INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: New Hiren Roy Sitars......


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New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 02, 2003 12:30 a.m.

Well, my friend ordered some sitars by Hiren Roy & Sons. (well actually Barun Roy) and I thought I would post my opinion. The finish is definatley back up to specs, and doesn't wear off just by looking at it. The woods are good, the pegs are finally aligned better, and they or of harder wood than before. The disadvantage is that they use a poured resin for all of the bone pieces and it sounds like crap, so basically to get it to sound decent you would need to replace a lot of the parts. So at the moment, I would steer clear of an instrument from their workshop unless you wanna put the energy into replacing the resin parts with bone. I think if you talk to them directly they will do otherwise, but it will cost a lot more. Also I was dissapointed in the feel of the instrument, it just didn't have a good balance to it, and it wouldn't even stand upright because it was out of all things top heavy. The other sitar, was more or less the same but Vilayat Khan style, that once was reletively good, just needs the resin stuff replaced.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
Re:New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 02, 2003 12:55 a.m.

I had the completely opposite experience. I got a new Hiren Roy and it is absolutely great.

It will take at least 1 year to break in the sound, and will sound much better as it ages.

The resin parts are not a problem, mine had bone parts but I have heard the resin type ones as well and they sound just as good..

Re:New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 02, 2003 03:11 a.m.

Hi, are you sure the bone parts are not resin, it is very convincing? If you file it, it has a very distinctive smell, resin does not.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
Re:New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 02, 2003 09:05 a.m.


Just a note. Indrajit has a old Hiren Roy to perform professionally. Last year he brought a resin bridge as a backup for his long tour..and finally had to use it at the end of his stay. He said it was OK. IT did sound a little different to me but the jawari had not adjusted.

Strangely this year, he seems to have switched to resin completely. He liked the tone...and the jawari lasted him the whole tour. I wish I could compare lessons from last year to determine the differences, but I changed the microphone...

Jeff Lewis of Seattle also swears by artifitial material. I am not sure yet whether there is a major difference, but it does seem to wear out less.

As for who is the best sitar maker still in business...i am not sure. we seem to broach the topic regularly...and as I learn more about the making of the instrument...the definition of a maker seems to get murkier.


Re:New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 02, 2003 09:11 a.m.

My thoughts...You've gotta have connections or you'll end up with what you got-unless you get L-U-C-K-Y!
Re:New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 02, 2003 02:59 p.m.

When I move to New Delhi, I still am going to make the effort to visit Muraribabu, he is possibly the only man alive who really understands how to make rudra veena properly, but also his wealth of knowledge of other instruments will help. I do a lot of repairs on sitar, so it is very obvious what some of the flaws are to me, but they just keep getting worse. Yes there are for sure good sitars, but they are still not up to the standards they used to be, thats why I lean towards the side of used instruments, or working directly with a maker and watching him construct the instrument.
I also had talked to Jeff Lewis, and he mentioned Delrin as well as Acetal plastic, but I wasn't impressed, and plus for tantric purposes on rudra veena it is considered impure, so I use elephant knuckle, for my jawari. However I am making a new one out of Lignum Vitae as an experiment.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
Re:New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 02, 2003 04:36 p.m.

Just to make things clear for you Ted, Delrin IS an acetal composite, not two different materials. I have used Delrin extensively to make machine parts for sculpture enlarging machines where weight is a factor. Delrin is commonly used in this arena to replace aluminum as it is just about as strong and is self-lubricating (which according to proponents of delrin ghoraj, is a plus). Our main reason for using it was the weight thing, it comes in at about 1/3 of aluminum. You guys are also mixing up the usage of the word for resin which can be of various materials and formed with different processes. In many cases, it is used to mean a material that with the addition of a catalyst, will form a type of material with plastic qualities, which can range from very soft/pliable to very hard/rigid. For that matter, plaster of paris is like this as water creates the hydrolic action nessessary to catalize the plaster and cause it to bond and become rigid.
Re:New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 02, 2003 09:27 p.m.

Jette, those couple of thoughts of yours were brilliant...

I like the synthetic bridges........I've also heard instruments that Jeff Lewis has done jawari on and they're great. He does jawari for Vilayat Khan as well sometimes....

Re:New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 02, 2003 10:53 p.m.

I just thought I'd share with you a lesson I learned today. It was my second lesson with Ustad Nishat Khan, and he was commenting on a HR#1 bought by another guy in my class while in india and retrofitted with the ebony bridge. he first smirked and seemed impressed by the fanciness, truly it was a nicely crafted piece with very dark pegs and beautiful inlay (I'm pretty sure the nut was plastic, but he did not comment. I guess I could ask on monday). "This is a very nice instrument" he said. He played it for only 3 seconds or so and had this twisted look on his face, and he began to explain that the sound was not right. He gave us a long story about how his grandfather Inayat had instructed Kanai Lal to make the innovations he is known for (body dimensions, wood, tarabs), and most importantly the shape of the tabli and the bridge. He went on to describe the ebony tone as being too "forward" and "open," referencing its tendency to project the sound directly forward since it is so dense. His greatest comment though was that "the sound comes from the top of the sitar, not THROUGH the sitar like it should. It is like comparing the sound to the wind as you sit in a beautiful valley to sitting in a classroom and somebody opens a window and turns on the fan." Quite remarkable, and he further explained that he had to try hard to convince his uncle Ustad Vilayat Khan that his sound was mediocre (wow!), and as a result VK now uses elk horn again!! He finished this all by saying it is a matter of preference, but if it were up to him he felt it was improper to the instrument and would not allow it. How's that for a bold statement. Right then I really had an awakening in terms of the aesthetics of the instrument, it truly was pretty but hearing him play it I felt it did sound a little thin and I lost all interest in it's appearance. I used to fancy the ornamentation and supposed craftsmanship that goes into such a model, but knowing now that it is not even done by the maker I realize it is completely dissociated from the end product, and independent of the sound quality of the instrument. I do not know what he plays, but I'll let y'all know on monday because he said he would bring it...


Re:New Hiren Roy Sitars...... Oct 03, 2003 10:35 a.m.

Hi Lars,



Jette, those couple of thoughts of yours were brilliant...

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