INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Problem with tarbs

 

Author Message
Sam Other
Problem with tarbs Jan 14, 2004 04:22 a.m.


Hi,

I�m having a problem with my sitars tarbs. As I try to tune them as adviced in some of the tutorials (C, H, C, D, E, E, F, G, A, H, C and so on..) I brake them before they are even near right pich.

My sitar has 13 tarbs and I�m using Pyramid strings, which I believe are good quality.

Perhaps tarbs bridges position is wrong?

Can anybody help me with this?

pb
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 14, 2004 10:48 a.m.


Hey Sam,
you probably have cheap tarabs. I broke a bunch of them too when I started. Try Roeslau strings or some other good one. Those don't break. You can order them by the coil from fortepiano.com rather cheaply. In the mean time, tune the longest 3 or 4 one saptak lower to be safe. I tune mine to the 'that' of the raga I'm playing, e.g.
Bhairav (lower case are komal):
S S r r G G M P P d d N S'

I like to double up where possible, expecially for the main 2 notes (r and d in this case)

I don't know the western scale very well, but (to judge by my tuner) something like: 4C# 4C# 4D 4D 4F 4F 4F# 4F# P and d I forgot 5C 5C#.
P = 4G# and d = 4A ?

Pb


Sam Other (Jan 14, 2004 04:22 a.m.):
Hi,

I�m having a problem with my sitars tarbs. As I try to tune them as adviced in some of the tutorials (C, H, C, D, E, E, F, G, A, H, C and so on..) I brake them before they are even near right pich.

My sitar has 13 tarbs and I�m using Pyramid strings, which I believe are good quality.

Perhaps tarbs bridges position is wrong?

Can anybody help me with this?


K.K.
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 14, 2004 01:08 p.m.


Hi Sam:
If you are using Pyramid strings, then your problem is not the strings. You can't buy better strings than Pyramids.
Regarding the position of the tarab bridge, look at some photos on a website, like Sitars Etc. or any other link on this page. Does your sitar's bridge look way off from photos of other sitars?
If the bridge is close to what other's look like then that is not the problem.
One clue might be: where along the string are they breaking? Is it at the bridge or at the little bone guides, where the string goes into the neck? There might be a sharp edge causing them to break.
Also, you possibly could have kinks in the strings causing them to break. You have to be very careful not to kink the string as you're installing it.
Finally...could you possibly be trying to tune the strings an octave too high?
Don't worry, you'll find the problem eventually - don't give up!
pb
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 14, 2004 01:40 p.m.


Sorry Sam,
didn't read the part where you said you have pyramid strings! KK is right, it is not the strings, pyramids are said to be better than roeslau. Something else is breaking them. I can't see the bridge location breaking them, I moved mine around a lot to find the right place, no breaks.

good luck,
Pb

(I'll go back to my rock now)


K.K. (Jan 14, 2004 01:08 p.m.):
Hi Sam:
If you are using Pyramid strings, then your problem is not the strings. You can't buy better strings than Pyramids.
Regarding the position of the tarab bridge, look at some photos on a website, like Sitars Etc. or any other link on this page. Does your sitar's bridge look way off from photos of other sitars?
If the bridge is close to what other's look like then that is not the problem.
One clue might be: where along the string are they breaking? Is it at the bridge or at the little bone guides, where the string goes into the neck? There might be a sharp edge causing them to break.
Also, you possibly could have kinks in the strings causing them to break. You have to be very careful not to kink the string as you're installing it.
Finally...could you possibly be trying to tune the strings an octave too high?
Don't worry, you'll find the problem eventually - don't give up!
pb
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 14, 2004 04:53 p.m.


Hey AJ,
can you cc me on that email too? I wouldn't mind seeing that bridge placement.
thanks
Pb

AJ (Jan 14, 2004 03:50 p.m.):
You don't seem to have an email addy listed under your profile.........if you'll send me your email address, I'll forward a small diagram someone was kind enough to send me, showing exactly why my taribs kept breaking....

And those Pyramids, since I've had this diagram for reference, even when they've inadvertantly gotten kinked, they've never broke since.........no kidding, totally amazing

There's nothing more frustrating than having taribs repeatedly break.........worse than a gypsy curse..........!!!

AJ


AJ
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 14, 2004 03:50 p.m.


