While working on my sitar, I broke a number of tarb strings, mostly the longest one, while tuning. It occurs to me that the position of the tarb bridge may be a cause. Right now, I've got its back edge almost even with the front edge of the main bridge. I wonder if its possible that its too far back, causing too much tension on the longer strings when tuning, causing it to break? I know how to locate the main bridge, but have found nothing on how to properly locate the tarb bridge.
Hi Billy, Sympathetic strings break very easily, the act of detuning and retuning will often cause them to break as the get a kink in them where they pass through the neck. If it's the same string breaking over and over then you may have a sharp edge on the little bone or plastic eyelet. Also the cheaper generic strings break easily too. Usually the smaller bridge is placed between the legs of the main bridge, only forward of the leading edge of the main bridge. You will often get a better response by keeping the small bridge close to the leading edge of the main bridge. As far as side to side placement, if the bridge is loose, tune up the tarabs and let them determine where it should be then you'll have the least amount of tension and once you get your perfect position then you can carefully put a drop of natural shellac on each side to hold it there.....
I had exectly the same problem: when moving the frets in the right position the fretwire was is the same spot as the tarabtuningpegs. There are two solutions: either redrill one or two holes of the tuningpegs (it will usually get worse when you go higher) or move the bridge. I had one hole redrilled. But later discovered the bridge had come off, so repositioning would have been easier. First checked whether the bridge hasn't come off already and shifted position (I think mine come off during transport) and fix the problem by putting the bridge in the right position. According to my teacher the bridge is usually glued to the top in a light way, so repairman in the future won't have to wreck the instrument when changing a bridge. When repositioning you might have to do a jawari-job on the bridge though...
Can you elaborate on that? My main bridge have been glued and I beleive it to be in a wrong place.. some frets are in the same position of the tarb pegs.
I guess that brings up another question : how to unglue a bridge without making a mess.
Well, there's a little turtorial on the Buckingham site at http://www.buckinghammusic.com/sitar/sittut/btut.html
But position the bridge by finding the harmonic at the 11th fret would probably depend on your fretsbeing in the correct place. I'm certainly no expert, but seems that if your bridge is glued down you might want to adjust the frets to the bridge. Are the bridge tuned correctly?
Billy is correct....you can use that method to find where the 11th (MA) fret is and move the bridge accordingly. But because the tabli/face is curved you will alter your jawari but it may not be drastic so you can try that just make sure you have the original position marked so you can go back. You can try to move the frets too but often you'll find that what works for certain frets will throw the others off when doing that. A lot of the mass produced sitars have this problem and a solution for some is to take out one of the tarab pegs. Now if the fret is right on top of the peg hole, you can retie it putting 2 strands on either side of the peg but you will have to retie more often and won't be able to move it much.......