Author Message
PURCHASING A TABLA Jan 10, 2004 12:02 p.m.

Dear Ross and others who are offended by my opinions,
Allow me to put my position and an analogy more a little into context:
If you had the choice of purchasing two suits (or two pairs of shoes, or a set of tablas...) for the same price -
one from a professional tailor (or professional shoemaker, tablawala, et al...) -
and the other from an on-line department store or mail order shop -
Which one do you think would give you the overall better customer service? Which one is more likely to repair the product at no cost if it is defective or needs to be altered? Which one is likely to be more knowledgeable about the product they are selling you? Which one will allow you to choose between similiar items they have in stock or will custom your purchase to your specifications?
You have a choice. Choosing one does not imply that the other is in any way irreputable.
Choosing to buy on-line or over the telephone is easier and faster.
Choosing to purchase from a specialized shop is more difficult, will take longer, and you will have to travel from the comfort of your home.
I am only suggesting that you could consider making the more difficult choice and better your chances of purchasing a product that is above average and that suits your particular needs and quality demands.
As I have said previously, I do not sell tablas, nor do any of my friends sell tablas, and I will never make any blanket recommendations regarding anyone who does, other than that you have no one but yourself to blame if you purchase something defective without seeing it first.
Read the fine print - mail order shops DO NOT accept returns under ANY conditions. Nor will they generally make repairs or service your instrument if it breaks.
Shop smart - do a little research - David Courtney has graciously included lots of invaluable information about tablas right here on this site. Most professional musicians will be happy to answer all of your questions if you can show that you have attempted gain a fundamental knowledge of the topic. By having a fundamental knowledge of your subject you are better equipped to ask questions of a retailer and to judge for yourself rather than to depend on blanket recommendations of persons you have no direct contact with. By approaching anyone without having some basic knowlege of what you want from them only reveals to them your own gullability.
I could go on; but basically my position is that you should be patient in your purchasing, have knowledge about the item you are purchasing, and above all use common sense. If that offends someone then so be it. If you have lots of money to spend and little time to spend it then then by all means, please ignore everything I've said. Please, do not be offended as I will never make any claims to be infallible and I will be the first to admit my mistakes.
Yours truly,
Bad Ustad
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 02, 2004 09:31 a.m.

It looked like you two might be having an interesting exchange of ideas without the need for words like "whining". No-one else seemed inclined to respond to your posting exept for KD and then you tried to bite his head off. You're so engrossed in your bitter pontifcating all the time and then when nobody wants to engage you, you whine that nobody likes you. Hmmm. Do you know the story of the starving Brahmin and the sack of seeds? Seems Gandhi came across an old man sitting by the side of the road near to death from hunger. The man was propped up against a plow and a bag of seeds. He told Gandhi that his caste superiority would not permit him to do manual labor. Gandhi looked to his companions in disbelief and said: "Let this stupid bahinchote starve. It's time to move on work with people who aren't busy shooting themselves in the foot".
Warren Ashford
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Jan 30, 2004 12:17 p.m.

Just get your Tabla from Prafulla and don't worry about anything else .
Everyone should know by now , his info is posted several times on the forum
Keshav Das
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Jan 31, 2004 04:59 p.m.

When you speak of "Mail Order Shops" do you mean overseas? I ask because I know that several shops here in the States are actually great with respect to problems with instruments that have arrived with defects. If you are speaking of shops in India - then I agree. That 's the tradeoff when a customer is trying to stretch his rupees by purchasing from overseas. Buying direct from India is always a gamble even with the most reputable dealers. To be fair, one cannot realistically expect a shop in Delhi to pay the costs of shipping back and forth to the USA on a pair of tabla that aren't perfectly tuned.
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Jan 31, 2004 06:33 p.m.

Keshav Das (Jan 31, 2004 04:59 p.m.):
When you speak of "Mail Order Shops" do you mean overseas? I ask because I know that several shops here in the States are actually great with respect to problems with instruments that have arrived with defects. If you are speaking of shops in India - then I agree. That 's the tradeoff when a customer is trying to stretch his rupees by purchasing from overseas. Buying direct from India is always a gamble even with the most reputable dealers. To be fair, one cannot realistically expect a shop in Delhi to pay the costs of shipping back and forth to the USA on a pair of tabla that aren't perfectly tuned.