You don't seem to have an email addy listed under your profile.........if you'll send me your email address, I'll forward a small diagram someone was kind enough to send me, showing exactly why my taribs kept breaking....

And those Pyramids, since I've had this diagram for reference, even when they've inadvertantly gotten kinked, they've never broke since.........no kidding, totally amazing

There's nothing more frustrating than having taribs repeatedly break.........worse than a gypsy curse..........!!!

AJ

Jan
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 14, 2004 06:24 p.m.


[quote]pb (Jan 14, 2004 04:53 p.m.):
Howdy AJ,
can you cc me on that email too? I wouldn't mind seeing that bridge placement?
thanks a lot

Jan
[quote]AJ (Jan 14, 2004 03:50 p.m.):

AJ
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 14, 2004 09:50 p.m.


shucks guys, it's not a diagram of bridge placement! haha!

it simply shows the correct angle of the tarib string entering the neck/hole.......every dang time I had to replace those wretched taribs (which was repeatedly there for awhile) they'd break........now, since I saw this little ol' ditty, even the ones that get a kink never break.......

naw, sorry to disappoint, but nothing that amazing or cool! haha
sure helped me out alot though!

man do I ever feel LAME! guess I'd better be more specific/descriptive!

AJ

Sam Other
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 15, 2004 01:41 a.m.


Thanks everybody!

K.K. you�re probably right. Now when I checked again the tuning on my tarbs, it�s propably that I tuned them octave too high, although yesterday I was pretty sure that I wasn�t tuning them too high.

I have owned my sitar for only few months so I�m basicly still learnig how to tune it. Since I live here in Finland it�s difficult to get any information about sitars and I have to rely on the internet for knowledge of tuning and playing.



K.K. (Jan 14, 2004 01:08 p.m.):
Finally...could you possibly be trying to tune the strings an octave too high?
Don't worry, you'll find the problem eventually - don't give up!
Lars
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 15, 2004 01:42 a.m.


The problem is most likely the little grommet/eyelets in the neck have a sharp edge. Where are they breaking at usually?
Lars
Bob
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 15, 2004 12:44 p.m.


AJ -- May I ask you to send me that diagram? (robert.marcus@ey.com) Thanks in advance!
tarsi
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 15, 2004 06:57 p.m.


Tarbs one octave too high??? - thats an adventurous idea ...
AJ
Re:Problem with tarbs Jan 16, 2004 01:26 a.m.



Bob (Jan 15, 2004 12:44 p.m.):
AJ -- May I ask you to send me that diagram? (robert.marcus@ey.com) Thanks in advance!

Tried to email it to ya and it came back Bob, said it couldn't find any host named ey.com?!

Jeff
Re:Problem with tarbs Feb 01, 2004 03:39 p.m.


Let me take a gander at that diagram too AJ. Thanky,,,,,,,


strdap@webtv.net

Rob
Re:Problem with tarbs Apr 04, 2004 08:18 a.m.


I had trouble breaking sympathetic strings in the beginning. I've had some experience working on stringed instruments, so it was fairly easy to resolve. Those Pyramid strings are excellent by the way; I like the packs that Lars sells with extras. Make sure you do not kink the strings when you are stringing up. It's also worth the effort to dress out the Tarib pegs with sandpaper and the Rosin powder. Once you get the Taribs to turn smoothly yet be able to grab once the string is brought to pitch, tuning will be easier and strings will last longer. Make sure the eyelets in the neck are smooth with no rough edges. Learn how to finish off the loops on your strings so they are neat and don't slip. I make sure to trim all the excess string lengths at the tailpiece so I don't cut my fingers. Wrap the strings carefully around the pegs several times, make sure it it neat and doesn't slip. I've used a tuner to get relative pitch on the Sympathetic strings, but I've found that sitars have a certain sweet spot, where the sympathetics drone when touched off by one of the main strings, usually this requires tunig by ear, which takes some experience. You may find your Sitar responds better when the Taribs and Main strings are tuned to different pitches, other than the most popular tuning keys. If you take your time and are careful setting the instrument up, tuning will not be as difficult as it appears. Good Luck!
Sitarfixer
Re:Problem with tarbs Apr 14, 2004 09:50 a.m.


