INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Adjusting chikari posts?


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Adjusting chikari posts? Apr 28, 2002 09:45 a.m.

If anyone can be of assistance....I think I need to know how to adjust the chikari posts. I think mine were not properly installed is why. Here's what's happening...the fifth string hits the side of the #1 chikari post and gets muted.....and the #1 chikari hits the side of the #2 chikari post and gets muted. I've come up with a temporary solution of not using the 5th string and running the #1 chikari in its bridge groove, but naturally I'd rather have the instrument set up properly. I ordered it from a busniness in California USA ( Anyone think I'd be better off writing to them about this? I'd also need to know how to create a groove in the nut for the 5th string, because the instrument didn't come with one. Thanks.... TimR
Re:Adjusting chikari posts? Apr 28, 2002 01:34 p.m.

I think you'd do well speaking to the people you bought it from. If they can't help you, Peter Cutchey from Buckingham Music might be able to recommend a solution, Luck. Neal
Re:Adjusting chikari posts? Apr 28, 2002 04:00 p.m.

Part One:
What's happening here is that the bridge has been placed (or knocked in transit) too far to the left (when you're facing the front of your upright sitar that is). You can move it to the right about from about 1/8" up to say 3/8" until this �Chikari clang� doesn't happen any more. S'easy!
Then you pop just one drop of shellac varnish at the outside junction of your main bridge's feet with the body - middle of the foot. This will wick under the bridge and cement it to the body so the bridge won't move back on its own. I take the drop from a small bottle I keep for this purpose, holding the bottle close to the bridge with the sitar tilted to one side and using a small screwdriver to pick up and deposit the drop. This way I don�t get any spare drops of shellac elsewhere on the body. To do the other side I turn the sitar around and tilt it the other way.
This one drop of shellac varnish �thing� also helps the bridge to be better bonded to the body, encouraging more energy transfer from the bridge into the body and so usually makes more sound plus a bit more tarraf string action/response.
BTW, too much shellac put there will build up and tend to muffle the tone a bit... that's why I say just one drop each side.
We do all this and more before we ship a sitar as it's our feeling that people really don't need to have to think about all this when they get one. Funny how others don't do this. That's life I suppose... some people can�t be bothered, some don't know how to and others... well... just drop ship direct from the importer and never see the instrument (nudge, nudge, wink, wink - say no more squire!).
What bothers me most about drop shipping is what happens if a customer complains about it? What CAN one say in response to a customer�s problem if one hasn�t even seen it? A bit of a difficult one, that!
�I�ve come here for an argument�
�No you haven�t�
Oh, sorry, that�s yet another Monty Python sketch!
Adding a groove for the 5th string in the top bridge (nut) is quite easy once you have your main bridge pushed over to the right place so the chikari posts are clear of the strings.
Figure out where you want the notch to be and use one of those glass ampoule saws they�re always throwing away at hospitals to make a neat thin groove. Doesn�t have to be too deep � just enough to give the string something to ride in. Since your picking is so far away from the notch the string won�t usually pop out easily.
Re:Adjusting chikari posts? Apr 28, 2002 04:02 p.m.

Part 2:
The real �Super� tweaks draw around the bridge feet on the body, then take the bridge off and remove almost all the French polish (shellac) from the body where the feet stand on the body.
Then they place a piece of fairly fine sandpaper on the front of the sitar and rub the bridge back and forth so it fits the body perfectly. Then they put the bridge back and use the �One drop� shellac technique to re-bond the bridge to the body.
Makes sense, really� the better the bridge fits the body and the less polish underneath it the more power is transferred from the strings through the bridge�s feet to the body of the sitar. Just think about those Martin acoustic guitars with their wide flat bridges firmly fixed to the guitar�s body and you�ll see what I mean.
First, though, it may be a good idea to make sure the bridge is in the right place for intonation, but that's a story for another time, perhaps.
Having the notch missing from your main bridge is much rarer.
You can either use a very fine X-acto razor saw for this or look at the guitar nut files from (lots of repair goodies there).
Look at the main bridge�s string cuts. You�ll see that these are made at about a 30 � 45+ degree angle up from the rear of the bridge so they don�t cut the flat part of the main bridge at all. If you�re a cautious sort of bloke like me you�ll put 2 pieces of masking tape over one another on the flat part of the main bridge before cutting the notch � this way if you just nick the tape there�s no harm done. One edge of the tape goes right next to the deep notch that runs across the bridge.
The 5th string�s notch is about the same distance from the 6th string�s notch as the 6th. string�s notch is from the 7th. string�s notch.
Re:Adjusting chikari posts? Apr 29, 2002 06:59 a.m.