For what it's worth, a tabla that doesn't sound good to me is a detriment both to my practice and my performance. I don't earn enough to keep instruments that cannot be played nor do I have the resources to purchase instruments that I haven't inspected prior to their purchase.
I understand the risks that retailers take when they are asked to ship fragile items such as musical instruments, but it's also gamble for the customer who may or may not recieve the item as it was described precisely in so many words. Not to mention the risk that both parties take when the package is lost or damaged. Who's to say when and where the damage or loss occured?
I also understand that the majority of transactions between retailer and purchasers are mutually agreeable. My personal opinion is that there are ways to shop such as I have described for persons such as myself who can't afford to gamble and to minimize the risk of costly dissapointment. Purchasing an instrument should be a positive experience, not a gamble or a game.
I am sorry that I cannot offer similiar suggestions for the retailer.


Keshav Das
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 01, 2004 05:00 p.m.

You know Ji, I don't think anyone is "offended" by your opinions. I think it just that you seem to be focused on everything in terms of cut and dry absolutes which to some people are just not realistic. It's great to strive for a higher standard in whatever your endeavor may be. But we're all mere mortals here in a world shot through with chaos and sometimes less than happy endings. I've seen Zakir play more times than I can remember and I've never seen him screw up and to tell the truth, it gets boring after a while. I've seen Subanker Banerji screw up - but he's always so exciting that I can't wait to see him again. A friend of my named Lyle owns India Archive Music and was largely responsible for Vilayat Khan coming to the USA and becoming well known in the west. He was I believe, the first person to record Khan Sahib on an American label. When he'd worked with other greats they virtually always asked to go back and edit in corrections of mistakes made during the recording. But Khan Sahib who'd made a few flubs said nothing. When Lyle asked him about it he said "Only Allah is perfect. I'm just doing the best I can." Granted there will always be some of us are not doing the best they can - but when you acknowledge that the large majority of people do end up getting their musical wants (or needs) met, the picture doesn't look so dark. One of the things I like the most about this forum is the way people do voice their appreciation of dealers who do well by them. Until someone has spent time trying to deal with the madness of buying instruments in India and customs and five Indian holidays in a row every three weeks etc. etc. they never appreciate just how wide a wall someone like Lars or Bruce puts between their purchase of a new pair of tablas and all the endless headaches and stroke-inducing bukwas at the other end.
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 02, 2004 12:14 a.m.

Mr. Das.
Ust. Zakir Hussain, Shubhankar Banerjee, Ust.Vilayat Khansaheb. It was unwise of you to bring these illustrious persons names into this discussion for the purpose of mere name-dropping. I also have influential friends, and, without naming them I can assure you that unless Lyle Wachovsky is also a very good customer of yours your business cannot afford to have them think unkindly of you.
My friends are, like myself and most of the readers here, Musicians; Ustads, Pandits, professionals and students alike. They do not whine about the obstacles of their profession nor complain about �endless headaches and stroke-inducing bukwas at the other end.� And yes, they do strive for a higher standard, always.
I don�t know Bruce, but I have spoken directly on occasion with Lars and Prafulla and I would never and never have underestimated their efforts to provide honest services to this community of musicians. I speak simply as only one of many potential customers.
Keshav Das
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 02, 2004 11:25 a.m.

Oops. I thought maybe a civil exchange of ideas was possible, but it looks like it's not in the cards. I've heard that brahmin story before but I don't really think Bapuji would have used the word "bahinchote".
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 02, 2004 02:11 p.m.


Even though I've nothing to say on the topic of this thread, I must say that I agree with KD and Bad Ustad's replies. I've noted that
this posting of yours along with few others on your name( also
your replies on other threads ), it seems that people get offended frequently.

For this posting, its worth noting that noone replied for almost 3 wks after your initial verbose exchanges on other thread. Then all of a
sudden I saw 7 items on this thread and I was surprised and when
I opened the thread, I realized that its the same old fighting arguments once again. Is this really needed?

I've nothing to say on your nature but I would recommend some
introspection on the tone of your replies.

Peace, Good Luck and Happy Drumming!!

Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 02, 2004 02:39 p.m.

Annadhha is right. KD, Bad Ustad and rahul is one person. this fool is obssessed with coming back here like a schizo with diff names. get a life you loser.
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 02, 2004 02:52 p.m.


I don't know whether KD and Bad Ustad
are one person but I;m certainly not
any of them. I thought my response was
non-partisan but reference to KD and
Bad Ustad pbbly made it patrisan.

Once again,
Why fight on this forum? Lets make it
useful and keep it focussed on Tabla
related discussions

KD, Bad Ustad....
Probably we should get together and
show our distinct faces to Peter!!

Keshav Das
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 02, 2004 06:55 p.m.