If the wires are breaking at those little nuts, countersink them with a 1/8" drill bit. No sharp angle - no break. The eyelets may be split. With no wire in place, take a close look at them. The split will be obvious. In an emergency, you might be able lift them, rotate them and reinstall. The wire is now no longer pinched in that split. = no break! Wire gets locked in there and when the peg is turned - break! Best bet is to replace them - deerhorn if at all possible. Bridge position not the problem - with any brand of wire. Stay with .009 gauge. Very forgiving to neck tension. .010 as is becoming the fashion is death to sitar necks, especially anything in the $300 - $600 range. Hope you get your baby sounding right. Play on! Tony Karasek
Farhad
Re:Problem with tarbs Apr 16, 2004 06:49 a.m.


Hi Tony,
I have the same problem with the eyelets (mine are ring shaped, I see some sitars where they look like buttons, maybe this is better) cracking at the place where thy meet the string. I tried to lift and rotate them, but it looks like they are glued into the sitar. Then someone told me that I could use superglue to fill the cracks, which works, but the strings do still break since it is not a good finish.

Do you know if it is possible to buy new eyelets, or put something on top of them to make things better.

Farhad.

Juan Carlos de E
Re:Problem with tarbs Apr 16, 2004 12:43 p.m.


Hello,

I'm new to the Sitar but I can speak since my experience of to build lutes and vihuelas (for Baroque and Renaissance Western Music).
For avoid problems with the strings (often of gut) we file carefully the nut with a precission round file with rounds strokes that make a round shape for contain the string. After we make this groove more round and smooth rubbing with a old guitar string (metal wound) and some polish for cars and after cleaning and paint with soft pencil.
Since I have observed in my Sitar that this bottoms are of bone, this will work in case of broken strings in this point, and will improve the tuning because will reduce the friction.

Good luck!
Juan Carlos

kalyan
Re:Problem with tarbs Apr 16, 2004 03:43 p.m.



Farhad (Apr 16, 2004 06:49 a.m.):
Hi Tony,
I have the same problem with the eyelets (mine are ring shaped, I see some sitars where they look like buttons, maybe this is better) cracking at the place where thy meet the string. I tried to lift and rotate them, but it looks like they are glued into the sitar. Then someone told me that I could use superglue to fill the cracks, which works, but the strings do still break since it is not a good finish.

Do you know if it is possible to buy new eyelets, or put something on top of them to make things better.

Farhad.


I would try to replace the broken eyelets rather than pumping more glue in and making it harder to remove them in the future. Also the glue alone will not make a good surface for the string contact, if you pack the crack with bone dust then put a drop of super glue and pack it down with something like a small flat screwdriver, repeat this a couple of times till the crack is filled and you have a small mound over the top of the eyelet. Then reshape it with a file you will have a surface that is harder and will not absorb the tone of the string. That said f it is possible I would recommend just buying replacement eyelets.
Then the only problem is removing an eyelet that has been glued in place, I usually try to stick a tiny screwdriver in the hole then wrench it around a bit till the piece cracks in a few places, or if ti is high enough above the surface of the neck you can squeeze with pliers from outside till it colapses in. then pull the pieces out with needle nose pliers .It may then be necessary to clean the hole out with an electric drill being careful not to drill the wood out anymore than it already is. The eyelets usually come oversize so you need to file them down with the right amount of taper so they can be pushed into place and will stay without glue.

I know we (aacm store) are out of eyelets and won�t have them for about a month or 6 weeks but there is probably somewhere to get them sooner than that depending on where you are.
Good luck

kalyan

K.K.
Re:Problem with tarbs Apr 17, 2004 04:51 p.m.


My 2 cents...
I agree with Kalyan. DO NOT use superglue to fill the crack, if the eyelet is still in the sitar. The superglue will most certainly glue the eyelet into the neck. Then you WILL have to drill it out (unless you want to rip part of the neck out with it.)
Also, if you can't find the bone pieces anywhere, be creative, try fabricating one.
Juan Carlos de E
Re:Problem with tarbs Apr 18, 2004 02:26 p.m.


Excuse me, now I understand your problem with the eyelets.
You can make this pieces very easily turning the bone like wood. The bone is very, very resistent to breakage. I have worked for this small bone pins in the pegs and the result is very good. You only need a (prefereable) old electric drill, something for keep the electric drill fixed on a work bench, a turning chisel and a square section on bone from cow leg. Be careful to protect your eyes.

Juan Carlos

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