INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Tabla Forum: tabla stands and non-classical setups ...


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tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 23, 2002 10:43 p.m.

hi all, im new to the game both on tabla (i havent even recieved them yet) and on the board. im planning on setting up my tabla with my drum kit and had some stand questions. i saw a post from march 30th but i have some other questions and thought id post fresh.

ive run into the site for the arsala stands but their link to the specific tabla stand page is dead. i see by that last message that they run $300. thats a lot of bread for me. are they worth it vs. other options? does anyone have any pics of them? are there any less expensive solutions? ive seen karsh kale use basket style snare stands with success, has anyone else tried this, does it work alright? id imagine that youd have a hard time with the dayan being so narrow.

also ive seen talvin singh play a set of electric tabla that are essentially just the heads. anyone have any info on those ?

anyway, any other help on the topics is greatly appreciated.

p.s. its not that i have anything against tradition, its just that i believe in understanding the past as a means to creating the future. everything started somewhere, doesnt mean it has to stay there


Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 24, 2002 05:33 a.m.

Not that I have anything against the future but, isn't the case that tabla(the way it is made, the way we sit, its oral and written traditions etc etc) is perfect already?
I really don't see or will ever the need for pastic or electric tablas, stands(perhaps we have to make an exception on stands for people who can't sit for certain health reasons).
For me the art of playing tabla means the whole thing i.e. the playing, the recitations, the sitting on the floor, the lehara playing, the learning from a great teacher, the respect you show to your tabla , teacher and audience etc etc. The idea of mass production plastic or electric tablas, stands and all these western quick fixes doesn't go down very well with me! tabla is complete as it is! lets do more practise and stop whinging!

Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 24, 2002 08:07 a.m.

Now Rod, I can see why you would be against plastic tabla and electric tabla, I have no clue how they would be anything like sitting and playing on real tabla. But a stand? You should realize the tabla aren't always being played in a traditional setting, or in a classical fashion. If one is sitting at a drum set, its not quick, or likely that theyd turn walk to the tabla and sit down in the middle of a song. And even if they were only playing tabla, the whole band is standing, their neck would hurt from looking up at the band all set long. Im not saying your wrong for thinking tabla should be about lehras teachers, recitations, playing should be rooted in those things so one can play well. But when you apply tabla outside of the tradition, a few exterior things change, it doesnt mean the future of tabla is changing, just for that player, they find it to fit their music and style better. And isnt a stand just a modified version of the "filmi" way of holding the tabla where they are sitting on a table in front of you? Have a good day
Re: non-classical theory ... Apr 24, 2002 08:12 a.m.

was hunting by daylight, and banging rocks together perfect already? obviously a simplification, but since you brought it up maybe it was, but we saw fit to create our own light, we saw fit to create pakhawaj and then tabla. why stop there.
there is never necessarily a NEED for modern versions of classic things, but was there ever a NEED for these classic things in the first place? its in human nature to progress. for better or worse. you never know til you try.
i understand where youre coming from, i really do. the ritual and tradition are all part of the experience for you. well, im a musician, an artist. i create. and trust me when i say its a spiritual experience whether im playing drumkit, electric guitar, baglama saz, accordian, or if im painting or sculpting. and isnt that the same thing? that we find this medium that speaks to us, for you tabla (maybe more, i dont know), for me all things musical ... except wind instruments
your own rituals, be they in classic motif or not, are part of your experience. whats wrong with someone reaching the same results through slightly different means.
so again, back to my original thought. tabla came from somewhere, and they are perfect in thier own right. but so was the pakhawaj that came before it, to the people that played it. until that one time.

so while i respect all you traditionalists out there, please respect us non-traditionalists as well. we're not out to change your way of life, just our own. and it doesnt mean we're whining

i love these kinds of discussions, but i really was just curious about stands and things


Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 24, 2002 05:45 p.m.

hopfully the webmaster @ get the page up soon, but meanwhile i can send a pic, if you e- mail me at
i also like to mention, these stands are hand made, and are not plastic, shinny or cheap,because when you are performing on stage you don't want to run after a rolling tabla.
Dave (bolcut)
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 25, 2002 12:45 p.m.

