincere, and don't believe he has any agenda against the AACM school or its store. On the other hand, I don't know you, but you also seem quite sincere and more than willing to back up what you say. I don't know what it would take to settle this other than some third party come visit and verify what kind of stock the store has, but that would be silly.

What I really want to comment on was your mention of this site being "a buddy club for Lars." Yes, there are a few of us who have purchased sitars from Lars, and we are very vocal about our feelings about the great service Lars has provided. But I believe if you go back and tally the posts of those who have praised his service, you would find it actually came from just a few members here. Other members praise other dealers.

It was Lars customer service that convinced me even before I had decided to buy a new sitar, that convinced me to buy one from him when I was ready. Even when I was also considering sitars from other dealers, when speaking him personally, he was quite frank about his sitars compared to the other dealers' sitars in the same price range, and I honestly nearly bought one of these instead of one from him. Again, it was his help that won me over, and I am quite satisfied and vocal about my purchase. If my postings about Lars, along with the few others that have posted about him makes this a "buddy club", then I'm quite confused what your criteria for such a designation might be.

I hope to some day visit the AACM school and store the next time I'm in California and see for myself. Meanwhile, if all you say is true, I hope anyone looking for a new sitar seriously considers making a purchase there. Perhaps we can then have a AACM "buddy club", as well as "buddy clubs" for all the other dealers members of this forum have purchased sitars from.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Matt
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 21, 2003 01:05 a.m.


Damn - this place is getting hostile!
Jan
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 21, 2003 05:03 a.m.


This is a Sitar forum, its a buddy club for all, welcome to the forum Bruce! I hope you stick around and are willing share your knowledge with us, like so many others do...

When it comes to Sitarsetc there is nothing else going on here than Lars giving good advice and service. And doing that has put him on the Sitar dealer map for us in the forum.

Since you are here Bruce, can you tell me what Cryogenic strings are?


jan

Remco
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 21, 2003 10:31 a.m.


At least I'm glad Shanti had his capslock function repaired on his keyboard....

Cheez...

"Peace"

Remco

Jeff
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 21, 2003 12:38 p.m.


Hi Bruce,
This forum was going on way before he "Lars" started "Sitarsetc,,,".

As far as MPS sitars go I have a Rose Petal tun model and it doesnt seem mid range to me. I've also been told by a few "real players that it is one of the nicest sitars they've ever played.

I wish I could go and check out the AACM store in person, but I live in NJ and have no real reason to travel to California.

Maybe you could also put up more detailed photos on the store web site. Many of us love to just look at the pics an dream. I go to sitarsetc,, and Buckinghams site many times just to look at the pics. It sort of like when you were a kid and you would drool over the Sears wish book catalog around Christmas time.

Sure Lars is my netisen buddy and so was Peter C. there's nothing wrong with that. If Lars sold a piece of crap to someone it would be known here right away, but so far everyone seems happy. I've talked to him a few times on the phone and through e-mail and he's a nice guy, not that you said he wasn't.
I've never been to your store but I'm sure its a great place.

So if you have the time, hang out here sometimes and join the discussions. We welcome everyone.


Jeffrey R King
Matt
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 21, 2003 03:21 p.m.


Bruce, a question for you -

A few months back, the only lotus Ts you had were a yellowish color, which I bought. Unfortunately, one of my dogs got a hold of it and added a nice hole to the design. Do you have any in stock?

Jeff
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 21, 2003 05:26 p.m.


Anybody know where to get tee's with a sitar on 'em?
I always meant to get the sarode one from AACM but never got around to ordering it.
Jeffrey R King
swansong
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 21, 2003 10:40 p.m.


I totally agree with Jeff- I sometimes can't help but want to look at sitars and admire the beautiful curves and the light glistening off the tabli, and just pretty much fantasize... I think all makers would benefit IMMENSELY by putting more than 1-2 pictures on their website, I mean wouldn't that be obvious?? Especially with something as expensive and unique as a musical instrument you would need some sort of visual and if possible, sonic experience (hint hint) before you shell out the dough and choose one to bond with. I think it would be wonderful if AACM could have at least one or two more small pictures to give a better idea of what you're getting. Also, I tried to look at the Mangla on the shop site and the pic says "BOO!" I didn't really laugh, so maybe I don't get the point...
Tom
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 06:13 a.m.


I agree this forum seems to be geared towards steering any new Sitar buyer to Sitar Etc. Couple userIDs always steer buyers to certain dealers not sure what affiliation they have to those particular dealers.

This forum needs a wider participation for opinions than been dominated by 4-5 buddies that steer every new comer to a particular direction.

pb
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 09:37 a.m.


Hey Bruce,
regarding Lars' buddy club, it could easily be the aacm buddy club too, join us more often than dropping in to defend your honour (although I don't think it needs defending apart from the price point of view). BTW sometimes staff do strange things.

I had a friend who used to work in ladies shoes. He would pretend to look in the back for a clients size while having a smoke. Not really looking at all, he would return to the customer to say that there were not any of that size.

