INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: lines on finger tips / fretnoise


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lines on finger tips / fretnoise Mar 22, 2002 08:01 a.m.

I have two questions: 1)where do you guys or girls have the lines on your fingertips. At first I had the lines more towards the nail, but my teacher told me that they should be more towards the palm, because then it would be easier to perform meends.
2) how do you avoid fretnoise when performing large interval slides, say from Sa to Pa. And how do you avoid fretnoise in general?
Re:lines on finger tips / fretnoise Mar 22, 2002 10:01 a.m.

1) Your initial callouses, right now lines on your fingers, should form about on-third of the way down from your nails to the first joint. Guitar callouses form on the fingertips because of close together strings, but not sitar callouses.
2) Avoid fret noise when meending by keeping your frets smooth. Recommended way is to use 0000 steel wool if they feel or sound scratchy, lightly rubbing along the long axis of the fret until they shine. Ken goes a bit further and uses a dremel (I think)to put a super shine on it, but he knows more about fret work than me! Once that's done, put just a dab of light vegetable oil on your finger and rub each fret to give it lubrication. You should glide much easier and noise be gone.
Re:lines on finger tips / fretnoise Mar 22, 2002 10:43 a.m.

Yes I go a great deal farther with excellent results. When I got my Mangla and did a few meends I found that there were a couple of places where there were rough or flat areas on some of the frets. This apparrently is normal and occurs when the frets are being shaped over an anvil, the hammer makes em.
What I do is use a fret crowning tool from Stewart McDonald on the www. It costs a bit but I've done a lot of fret jobs so it was worth it for me. After crowning the frets (see this makes the top of the fret quite rounded, getting rid of the flat spots) I rub them down with, 600 wet paper until they are smooth. Then I use a dremel tool with a felt wheel and jewelers rouge (I use black first then red then cream colored). When I get done you can see your face in the frets. Now when you've oiled your strings and the frets your meends will be smooth, sweet and a bit easier. I always felt like the grating rasp when I pulled the string over it would injure the string, it really won't as the fret material is much softer than the string, but it sure rattles my nerves. Any way the whol fret job should take about an hour. If you need more info email me at : Even just going over the frets with 600 paper (around your fingers) and a bit of mineral spirits will smooth the frets considerably, polish with a rag and some toothpaste (mild abrasive, and it works in a pinch). Good luck. Oh BTW my callouses took about a month. Ken
Re:lines on finger tips / fretnoise Apr 10, 2002 08:43 a.m.

What I mean with slides is gharsan not meend,
Has anybody some tips for that, I mean to avoid fretnoise. Also I find to execute a gharsan high up the neck difficult, is that normal?
but thanks for the tips on fret polishing anyway, also very helpful!
Re:lines on finger tips / fretnoise Apr 10, 2002 10:05 a.m.

OK, you got me! What is a gharsan? I might know it by a different name if you can describe it. I don't claim to be an expert, I just share my knowledge and pick up knowledge from others. I think that's what these forums are all about?
Re:lines on finger tips / fretnoise Apr 10, 2002 11:04 a.m.

Got to thinking about it some more....I think you mean something like a glissando, straight up the neck instead of sideways like a meend? Only way I've been able to do that without hearing each fret on the way up is to do it quite fast with minimal pressure on the string. And I can't over-emphasize use of a little oil on the tips of your fingers. Too much friction will cause those frets to kick back in! Am I anywhere in the ballpark here?
Re:lines on finger tips / fretnoise Apr 11, 2002 05:48 a.m.

Hi Russ, Barend,
I looked in the Ornamentation section of Manny's book, couldn't find gharsan but found Ghasit which is described as a glissando frome one note to another. It doesn't expressly include a slide that covers several notes as we do in guitar work. The description also includes a disclaimer in that this ornamentation is used more on fretless instruments.
I have tried glissing over a number of frets and have been fairly successful, only as an experiment as the idea of ICM appears to be to use microtones as often as possible, precluded by glissing. So it appears to me that trying to gliss over several frets is a technique
"coming from another instrument" as my teacher would say.
IMHO you are better off to develope meend than to try to work on a technique that is rarely used in ICM or by the very nature of the instrument, Sitar. Too much pressure while glissing means very clunky gliss, not enough means you get no "slide" effect at all. Anyway, good luck with the movement. BTW Barend where did you obtain the explaination of Gharsan?
Re:lines on finger tips / fretnoise Apr 19, 2002 02:50 p.m.

Yes, I mean the glissando. Maybe I got the name wrong but I thought I have read it in a book on sitar technique. On the low frets is fairly easy to perform glissandi, but on the high frets it is very difficult. My teacher manages to perform a one octave glissando without any fretnoise. But I can't do it yet. Keep practicing!!
Re:lines on finger tips / fretnoise Apr 19, 2002 03:04 p.m.

You got it! I can also do a complete octave, but it does take practice and like I say, use the oil on your fingers. The only sitarist I've heard that uses that slide frequently is (was) Nikhil Banerjee.
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