Maybe you're all right. If you're just starting and you're at all serious about learning and playing actual tabla bol (rhythm) then you should understand the importance of good fingering and the importance of the motion of your hands. I agree with rod that tabla is a yoga, at the same time, it's not for everybody. Having said that, why not make your own stands? I've used an old trunk before. You might find some boxes that'll work. Now for the traditional argument--nothing about the tabla makes me want to do it half-assed. If it's at all possible--get a teacher! At least get your hands right before you go it alone. Nothing about the tabla is immediately intuitive or book-learnable--trust me! But if you get your hands right I can't tell you how great it feels. My theory is tabla players are like junkies and they want other people to experience what it is to be addicted to tabla so they don't seem so absurd! Look at me, I'm at work and I can't do a damn thing but write about tabla! In summary, use a stand or a box if you have to, but try the traditional way too--you might you'll feel a lot more connected to your drums.
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 25, 2002 04:10 p.m.

the tabla stand is not the for the treditional-classical settings( althogh i have seen a female vocalist, who's name i cant remember, sitting on a chair, obviosly for health reasons, and the tabla player looked akward sitting on the floor)
It is made for tabla players who fuse with jazz, western, african or latin musicians.and if god forbits you ever end up on MTV, you don't want to look out of place.
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 25, 2002 04:36 p.m.

well arsala, looks are the last thing im worried about ... you havent seen my haircut obviously

as for the rest, i appreciate the concern to get me started out on a more trad path. i did have every intention of taking a few lessons and picking up some videos (books dont quite do it). but as im sure youve guessed im not quite a trad guy im not looking to play any classical music with the tabla. ive been programming tabla beats (based on single stroke samples, not loops) for a while now but ive always been the type to prefer playing an instrument than using samples. so order i did (i just got them in the mail about an hour ago!) im self taught on about a dozen different instruments and play all of them with a fair amount of facility. it seems music is in my blood blessing and curse that it is.

anyway, i appreciate everyones thoughts on the matter, this is a great subject of conversation and wouldnt object to letting the topic continue. but my main concern was about stands. the aside about trad playing was merely a disclaimer of sorts

while the box/trunk idea is doable its not quite as practical as i need. so its off to try snare stands!

thanks agian

Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 25, 2002 06:06 p.m.

I dont see any reason why a percussion stand wouldnt work, one that has that greyish carpety material on it. The tablas wouldnt slide and you could even keep some other percussion around near the tabla to play those at will.
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 25, 2002 06:56 p.m.

the persussion stand (essentially a hi-fallutin' table) is a great idea. for some reason ive been focused on the idea of having each drum individually mount like toms on a kit ... its how ive mounted my dumbek ... but i guess a table could work fine. excellent plan.

i did however just try out my BRAND NEW tabla (sorry, stoked, just got 'em today!) in some of my basket style snare stands. the nicer ones didnt work, but the cheap $30 sound percussion stand did. it was the only one that would close small enough and snuggly enough to hold the dayan (thats the wood one right?). i might pick up another and a clamp so i can have each drum independantly mounted and adjustable on a single base.

or i might just get a table

thanks for your patience guys. im a geek for music stuff and tend to get verbose.


Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 26, 2002 02:00 a.m.

I personally am a traditionalist, and refuse to use stands(etc..) on Tablas, i dont agree with it, but if someone want's to do it i have no problem.

But for you guys interested in fusion (and stands), chech out Karsh Kale, he's a young Tabla player, who plays fusion (with stands ; ).

Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Apr 26, 2002 03:23 a.m.

hi ,

I really don't have anything against stands.If you need to use then do use. I personally don't think I will ever need one(but perhaps I will...) because the way tabla is played fullfils me completly. The simplicity of tabla, how difficult it is to make one, the sounds it creates i.e. the ability of a good player to create amazing sounds from it, all this and lots more makes tabla a so simple yet so complicated instrument that to say that it needs improvement or change sounds like an insult to me!
I really like how it is now and I can't see the need for change. It comes down to the tabla maker and the player to bring a tabla alive. ...and on the topic of practise, for me, and I play every day, I believe that unless we keep up with Riaz at its real meaning and we achieve what great masters achieved, to claim that we play tabla when all we are trying to do is to learn some groovy sounds to play with that band next door then it also sounds a bit of an insult to tabla. Nothing against playing with a band but not before I achieved the status of at least a good traditional solo/acompanist player. Like Anahd said I am also a trditionalist and like Dave (bolcut) said, I think we are ll junkies indeed!
First Riaz for some ten years and then ....perhaps stands and god forbid MTV or Top of the Pops! --No way!!!--


Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 02, 2002 04:53 p.m.

Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 05, 2002 11:08 a.m.

I play a little tabla, but as the name say I play sitar. If you find a single keyboard stand, then tie the cusion to it then you also have a good stand. works well for me & the person I'm teaching tablas to.............Peace
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 05, 2002 03:51 p.m.

i own an Arsala tabla stand .
let me tell you nothing works like it. you feel on top of your game.i used to use a perccusion table(its a table) it don't look good .
the tabla stand looks, and feels right. it is very stable, and when i am out of place with guitar and keyboard players on stage, i feel right at home,standing while i play my tabla just like my Iranian violinist, standing and making eye contact makes all the diffrence. in America we change things for better, tredition is just a starting point, and we go on from there.
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 05, 2002 06:31 p.m.

In america we just change things...
its still under investigation as to weather it be good or bad change.
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 06, 2002 02:10 p.m.

whoa there people ... lets not get political. we're all artists here. lets just try and stay focused on that.

i love all the comments about the perfection of tabla as they are. i really admire some peoples dedication and general focus on a craft. some of us however are looking at a bigger picture. im not saying rod or anyone is wrong. just that we view it differently. and i hope you traditionalists can appreciate that we mean no harm or disrespect to the instrument or its traditions, we merely want to integrate this great thing in our lives.

Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 06, 2002 04:59 p.m.

Hey everyone,

I play tabla standing up sometimes as well. When I play Indian classical music, or anything closely related to Indian culture, I ALWAYS play sitting down. However, when I play anything Western-related, I play standing up, such as electronic music, contemporary classical music, pop, etc...

When I play standing up, I use an X-stand that I bought at a restaurant supply store. Keyboard stands are basically the same thing, just a little more expensive. An ironing board X-stand will not be solid enough! I put a board of wood over the X-stand and then a rubber sheet that you can buy in rolls (intended to keep plates from slipping in motor homes); this keeps the tabla from slipping. It provides quite a solid solution.

Of course, the table has to be suited to your height, otherwise you won't be comfortable playing. You never want to play at an un-natural angle / height; you won't perform at your maximum capacity, and you could potentially cause yourself harm...

The Arsala stand, while expensive, would seem to be the most solid and adjustable solution...

Take care,


Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 07, 2002 12:42 a.m.

The best way not to look out of place, in a corcert etc.., (as a tabla player sitting on the floor), is get all the other people to sit down with you.
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 07, 2002 10:10 p.m.

Anahd (May 07, 2002 12:43 a.m.):
The best way not to look out of place, in a corcert etc.., (as a tabla player sitting on the floor), is get all the other people to sit down with you.

In theory that's a good idea, but in practice it doesn't always work out when dealing with Western musicians. Some cannot play sitting down comfortably (electric guitar, electric bass, contra bass), and so if they sit down, they will not be playing at their best.

Also, when the tabla player has to play other instruments. For example, what if you have to play tabla and marimba within the same song? Or, tabla within a setup of tomtoms, cymbals, etc... There are the odd cases, like Trilok Gurtu, but he has custom-made drums and hardware that are not available to the common percussionist.

So, often the best thing is to play standing up (in non-Indian contexts).