One more thing Bruce (I think I spoke with you on the phone once, and you were very helpful), regarding the web site: although you probably do most of your business in the Cali area, many of us would like more info than a thumb nail pic and a caption to convince us. Give each one a page and a write up. (This should be database driven anyway out of your inventory system. It's not that difficult. Some would do it for a sitar )

Please hang around or lurk more often.

Pb

Billy
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 10:01 a.m.



Tom (Sep 22, 2003 06:13 a.m.):
This forum needs a wider participation for opinions than been dominated by 4-5 buddies that steer every new comer to a particular direction.

Obviously, since I bought a great beginner's sitar from Sitars,Etc., received great service, and have not bought a great beginner's sitar elsewhere, I have no reason to stear a new-comer elsewhere. I can only respond based on my limited experience.

If you have had such a great purchase experience at AACM or anywhere else, the fix to this is for you to hang around and give your opinions about your experiences. Others have given such opinions about their experiences. It just happened that myself and a couple of others have bought sitars from Lars in the last couple of months, so yes, we are actively writing about our experiences and giving our opinions.

This sort of situation is not unique to this forum, or to sitar purchases.

By the way, I have always made the point that I am a beginner, and my suggestions and reviews of my purchase from Sitars, Etc. are based on a beginner's point-of-view. But I do stand by my opinion that Lars did a great job filling my needs, and I can't be happier with my purchase.

I enjoy online forums, and post quite often. No doubt many of my posts include information about Sitars, Etc., adding to the illusion that there is some sort of "Buddy Club".

Please help out by posting your experiences with the other dealers, and help this forum grow.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Jeff
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 11:29 a.m.


Hi Bruce,,,,
Before Lars, Peter C. of Buckingham was the only dealer here actively participating in the discussions and quite a few of us bought MPS sitars from him. (Dont Sand It Off KK !!!) We got to know him, he helped us out with questions on this forum and on the phone (he never got bored or irritated with my stupid
questions) and we found he was a likable guy.
Now Lars is always here for us and some of just go with him on our purchase, not all, just some. Someone here just bought a sitar off of e-bay not lars. I plan to get my next sitar off of him, but I'm sure there will be some that won't.
A few people got Srishtis off of Lars, higher and lower end models and I havent read a complaint yet about the quality of his offered product or his service.
I bought a tanpura machine off of him a while back at a very good price and it arrived so quickly I didnt have time to pace the floor waiting in anticipation.

The point of this rambling is,,,
Lars gets our patronage because he's here. Before that Buckingham, its seems to me that since Buckingham no longer participates on this forum they have lost alot of buisness if not all from us.
If you are here here for us Bruce, I'm sure you will sell some sitars. This forum is growing slowly and we are getting more and more regulars but there is also alot of drop in lurkers who come than go, never to be heard from again.

So Bruce, hang out and become a "buddy?". We welcome everyone, even "Ted" .

Just joking Ted!


Jeffrey R King
Jan
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 04:51 p.m.


Seriously people!

This forum has thousands of messages going some years back.
One or two containing something else then personal preferences of where to buy Sitars, if i remember correctly.

Its about sharing experienses and advice.

Why dont you people chill out and focus on something different than where people are doing their shopping?
Is it a problem that some students at the AACM are buying sitars there? Or that some internet users are buying from Lars?
What about all the sitars sold from Silverbush? thats really freaking me out, i bet ya that he is pushing sitars
on innocent people. Im not mentioning Rikhi Ram (eh..ups) I think they must have sold a lot after that Beatles thing, and that just makes me raving mad.

Get some sense into your pumpkins girls.


Jan

Estiven
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 05:12 p.m.


I'm sorry I have to do this....

I can't resist
....quoting another Californian,

"...can't we all just get along?"

Jeff
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 06:11 p.m.



Jan (Sep 22, 2003 04:51 p.m.):
Seriously people!


Its about sharing experienses and advice.

Get some sense into your pumpkins girls.


Jan


"Sharing experience and advice" Isnt that just what we're doing here right now?


Jeffrey R King
Billy
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 06:58 p.m.


Its become a circular argument. There's a phrase that gives me the willies every time I hear it, its so over used, but why don't we all just "agree to disagree??"
Namaste',
Billy Godfrey
Sitars Etc. Fan Club, Beginners Division
K.K.
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 07:45 p.m.



Billy (Sep 22, 2003 06:58 p.m.):
Its become a circular argument. There's a phrase that gives me the willies every time I hear it, its so over used, but why don't we all just "agree to disagree??"

"There ain't no good guys - there ain't no bad guys,
there's only you & me..."

kalyan
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 10:00 p.m.


I think some of you may have missed the point we just heard of this site a few days ago from a student who said that someone said we (the aacm) did not stock many sitars ,that the pictures on the site just represent sitars we can order from india, he also said he was here in person to verify this.this and his other stament about the us only selling good stuff to people that could prove themselvs to the manager are just not true. so we dicided to dispute this. in a day or so we will have a picture on our sit that will show exactly what our store looks like.

as for sitars ect I am sure that lars deserves all the good feedback he has recieved. I have been to his site it has a lot of good info and his instruments look good.
please excuse me not editing this post got to run to class

Billy
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 10:15 p.m.


sigh.
Billy
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 22, 2003 10:50 p.m.


