INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Construction Sites


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Construction Sites Sep 23, 2002 01:18 p.m.

Greetings all,

I have recently decided to undertake the construction of a sitar in my basement workshop. Does ANYone know of any Internet site that have listings of special construction techniques and/or critical dimensions (ie. how far are the taraf mogara spaced apart etc..) Also any info on where to acquire fret wire etc, would be most appreciated

I don't have any illusions about being Rikki Ram or anything, but with practice I may be able to produce something of just never know


Re:Construction Sites Sep 23, 2002 02:11 p.m.

Offhand, I would think most sitar wallas keep those things under wraps. But three ideas you might try:

1) Get yourself a super cheap or broken/warped sitar and reverse-engineer that puppy. You can get your measurements that way. Some of it should be standardized.
2) I think Sitarsrule mentioned he has rebuilt sitars before. He would know specifics. I think he's also made frets too.
3) I'd ask your questions in the music.makers.instruments newsgroup too. I recall a fellow I wrote to a few years ago who undertook what you're proposing. He says he got good info on there.

Good luck with this! I don't have the skills or time to even consider something like this! Hard enough just to maintain the sitars I have......

Re:Construction Sites Sep 23, 2002 04:53 p.m.

Luthier magazine had a somewhat indepth article on sitar building I cant recall what issue #, but Im sure it was in 2001 or very early 2002. I,ll try to find my copy and let you know the exact issue #. I know a little about instrument making "I've made a few mountain dulcimers and plan on starting a guitar soon" And from what I got out of that article is that sitar building is not a very easy task for a novice builder, myself included.The sitar is a true hand made instrument . I'm sure you can find some pre-made parts pegs,bridges and frets. But I think finding for example a piece of teak or tun the right dimensions for the neck wont be so easy, but dont let that stop you. Instrument building is alot of fun. And plan on making a bunch of mistakes in the process. Good luck.
Jeffrey R King
Re:Construction Sites Sep 23, 2002 07:39 p.m.

I think the best bet is what was offered, I happen to have a sitar that you can take apart for all the measurements that you'll need. Just let me know where you are located. I also have fret material I can cut for shiping size. I can send you a fret to bend the fret to proper lenght.
For $40.00 + shipping cost it's all yours & I'll send you info where to buy all the parts you'll need............Peace
Re:Construction Sites Sep 23, 2002 07:42 p.m.

Spri@l send me an e-mail tell me your location. If you are anywhere near Redondo Beach Calif. It will be real easy
Re:Construction Sites Sep 24, 2002 06:20 a.m.

I tried to build a sitar about 20 years ago when I was an art student. Back then there was no internet and what little info was available was addresses from the (origional) Whole Earth Catalog. Now, there is info at your fingertips.
First give the article on sitar construction found on this website a read, it's buried in here somewhere. Then get in touch with Green Onion and querry them. Best I can remember, he knew quite a bit about alternate woods that could be used and perhaps he could cast you a toomba in composites if finding a gourd becomes a problem. Next, try This guy has built some beautiful veenas and restores indian instruments. He might be of help as far as sources for supplies in the U.S. and also is a jawariwalla for folks that find west coasters "a little to far out there" (just joking), he's in Cincinnati. Needless to say, my attempt at sitar building was a failure, but I was young and dumb back then and had just begun creating 3D objects. Personally, I plan to spend the next three incarnations learning to play the instrument and then I'll come back and learn to build them. Best of luck
Re:Construction Sites Sep 24, 2002 08:45 a.m.


Thanks for this great outpouring of feedback..this is terrific!! I checked this site and found the part on construction it was pretty informative, but given the complexity of the subject matter it was sort of a cursory look at the parts etc.. it was useful, definitely, but didn't have all the "nitty-gritty"tech stuff.. :^)

Jeff, I have made a few guitars myself, so I am REALLY looking forward to getting started on this project.. if you can recall the issue # that would be great!

Sitarsrule.. You sound like my saviour in this matter... that would be SO cool.. I live way up north in Canada (near Toronto) but definitely let me know what the dimensions (size/weight) would be and I can shoot you a M.O. that would cover the $40 and whatever shipping may be.. or chances may be that if you can get it to Placentia, I can get a friend to ship it up for me.. either way e-mail me at and let me know..

Thanks for all the info so far folks, it has been fantastic..!!

Re:Construction Sites Sep 24, 2002 11:30 a.m.

Hi All: Jeff, are you referring to AMERICAN Luthier magazine? If so, there's an article on Indian instruments in issue #67, don't know if that's the one. I ordered the back issue, so if anyone wants to wait, I'll be scanning it....

Hey SITARSRULE, (and anyone else in So. Cal.) are you going to Ravi's concert this Thurs at UCLA? Also, Anoushka is playing at the Carlsbad Star theater this Saturday, only $25, donation to the Ravi Shankar foundation and Star theatre restoration project. - K.K.

Re:Construction Sites Sep 24, 2002 09:02 p.m.

I wish I could, but I must work, maybe next time.......Peace
Re:Construction Sites Sep 25, 2002 06:11 a.m.

Not coming to CA to see either of the Shankars this weekend. Anoushka is going to be at Western Kentucky U. during Halloween weekend (costume ideas?), will wait for that. I am driving up to Chicago this weekend to see Ali Akbar Khan do his thing on sarod. I wonder if there will ever be the chance to see the hidden third of the "triple crown" (Kentucky folks always think in terms of horse racing), Annapurna Devi.
Re:Construction Sites Sep 30, 2002 06:55 p.m.

If you go to www.houseof
you can find all the parts you'll need for you sitar, at a great price..........Peace
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