Hey Rahul,
I can't speak for anyone else. I'd be happy to post a photo if it would end the silly accusations. I suspect that Peter (whoever you might be) would be satisfied by nothing less than us all coming to his house and being fingerprinted. When I was a kid there were rumours going around that John Lennon and Bob Dylan were both the same person as they'd never been photographed together. I've heard that was some kind of obsession with Mark Chapman. Hopefully disproving this silliness won't involve being shot.
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 03, 2004 08:53 a.m.

Hi everyone,

Technically, these forums aren't moderated, but I would just like to say that this current topic direction isn't contributing to the forums in a positive manner.

There's nothing wrong with disagreeing on a topic, and there's nothing wrong with debating a topic. In fact, it's very interesting. However, I would appreciate it if we could avoid personal attacks (flames).

Take care,

Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 03, 2004 12:43 p.m.

I�ve been a reader and participant to �Tabla Forum� since it�s inception as a reader�s exchange on David�s website in 1997-98(?) It�s still my favorite place to visit.
Lately however, I feel the readers forum becoming more often a forum for merchants and personal friends of merchants who see it as a tool for inexpensive advertising and a ploy for drumming business. I think it�s wonderful and progressively open that the Courtney�s have provided for ads nearby and a resource page for readers who are looking for reputable and well-intentioned dealers from whom to purchase instruments and equipment. David's very deailed articles on tabla construction here is also the only resource of it's kind and an excellent tool for the shopper. No one merchant has favored status and everyone benefits in a fair manner. Especially the new reader who is able to do as much research here as anywhere else and choose for himself with whom to do business - without the pressure of someone pretending to be his friend, an expert, or his peer, but is whose contributions are designed rather for their own personal gain.
Shawn, exchanges between customers and merchants ought not to be conducted on these pages for reasons that should be apparent to you from a legal standpoint.
I offer this only as a suggestion as other readers may feel likewise or even adamantly otherwise. I am not, (cannot) make policies or directives. I am not pontificating. My language here is such that do the best I can not to be misunderstood (I even try sometimes to check my spelling and grammar.) If this appears to many of you to be an outlandish, immature, or unrealistic
suggestion then I will condsider seriously to limit my contributions in the future. I wish everyone the very best.


Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 04, 2004 02:59 a.m.

Whether you`re one person or not,please keep it simple: if you don`t trust any online suppliers don`t buy from them, but on the other hand don`t feel offended if other people have different views and want to share useful information with each other. I absolutely agree with you that the best solution is purchasing your instrument personally but you don`t always have a chance for that. Anyway, although Internet-induced paranoia is a relatively interesting phenomenon, this is not a psychological forum to discuss petty ego-trips. Peace,
Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 04, 2004 09:03 a.m.


I think that both Aannadha and Keshav debated their side of the issue. But why the interjections of personal attacks in between from other people? It's THAT that was not necessary, and THAT that has created a negative feeling in these forums.

Like I said before, there is a way to debate your point without letting it get personal.

I do agree with Aannadha that vendors should not be promoting their products within the forums. However, many of these vendors are active individuals in the ICM community, and they have a right to speak their opinions. I'm not sure that I've seen anyone cross that line in this discussion.

Take care,

Re:PURCHASING A TABLA Feb 04, 2004 10:58 a.m.

Dear Matihar,
I hope I wasn't giving the impression that I was on an "ego-trip" to offer suggestions in the form of a discussion about alternatives to blindly purchasing tablas online or otherwise. Certainly the recommendations that you, for example, might offer could be helpful, but I have to admit I really don't know anything about you. Fair enough. I don't mistrust everyone, but if I trusted everyone who posted on the internet this wouldn't be an issue.
As I see it, virtually everyone who sells tablas claims that his are the "highest quality". How can this be? There really is no definitive standard. So what is a fair risk factor for the average consumer? How can the newbie wishing to make a first tabla purchase maximize his chances of getting the best instrument available for his investment? I've seen new and used tabla sets advertised for prices ranging from $800. to $175. The broad discrepancy here doesn't make shopping any easier nor does it make sense - unless of course there is also a broad difference in the type of service and guarantees that are included in the price.
It's funny, though, Lars of sitarsetc. is really the only vendor that has actually described in great detail the source of his instruments. (Correct me if I'm mistaken.) Most of the others won't even list prices unless you call or write them. I think he is also very careful in his contributions here and on the sitar forum be cognizant and responsible in his dual role as both vendor and musician. I don�t know first-hand about his tablas but I am impressed with his integrity.
I�ve said before, I don�t make blanket recommendations for the simple reason that I would like to be able to ask these questions fairly and publicly and without the taint of partisanship.
Matihar, in answer to your question, I am one person. I have always been one person. I have nothing to gain by pretending to be anyone else. I am in no way offended by your response, however I apologize to you and others for wishing to address a complex and apparently touchy issue.


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