You know what, even though I don't care much for Michigan, I wish I was still there. All we are trying to do is deflate a situation, but people keep pushing and pushing. Personally, I got the point the first time it was posted, but apparently certain persons didn't get my point.

I just had a heart attack a month and a half ago, and I don't need these bad vibes. I'm taking a time-out. Someone write and tell me when its safe to return.


Namaste',
Billy Godfrey
Sitars Etc. Fan Club, Beginners Division
Neal
Agreed? Sep 23, 2003 02:47 p.m.


Hi everyone - I agree with Billy. Let's all agree to be respectful. There's too much hatred and nonsense in the world. Let us as brothers (and sisters) of ICM transcend that. If we can't, who can? If you have a differing opinion than someone else, that's okay. Let's all just make an effort to be helpful, supportive and respectful of those differences. Agreed?

Neal

P.S. I think it's safe to return, Billy.

You know what, even though I don't care much for Michigan, I wish I was still there. All we are trying to do is deflate a situation, but people keep pushing and pushing. Personally, I got the point the first time it was posted, but apparently certain persons didn't get my point.

I just had a heart attack a month and a half ago, and I don't need these bad vibes. I'm taking a time-out. Someone write and tell me when its safe to return.[/quote]

Remco
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 23, 2003 04:50 p.m.


It's pretty amazing to a couple of newcommers (with their own agenda) screw up this forum and chase away the regular visitors..... to bad.....
Hope that a more peacefull atmosphere will return. Cheez... we all play pretty uncommon music (at least here in The Netherlands), so fellowmusicians with a similair interest are difficult to find.....
I'm just waiting for a new fight between, say, Vilayat Khan and Ravi admirers....

Peace,

Remco

Bruce
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 23, 2003 06:00 p.m.


Since a lot of people asked me questions after my previous post, I will attempt to answer all at once. I don�t have time to do this every day. First of all, the �buddy club� thing was an observation, not a put down. You will notice that I didn�t say anything derogatory about Lars or his business. In fact, as someone whose main passion is playing this music., I think the more people promoting the music and instruments the better. I was trying to correct some negative insinuations from certain sides. But there is definitely no point in beating a dead horse.

More specifically, to Matt � no we haven�t reordered the T-shirts. To jan � cryogenic wire is wire that is put in a vault and frozen down to absolute zero. They started doing it with tools (to make them stronger) and then guitar players tried it on their wire and liked it. So we (it was Brian�s idea) tried it. I think it makes steel wire a little brighter, has not much effect on bronze. But alas, as with the T-shirts we haven�t reordered recently. And to �pb�, yes, staffing can be difficult.

To all the people who requested more photos and info on the web page, you are right. I�ve been thinking that for a long time. It�s just a question of time. We have a lot of stuff not even listed on the web page: 3 models of Manoj sitars, 3 models of Mangla sitars, several nice P Bros sitars and a Vichitra Vina by Mangla Prasad. So stay tuned.

Bruce Hamm
AACM Store

Lars
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Sep 23, 2003 08:19 p.m.


Hi Bruce and everyone....
Have seen all of these posts..., kind of took a nasty turn. Russ is a friend of mine and has been for years and in fact he was one of the first to frequent this board. However, he does not own one of my instruments and is not a member of my 'buddy club'. The fact that his post irritated some people has nothing to do with me so please, next time leave me out of it...
Russ has been a great help to others with playing and also in promoting artists that come to our country.

I fully support Bruce's right to counter any comments, I would have done the same. I do not condone any negative public comments about anyone in this business, even Mid-East. If someone wants to post a review of my instruments, of course I would encourage them to, regardless of what they say but I always ask that negative references to other stores not be posted and if I use a review for the website, I edit those out. People should indeed go where they feel most comfortable...As with Bruce, I am too busy to get into this stuff. I like to browse the site regularly and chat a little or offer some help only for the most part. I run the business full time as well as a 'normal' day job and family to take care of but I should take a little time to counter a few statements made by Bruce in a respectful way since it was brought up.

Regarding Hiren Roy, I have not been a fan of them since Hemangshu Roy passed away. I understand that the current owner, Barun Roy is doing a good job these days and after hearing from an associate in Calcutta that they are turning out nicely, I've decided to try one. I in fact own a 45 year old Hiren Roy and love it.

My criteria for buying instruments is that they be made specifically for me and acceptance of the instrument is subject to final approval by one of my partners in India. If a popular maker is willing to do business in this fashion, then I am willing to try them.

As far as Srishti being an unknown maker, please refer to a previous post by Amitava about the methods used for making most sitars in Calcutta and elsewhere. In fact, the Hiren Roy shop is the only main shop in Calcutta that makes all of their own instruments completely. The rest have the bodies, penwork, carving, jawari, etc. done by different craftsmen who work wherever and whenever they're needed. This can actually be a good thing as each segment can be done by those with the most experience. So based on this, we can safely call most makers in Calcutta unknown....This would include Mangla Prasad Sharma, P&B, Manoj, Radhey Shyam Sharma (Benares), etc.....!