Thanks! It never occurred to move the bridge to get those strings away from the posts! I'll give it a try. Boy, am I glad I didn't fiddle with the posts, not to mention that I found this site. I imagine your thorough advice will undoubtedly yield a sitar much improved, and several butcher's aprons...
Lemon curry?!
"The public wants the image of passion, not passion itself." - Roland Barthes
Re:Adjusting chikari posts? Apr 30, 2002 04:43 p.m.

Hi Tim.

You're welcome...

Gin and just a teeny twist of lemming, please...

That parrot wouldn't go voom if...


Does it have wafers with it? CENSORED.

Pierre le Boef.

Re:Adjusting chikari posts? May 01, 2002 12:05 a.m.

What do you mean what flavour is it?!
It's f*%$ing seabird flavour!

(Maybe we need a new thread here!)

Re:Adjusting chikari posts? May 02, 2002 09:06 p.m.

No, no, sorry - it's "It's bluddy seeeebird flaaavuh mate...wotcher bleedin' 'spect it's... etc. etc"

And "Course it ain't got @$&^ wafers wiv it"

Why stop when we're on a roll?

I've been waiting to hear SOME humor on this board... now it's livening up a bit here and there from such serious questions as "Do I dare (gulp) decrease my 3rd string's peg diameter by as much as 0.00000000001m.m.? Will it shrivel up and die in the nght if I do?
[Only of boredom, mate, only of boredom!]

Now before someone lurches on clumsily trying to make me feel guilty and says something really obviously silly and and obnoxious like "But it is a sitar board, Peter - not a comedy board". Well, they shouldn't... unless it's a joke, 'coz I said it first!

Seriously... a few sitar thoughts:

If you get bugs in your sitar don't dose it with kerosene like the "experts" say to 'coz that just makes it smelly and revolting for ages and ages - put it in a deep freeze for about a week. Kills bugs, eggs, everything... guaranteed! Can check the finish up a bit sometimes, but kills the bugs stone dead. You will never hear from them again. Taugt to me by a furniture importer
Don't laugh - sitars, 'specially cheap ones, do sometimes come out of India with bugs in them. I have seen at least 3 of these that had little bits of wood powder here and there.

When they say on e-bay "30-year-old sitar with ivory trim" please remember that celluloid was invented early in the 20th. century as a subsitiute for ivory billiard balls, so the possibility of it having ivory ornamentation in, say, 1972 is... well, somewhat remote.
Perhaps "Faux Ivory" is a good term to use?

When they also say on e-bay that a sitar is "n" cm long, work out how long this really is in inches. I think the last one I saw was something like 39" - almost a child's sitar!

E-bay, land of "Porkies"
(Easy End of London rhyming slang - "Pork pies - lies"

Re:Adjusting chikari posts? May 02, 2002 10:14 p.m.

Hey, is it actually possible to decrease the 3rd string peg diameter!! Wow, can't wait to try it. I call mine Norman.....
I'm still laughing about that one.....but seriously now folks, how do you install a clock radio on your sitar and play Raag Bhoopali on Viagra without causing radio signals from the local mexican music station to be picked up by the fillings in your teeth?
Re:Adjusting chikari posts? May 02, 2002 11:42 p.m.


Heyyy peter good to hear from you.

Re:Adjusting chikari posts? May 03, 2002 07:41 p.m.

Lars (May 02, 2002 10:14 p.m.):
Hey, is it actually possible to decrease the 3rd string peg diameter!! Wow, can't wait to try it. I call mine Norman.....
I'm still laughing about that one.....but seriously now folks, how do you install a clock radio on your sitar and play Raag Bhoopali on Viagra without causing radio signals from the local mexican music station to be picked up by the fillings in your teeth?

Hello L'ars.
You may perhaps:
a) inject sufficient intravenous Vallium - like they do at dentists, so you:
1) Don't feel anythng at all
2) Do feel something but just don't give a rat's arse.

b) Move to some place that doesn't know what a sitar is and therefore considers you to be the world's greatest exponent!

If the above choices aren't suitable you may choose to go to and purchase one of their t-shirts, stickers and/or watches. This is insanely great dark humor, people!
What's even funnier is that some people apparently seem to actually take them seriously and write them very offended letters... or is this just really more humor from the Killyourself folks?
Are the abusive writers real or not? Why not visit the site and tell us all what you think... but be careful not to die laughing while you're there OR THERE MAY BE MORE LETTERS (grin).

Re:Adjusting chikari posts? May 03, 2002 07:52 p.m.

theMonk (May 02, 2002 11:42 p.m.):

Heyyy peter good to hear from you.

Hello, the Monk... nice to hear from you here, and there, too.
How and why did you dream up your name "the Monk"? It has interested me since I first saw it on the board - very creative and unusual!
Was it...
'Coz you have your computer in a cell in an actual monastery?
In honor of Theo?
'Coz your real name is Abbot (or maybe Costello)?
'Coz it just became a habit? (groan)
From science fiction? This was, I seem to remember, the name of an alien race who ate different SRNA pills to give them instant skills.

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