Anyways, let's not forget that in the history of tabla, people used to play tabla standing up, even while walking! David has a picture in his book that shows such a posture.

Take care,


Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 08, 2002 03:42 a.m.

I admit, playing a contrabass would be kind of aucward sitting dowm . But for example John McLaughlin plays guitar sitting down in shankti, and he doesnt seem to have problems. i personally prefer sitting down becuse i gives more cotnrol and feeling to the playing,(for me at least). i also play other percussion istruments, but im not a great fan of fusion so playing drumset and tabla is a no no for me, besides i dont think most western istruments go together with india, it just doesnt sound right... (just my oppinion)
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 08, 2002 06:25 a.m.

Still on the topic of deviation from traditional learning.

I went to see Zakirji the other day in London and amongst other musicians(and there was a v promisisng sikh young guy playing) Talvin Singh also played. I didn't feel impressed by his playing and that considering I first saw him playing over ten years ago when I had no clue what tabla was. What I am trying to say is, would it be for the fact that he does a lot of other stuff(i.e. music) tha perhaps his solo playing didn't impress me(i.e. his focus is constantly sifting)? ..or was just me? Perhaps(or as I believe)if we really want to become great players then we should be 100++ percent focused to tabla as a traditional instrument untill our critics start to applaud us ...and then perhaps we could start thinking in using our well earned (tabla)skills in other forms of music. So, for you who are thinking in fusion, alternative music etc etc believe me, the joy of being an acomplished tabla master is a thousand+++++ times greater than anything else. Still, I think Talvin Singh is very good but I wasn't impressed with his solo. So much so that when Zakir started playing the difference in sound quality was striking!! Zakirji's hands seem to be connected to his soul and so the music flows beautifuly!


Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 14, 2002 04:19 a.m.

That's interesting what you were saying about Talvin Singh's solo. I have seen him live with a DJ playing ambient and drum'n'bass etc. I was very impressed by the performance. For that kind of thing it was the hightset quality thing i'd seen. However, I have never seen or heard of Talvin Singh in a classical setup and often wondered what he would be like. I unfortunatly missed the concert you were talking about, was it the one in Wimbeldon? Does anyone know any recordings of Talvin Singh in a classical set up? I would be very interested to hear anything.
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 21, 2002 02:53 p.m.

Everybody interested...well every one should chech them out (and have a good laugh), here, "new technology" Tablas:

Haha...(rolls of the chair and nearly chokes on laughter..). I think there funny..hehe.. rack mountable tablas...what is this world goint to...hahaha.....

Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... May 22, 2002 07:20 p.m.

i saw those stand mounted tabla, and as cool as i thought they were i wasnt into 'em. i mean im obviously all for this kinda thing. i love the idea of stand mountable tabla. but once you change the shape and build of the body of the drum you change its sound pretty drastically. on a different note, they would probably make great electric tabla. you could have mini mics mounted internally so you get all the head sound.

ok, ill stop ... im sure at this point some of you are looking for my address to come take away my drums

Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Jun 21, 2002 09:11 p.m.

Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Jun 22, 2002 12:05 a.m.

all this non traditionalism has left our pal arsala speechless! hahah just kidding. Ill stick to my set of normally shaped tabla, those little squatty ones are quite odd.
Re:tabla stands and non-classical setups ... Jun 22, 2002 06:42 p.m.

For me, stands are necessary b/c I need to access the tabla from my drumkit.What works the best is old,heavy drum seats w/ upholstery removed so that all there is is a metal ring,the perfect size for your tabla ring.They're fully adjustable & portable and if you don't like the way they look,you can dress them up w/skirts & doily fringe.The only gripe I have w/stands in general is that when you take the drums off the floor you lose sound presence.Especially if you're used to playing them on a wooden dais or stage.The stage acts as a resonating box & greatly enhances the bass. So what I do is I keep 2 sets:1 on stands,miked to make up for lost presence & 1 on a small dais w/ a silk kashmiri carpet.That way you get the best of both worlds.
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