Speaking of Mangla Prasad Sharma, he does good work. But he will make a cheap sitar as well and does. In support of my friend and the business he built, Peter Cutchey had the higher end versions. I personally know the man who picked out the wood for them and gave it to Mr. Sharma. The type of wood makes all the difference in both quality of sound and price as well. A sitar made from wood aged less than 5 years is considerably cheaper than one made from wood that's 15+ years old. With any maker, you can get a lemon or a peach. The key is quality control and it has to start in India.

To some of our friends posting here, I would repectfully ask that you not post messages hinting at agendas and alternate ID's and such by me or people connected with me. This has been done by a few fans of AACM. Remember that I am of the same
gharana/tradition and I have an ethical standard that borders on the extreme and would never do such a thing nor do I need to promote my business by bashing others. I have the greatest respect for Ali Akbar Khan and his tradition. His music has influenced many and he has been successful in promoting ICM as can been seen by the high level of musicianship by many of his students and disciples.

As Bruce said, promoting Indian Classical music is the goal.....


Lars
Chalisa
Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 09, 2003 07:31 p.m.


Regarding Ali Akbar Khan - this is not a flame. They have a well-deserved reputation for keeping their best stuff off the shelf - reserving their good stuff for close friends and associates. I agree that most of the shops in the USA sell junk. But that doesn't negate the fact of 4 and 500% mark-ups and a raft of generic stuff for those not wealthy enough to buy Hemen or Hiren Roy. I've personally seen khols and dhotaras from Ali Snackbar Khan's place that were unplayable tourist junk.
Recently I was playing on the East Coast. I fell across a music shop that will remain unamed so I can't be accused of starting a "fan club". I was in buying some CDs (Ali Akbar Khan ironically) and two teachers from Ali Akbar Khan Music college came in and purchased a shelf of shruti boxes. When I asked them why they didn't buy them from the school they taught at - they said the East Coast dealer gave a price that was better than AAMC even after teacher discount and that when they bought shruti boxes at AACM - they had to return 6 out of 10 of them because they were so bekar (useless).
Billy
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 09, 2003 11:56 p.m.



Chalisa (Oct 09, 2003 07:31 p.m.):
Recently I was playing on the East Coast. I fell across a music shop that will remain unamed so I can't be accused of starting a "fan club".

Hi,

Thanks for the posting. However, this concerns me greatly. One of the great things about this forum is finding out where to get the great buys of great equipment. All of a sudden, a couple of guys from AACM voice some compaints, rightly so or not, and they mention a "Sitar Etc Fan Club" just because a couple of us had just bought sitars from him and were vocal about our happiness with his service, and now people don't want to post about their experiences elsewhere?

Please understand, I'm not picking on you or anything, I fully understand that you are just trying to stay neutral and not take sides. Me too. Yes, I had a great experience with my purchase from Lars, and in the unlikely event that in the future I'm ready and able to buy another sitar, or anything else, chances are it will come from him, UNLESS, I find a better price somewhere from someone I could trust. I have no problem saying this, Lars knows that I would do this, but like any good retailer, I'm sure he will do what he can to retain my business.

But, I might really miss out on knowing about some of the better prices and service elsewhere if people fear posting about them. So I hope you reconsider. If you don't, I completely understand, and no hard feelings.


Namaste',
Billy Godfrey
Billy
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 09, 2003 11:56 p.m.


Oops, somehow the double-posting bug bit me, so I deleted this one to save scrolling....
prabhu
Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 10, 2003 11:24 a.m.


There is something to what chalisa says - but to be fair,
it should be noted that every dealer keeps a few of the standout pieces for regular customers. It's totally understandable. What I object to - is that many of the makers of Indian instruments won't MAKE you the best piece they are capable of making no matter HOW much you pay them. That's why places like Ali Akbar Khan and Srishti are so important. They have the "clout" with Rikhi Ram, Hiren Roy etc. to get the good stuff. I have been told time and again by good players - that even after years of buying from AAMC (no great favorite of mine) that if they don't go in "in person" the stuff shipped to them will never be the best piece available. Yet, I think it fair to say - that it's only human nature (not nessasarily ethical) to save the best stuff for the customer who makes the effort to come in person. I also would say that one has to expect that AAMC would have higher prices than Srishti because of the enormous overhead involved. A guy can sell great stuff at reasonable prices while selling out of his house. But if he keeps doing such a good job - sooner or later he will go to being a full-time retailer and business logic dictates that he will in all likelyhood have raise prices.
The great thing about small dealers is that they will always go to great lengths to give customer support. When a large staff is in place - there will be miscommuunications and customers will sometimes fall through the cracks. Swaha! Just rememer: It's easy to sit at a computer and criticize. Doing business with Indian companies and consistanly getting high quality stuff for customers is really a Herculean job. Anyone who manages to get the good stuff here and in one piece deserves credit - no matter how expensive they may be.


Chalisa (Oct 09, 2003 07:31 p.m.):
Regarding Ali Akbar Khan - this is not a flame. They have a well-deserved reputation for keeping their best stuff off the shelf - reserving their good stuff for close friends and associates. I agree that most of the shops in the USA sell junk. But that doesn't negate the fact of 4 and 500% mark-ups and a raft of generic stuff for those not wealthy enough to buy Hemen or Hiren Roy. I've personally seen khols and dhotaras from Ali Snackbar Khan's place that were unplayable tourist junk.
Recently I was playing on the East Coast. I fell across a music shop that will remain unamed so I can't be accused of starting a "fan club". I was in buying some CDs (Ali Akbar Khan ironically) and two teachers from Ali Akbar Khan Music college came in and purchased a shelf of shruti boxes. When I asked them why they didn't buy them from the school they taught at - they said the East Coast dealer gave a price that was better than AAMC even after teacher discount and that when they bought shruti boxes at AACM - they had to return 6 out of 10 of them because they were so bekar (useless).
pb
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 10, 2003 09:38 a.m.


Chalisa wrote>>>
Recently I was playing on the East Coast. I fell across a music shop

Hey Chalisa,
what shop was it (you can email me, my addr is in my profile). I am always interested in finding new stores with good stuff.

Pb

Bruce
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 10, 2003 07:46 p.m.


I am personally offended by the venomous post of Chalisa. Here�s why:

Sylvia Nakkach and her husband are not teachers at the Ali Akbar College. (It could only be her) She has been a student here on and off and goes around the country giving vocal seminars. Last year, she personally selected about 10 or 12 surpetis from a new shipment when it first arrived. Over time, some of them developed problems (If they are made quickly with wet wood, when the wood dries out they warp). We let her and her students exchange the defective ones. We have had problems getting good surpetis this year. Our last two shipments have been crap. But we don�t sell crap. Anyone who has called this year to order surpetis has been told point black that we don�t have any good ones to sell. We have a crate full of junk surpetis sitting in our shed, and we are waiting for a replacement shipment.

�Regarding Ali Akbar Khan - this is not a flame. They have a well-deserved reputation for keeping their best stuff off the shelf - reserving their good stuff for close friends and associates� says Chalisa. Sorry, this sure sounds like a flame to me. Its like George Bush and Co. Keep repeating a lie over and over and people will believe it whether there is any factual basis or not. I challenge anyone to relate a personal experience where we reserve our best stuff for �friends and associates�. In fact we bend over backwards to give the best service and best stuff to whoever calls. We have a completely transparent return policy. Anyone can return an instrument within 10 days of receipt for whatever reason, for a full refund. Perhaps, dear readers, you can relate to my outrage. I knock myself out for customers I don�t know, and then I read this kind of thing in this forum.

�But that doesn't negate the fact of 4 and 500% mark-ups and a raft of generic stuff for those not wealthy enough to buy Hemen or Hiren Roy.� says Chalisa. Well Chalisa, we are selling our top Hemens and Hiren Roys for $2000. If we were marking them up 500% they would be marked at $3600 to $5000. We are selling our cheapest Radha Krishna for $520. A 500% markup would mean we bought it for $85. Believe me, we pay a lot more than that. Chalisa, if you can buy Hemens and Hiren Roys for $350 and Radha Krishnas for under $100, maybe you should start your own business and get rich.

See Part 2 for more

Bruce
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 10, 2003 07:47 p.m.


Part 2

�I've personally seen khols and dhotaras from Ali Snackbar Khan's place that were unplayable tourist junk�. says Chalisa. We have good dotars and a few funky �folk� dotars. We never sell the �folk� dotar to anyone who isn�t in here, picking it out with his or her own hands. In fact, we steer people away from them. As for the khols, if your friend didn�t like it, he should have returned it. As for the �Ali Snackbar� comment, I think Chalisa reveals his true colors.

A few more things: For Billy: I was never cutting down Lars� business, as I�ve tried to say several times. I was defending my business against unfounded attacks and untrue characterizations.

And for Lars: I didn�t respond to your last post because I figured since you have seniority in this forum, I would let you have the last word. But now that things have been stirred up again let me comment on a few things you brought up.
---About Hiren Roy. When Barun took over we had a few dicey shipments. Mostly funky finish and sloppy peg work. Still good sitars, just a lot more work for Brian. After about a year, the ship had righted itself and the Hiren Roy standard was back in place. That is my experience. And most sitar players from Calcutta will still tell you that Hiren Roy has the most consistent, highest standard.
--About Mangla Prasad. I know that Mr. Sharma. When I first met him in the mid 90�s, he followed me all over Calcutta trying to get me to buy his instruments. So when we did get them, I would assume they were the best he could offer. As for Manoj/ Mangla comparisons, I have no heart for that anymore.
--About Shristi sitars. I didn�t say they were �unknown�. I said I had never heard of them. And you can read on our web page where I say there are many sitar makers we may never have heard of, many of who are capable of making a fine sitar.

Back to the main point. I maintain that our prices are not higher than anyone else�s. Any of you can do a price comparison on the web. And if Chalisa, or Russ, or Prabha has a specific, first hand experience where we have given bad customer service, or have given a �seconds� instrument to someone because they weren�t our �buddy� please let me know. I would like to check into it. I want to hear specific instances, not innuendo.

Bruce Hamm
AACM Store

Billy
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 10, 2003 08:19 p.m.



Bruce (Oct 10, 2003 07:47 p.m.):
A few more things: For Billy: I was never cutting down Lars� business, as I�ve tried to say several times. I was defending my business against unfounded attacks and untrue characterizations.

Sigh....

I have never, ever said that I thought you or anyone else was cutting down Lars. Do you guys even read my messages? I am only responding to the "fan club" phrase I keep seeing, which I feel is totally untrue.

Again:

YES! There are a few of us that that have bought sitars from Lars, are very satisfied with our purchases, and happy with the service we received. Because that handful of us have recently been vocal about that service, there is a perception that the entire board is a Sitars Etc Fan Club. Well, everybody likes Lars, whether they've bought sitars from him or not, so in a way, that might be true.

But look back at the messages; there are some obvious fans of Buckinghams, especially in Peter's day. And those people are vocal, still are. Where's the "Buckingham Fan Club" comments.

I just beleive that making people believe that the forum as a whole supports one sitar retailer is a disservice, especially to newcomers. I'm sure your comment was intended to be innocuous, but I'm just looking at the big picture, and though I still believe Lars has sold me a remarkable sitar at a great price with great service, I want it to be known that is my personal feeling, and there are other retailers out there that also give great prices and great service.

This is an equal opportunity forum, so perhaps we can drop the "fan club" phrase???

Billy

Bruce
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 10, 2003 08:47 p.m.



Billy (Oct 10, 2003 08:22 p.m.):

This is an equal opportunity forum, so perhaps we can drop the "fan club" phrase???

Billy


Agreed.

Bruce

tony
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 10, 2003 11:21 p.m.


I was told by a friend of mine that I should check out this forum because I would find the ongoing dispute about the AACM interesting as I am a long time customer, and have studied there a few times. After reading this thread I would like to share my experience with everyone.
I first bought a hemen 1 piece sarode from them about 9 years ago at firs I was very nervous about buying an instrument over the phone sight unseen. After many conversations with Bruce and Brian I finally went ahead, when it arrived I could not believe how beautiful it was. I immediately showed it to a friend and long time player who said it was one of the nicest he had ever seen even better than the one he had bought from Hemen in person.
Since I have bought many instruments from them a hiren roy sitar an instrumental tanpura by hemen and many tablas of all pitches. Every time I have ordered from them they have given me great service and top of the line merchandise. The only time I got something I did not like was a merdungum with the metal hooks because the hooks make it very uncomfortable on the hands, it was no problem returning it for a full refund. I have had many tablas repaired by Kalyan he always dose a great job.
When I finally made it out there to study with Ali Akbar Khan for the first time I was amazed at how many instruments they had in that tiny store, for an someone who plays indian classical music it is like disneyland.
I purchased a tabla from buckingham when they first started out and was very disappointed it was dead sounding and nowhere near the pitch I wanted. Eventually I sent it to Kalyan at the AACM to have a new head put on it he call me and said it probably just needed balancing and to be pulled up to pitch he only charged me $10 when I got it back it sounded 100% better though not as resonant as the cal drums from the AACM.
Anyone interested in north indian classical should try to make it out to
learn from Ali Akbar Khan.
Also I would request that people never refer to the great Ousted Ali Akbar Khan
as Ali snackbar . Try to have a little respect.
tony
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 10, 2003 11:25 p.m.


sorry that is Ustad Ali Akbar Khan my spell check screwed that up
Jeff
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 11, 2003 12:24 a.m.


Hey Bruce,
How many Surbahars you have in stock? I'm just curious, and what maker/makers do you prefer?
I may be shopping for one in the next year or so.
You can e-mail me personally about this if yo wish.
My addy is in my profile.
Thanks.........
Jeffrey R King
chalisa
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 11, 2003 11:32 a.m.


[quote]Bruce (Oct 10, 2003 07:46 p.m.):
I am personally offended by the venomous post of Chalisa. Here�s why:

Sylvia Nakkach and her husband are not teachers at the Ali Akbar College. (It could only be her) She has been a student here on and off and goes around the country giving vocal seminars.
Hi Bruce,
No venom here. Just the some facts and some
misquided folks - perhaps. Don't know if the folks claiming to be teachers were in fact those I met. Lets
just assume they were. They did seem a bit "off".
Of course Khan Sahib is a very accomplished musician: it just his business ethics cause me to speak in a derisive fashion.
The matter of the khol and the dhotara remain unchanged. The khol I saw was in the hands of an ISCON kid I knew. It had really poor quality skins and the the strapping was as soft as suede. It was totally incapable of holding pitch. These are available all over Bengal for not more than Rs 500 (and that's the price to you Videshis (Westerners). A company like AAMC run by a well-known person like your Khan Sahib is unlikely to be paying even that much for it. Yet you sell them for $100.00. One would expect a company with such an august reputation to uphold would not even stock such rubbish. Yet you do - and they get sold to Americans who don't know any better. Same goes for the terrible dhotaras you sell. Gaudy tourist rubbish. A woman I know bought one from you via your site. It was only fit to use as a wall hanging. BTW- Rikhi Ram makes very nice ones. I am a musician and unlikely ever to get rich. I do sometimes wish there were more dealers in the USA who didn't look down their noses on instruments used in Indian folk style music.
So many American enthusiasts have aquired such bougeois airs from rubbing elbows with snobbish classical-wallahs who are consumed by the attainment of status. What I like so much about Americans is their eagalatarian traditions of breaking through class barriers. So I find it rather ironic when Western students affect all the snobby airs of the Urdu darbhar. The majority of people importing stuff from India seems to be, that anyone who isn't buying a Hemen or a Hiren Roy, can only be some stupid hippie who deserves to be ripped off. This tradtion is rampant among dealers in India and has been passed on to most of the dealers in the West. Dealers can bluster and rage all they want - but the truth speaks for itself.

kalyan
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 11, 2003 03:34 p.m.


Chalisa the dotars you speak of are not now and never have been available on our web site so how did your friend purchase one there, the only way to get one of those is to walk in and buy it from us in wich case you would be warned of the quality and pay next to nothing. Unless you are talking of the hemen dotars in wich case you are not qualified to judge any instrument, these being the finest dotar made.
The khols we sell are folk instuments. it is very hard to find the absolute best quality of these instruments such as khol mudhol and dhol. The ones we carry are the most consistent we can find. We pay about half of what we charge for them, less than standard retail mark up. We never claim that they anything they are not. I am sorry you feel we are being snoby about the folk instruments,it is just that they are not the focus of the store or the school here. We have a small staff and are very busy we just dont have time to search out the very best of every variety of instrument that comes from india especially the ones that are only produced in the small villages.
We have a very wide variety brands of classical instuments other than hemen and hiren roy by far the widest in this country, we provide good student instuments as well as profesional models. I personally chose the best of what we have available for any customer who calls or walks in, so i am also offended at your coments about my ethics since you have never met or spoken to me. I spend a lot of time on every thing we sell here, making sure that it is in the best posible playing condition before going out. we set the action of all the stringed instruments my father dose the jewari if needed, we tune all the harmoniums, and I pull and tune every tabla before any of them leave the store. As far as I know we hav the most qualified staff in that department in the country.
I am not an expert on south indian or indian folk instruments, but we sell alot of khols to ashrams and people who do kirtan and chanting all around the country. The reviews I have heard have mostly been that these are not the best available but definatly useable. And of corse if anyone dose not like something they are free to return it.
I think most of your coments about our ethics come from ignorance. The Ali snackbar quote was just stupid
Beenkarji
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 11, 2003 04:10 p.m.


Seeing how I have emailed many times to AACM in regards to rudra veena over the past 2 years, and never got a response, I am already dissapointed enough. I know it can sometimes take a while to answer emails, but seriously, if there is that many staff members it is ridiculous that I am still waiting a year or so after a sent the first and second inquiries. Also a few years ago a ordered one sitar fret (I specified thick german silver), and one sitar peg (I specified smooth, round, unfinished), what did I get, I got a really thin brass fret that I could have got cheaper from Mid-East Mfg., and a horribly finised swirl peg. Moral of that story, is if you want parts make them yourself. Anyone else have this problem?
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
kalyan
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 11, 2003 04:24 p.m.


beenkarji we have never recieved any email from you about the rudra veena are you sure you sent it to the store and not the school address many emails get lost that way. Also we only have the one kind of brass frets available for replacements the swirl pegs are the plainest pegs we have the others are lotus.
Chalisa
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 11, 2003 04:31 p.m.


Dear Kalyan,
It was never my intent to get folks red in the face. In the interest of keeping this forum peaceful, I will not post any more messages regarding AACM. I will say that what I wrote about snobbiness was a comment on Indian music stores in general and nessasarily directed at AAMC.
It is in any case a silly to continue nit-picking over the details of one or two sales. Perhaps the girl "telephoned" and purchased the dhotara. It was years ago and she probably doesn't remember herself. I will also concede that it's particularly difficult to obtain good quality khols unless you have contacts. I know folks who've spend months running themselves ragged up around Mayapur and Navdip going to dozens of drum makers trying to find one that doesn't make crap. But it can be done. As regards Khan Sahib - my experience has always been that the ethics of guru is reflected in his shishyas behaviour. Didn't know Hemen-ji made dhotaras. Are you speaking of five string Bengali dhotaras as played by Bauls? Or are you speaking of the two string variety more common in the North.
Peace,
Chalisa
prabhu
Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 11, 2003 05:03 p.m.


I applaud Chalisa's discontinuence of the pissing match. Still, I can't help wondering - why it makes any difference if AAMC sells a poor quality instrument via its web or in the store. The implication seems to be that it's okay to sell junk - as long as the salesman looks the customer in the face during the transaction. I don't get it. Does anyone else?
Bruce
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 11, 2003 07:04 p.m.


This has become silly. So a friend of Chalisa�s bought a dotar (or ektar) that wasn�t to his standards. I�m sorry for that. We are a shop that specializes in instruments for classical music. We carry a variety of folk instruments, because people ask for them. We do not pretend to be experts in that field. We do not traipse around Bengal trying to find the best Khol maker. I don�t see that as snobbery, Chalisa, I see that as limiting ourselves to our area of expertise. I personally like folk music, especially the Baul stuff, when I hear it. But I don�t pretend to know much about it.

The point that Kalyan and I have tried to make is that there are sometimes funky, or partially damaged instruments lying around. Anyone who has ever imported stuff from India knows that not everything comes in pristine condition. Sometimes people come in, see them, and want to buy them as if for a discounted price. We are not salesman. We let the instruments sell themselves. Our store does not sell junk. I am still offended when you question my integrity.

Oh, and Binkar, I never got any emails from you. Try me again. We have a nice Kanai Lal Rudra Vina.

prabhu
Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 12, 2003 08:22 p.m.


You can't have it both ways. On one hand AACM as an institution headed by Ustad Ji - strenuously maintains that it's integity demands of it a higher standard - while with the other hand it sells low quality $15.00 khols for $100.00. Do the math. Oh well . . . "No big deal." Lets face it - if you sell stuff - yer a salesman. Bruce - it takes a lot more than beating your chest and wringing your hanky over your tarnished reputation to establish yourself as an esteemable dealer. Taking my cue from Chalisa I will make this my last post on the subject. If I spent as much time defending my ethics as AACM - I'd never have time to play; and that after all is what it's supposed to be about.
Later!
tony
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 12, 2003 10:50 p.m.


Prabu why are you so bitter about a man defending his reputation. remember it was chalisa and you who started the pissing contest. Anyone who knows Bruce knows he is a hard working musician who has dedicated his life to the study of indian music. Anyone who has bought an instrument at his store knows they do not push anything on anyone. Anyone who has been to the store knows that the statement about them only having one sitar in stock was not true, and would understand why the people from there would respond so sharply.
From reading back in this thread I think that Bruce and Kalyan have been reasonable in their responses to what seem like to me unfounded attacks on their credibility. I was at the school in 2001, there was a ton of sitars on display in the store the whole time I was there it would seem impossible for them to have sold them all in the time that I left in the end of july to the time when Russ was there. As I said before they have sold me beautiful instruments long before I ever met any of them
The AACM already is an estemed established business they have got that by providing the best quality merchandise they could for over 30 years. Maybe some people have the wrong impression of the kind of place the AACM store is, they are located in the converted garage of the school, as long as I have been their customer they have only had three people working there. None of them are rich they are just hard working poor music students like the rest of us. The school is a non profit, so all the money made in the store goes to helping make it possible for Ali Akbar Khan pass on the teaching of his father
to another generation and keeping this beautiful music alive in this country and around the world. So when you are attacking them you are not standing up for the little guy against a big cooperate company trying to bilk poor hippies that want to learn sitar as chalisa put it.
Prabu you seem to spend a lot more time on this forum than anyone from the AACM so why the holyer than thou attitude about them responding on a thread with their name in the title.
On a lighter note has anyone else here heard bruce play the sarode, if you ever get the chance don't miss it. In my opinion he is one of the best westerners ever to play the instrument, and just plain one of my favorite players from anywhere.
Billy I think maybe the place on the east coast is the Music inn in NYC they must have a web site somewhere to show what they have.
Prabu if you can get khols as good as the ones at the AACM for $15 or the top quality
ones for $100 please post and let me and anyone else who is interested know. I know the good south Indian stuff is also hard to come by in this country any ideas?

Any way the folks at are AACM good and honest people take it from a long time customer. Maybe we should leave off the pissing contest and beating chest insults off
in the interest of maturity.

Jeff
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 13, 2003 01:20 a.m.


I agree with Tony. Now I'm not one to pass judgement or ridicule on others but hasnt this AACM thing went on far enough?
I really dont think Russ was attacking AACM, he just called it as he saw it. Maybe they were painting the show room that day or something, I dont know.

Also I recently talked to Bruce via e-mail and he was very helpful to my questions. He seems like a real nice guy.


Jeffrey R King
Beenkarji
Re:Ali Akbar College Store sitars Oct 13, 2003 02:41 a.m.


Yes, I think its time we end this topic. Perhaps it is more or less the same trial and error kind of system of aquiring instruments that we all have to put up with. They are just at risk of being conned my makers as we are, so you really have no choice sometimes but to sell what you have. Anyways, any place that stocks at least one rudra veena deserves a pat on the back.....
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
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