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BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 14, 2003 11:19 p.m.

I hate to start a new thread just for this but,,,,,,,,,,,

Anyone ever deal with this Bina instrument company? If so what happened?

Ted,,, you do seem to know about these veenas, Have you seen the Rudra Veena pictured on the Bina Musical web site? do you know anything about them, also what about the Saraswati veena that Bina offers? they do not look like the instruments that Mid-East offers. What do you think in your honest opinion?

And to everyone there is a neat looking sitar there, #4 I think, it has a birds head carving on the whatchamacallit? (head stock).

There is also a decent looking Surbahar there "Stephen". Do you know anything about that one.

Who makes the instruments for Bina?

And,,,,, can someone tell me why there are so many crappy Indian instruments out there? I mean, even the cheap ones seem to have a lot of work put into them, with the carving and all. Why dont they just go the extra length to put out a playable instrument?
Thats just something that boogles the mind!

Jeffrey R King
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 15, 2003 03:30 a.m.


Way back in the early 70's the only Indian instruments that were coming into New Zealand were Bina.

So I spent many years playing their instruments before finally going to India to get decent instruments as well as get some formal training.

They are typical of Delhi. By that I mean nothing like the quality of the Bengali craftsmen. I know Rikhi Ram is in Delhi but they are really representative of Lahore as well as being exceptionally good craftsmen.

However, I ended up (before ever going to India) with a fairly nice Bina "dragon head" sitar and also one of their surbahars. The surbahar is exceptionally good and I've had it for 30 years or so - yeah, I've been around awhile - turning 60 next year! I wish I could post photos of them but then its too difficult on this forum.

I tend to think I lucked out as Bina's quality is very inconsistent. So with them its wise to try before you buy.

I've often been to their shop, which is rather large, in Nai Sarak, Old Delhi. They seem to do a lot of the work there on the premises. I went up on their roof and there were lots of craftsmen whittling away at various things.

I think that they try and build the best they can but they simply lack the skills of the "name" makers. I also think they are manufacturing for the Indian mass market and probably making money in the process.

Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 15, 2003 03:38 a.m.

Another thing, I have a Bina rudra vina and its so badly constucted its unplayable - nice ornament in the lounge though!

To be fair I haven't tried any of their new instruments for quite a while - maybe they're doing a better job these days, but somehow I don't think so.

Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 15, 2003 08:48 a.m.

Hey Jeff,
I wouldn't buy from bina unless you could play it. Although that is probably true of any sitar, it is especially important with bina because they seem to be cheaper than most. My first one was a bina, and man was it bad, not even worth hanging on the wall, but it was cheap!


Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 15, 2003 08:36 p.m.

Jette..."Firewood" is a cross-cultural musicians term for a poor instrument, only suitable for burning..... Ted, did you see this at Khazana?
Re:a cry in the wilderness Dec 09, 2003 07:51 a.m.

Hi rg,
Another avenue you might explore is finding a Hindu Center within range and obtaining their newsletter. You should find that there is some sort of ICM music group that meets usually once a month. There you might find a sitar player, tabla player, or a vocalist. Without a sitar player handy the vocal teacher would be an immense help.
Sangeeta, how ya doin? Say do you think your playing has improved because of your lessons with Habbibji or would you credit your lessons with Sarlaji? Also lessons over the phone would be very helpful if you have had perhaps some personal instruction from the Teacher as so many things just cannot be taught over the phone until basics have been taught. Once the basics are done I can see the value in "over the phone lessons" but without the initial personal touch this would be difficult.
Since the music is directly associated with the vocal music lessons with a vocalist would be a huge help to you especially in learning how to think and sing in SARGAM rather than SolFeggio or western notation. Also being able to "sing" a Rag or phrase imbeds the tune in the minds eye and is a tremendous advantage in improvisation. Good luck...uncle ken
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 15, 2003 07:05 p.m.

Quality firewood?
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 15, 2003 10:40 p.m.

I've taken some of that firewood, & i've made it somewhat more playable. If you
can wait to save up for a better Instrument I would. You'll save yourself a lot of heartache.........Peace
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 16, 2003 12:13 a.m.

Yes, the rudra veena was made for someone in the St. Paul area a few years ago, and they went through Khazana (Ashu). The tumba colors didn't match, it had frets tied on with fishing line, who jawari structure was separate from the actual dandi, and its tone just simply sucked. I will admit I have two playable rudra veena, a Kanai Lal (Murari Adhikari) and an unknown which I think was made by Mohan & Company (of which came from Mid-East, but that was the demo model, the first rudra veena they ever ordered. Their current stock sucks), and both are very good quality, which is guarenteed with a Kanai Lal and Mohan. I have seen them by Mangala Prasad Sharma, Bina (of New Delhi), Kanai Lal, Mohan & Company, Rikhi Ram(himself, not the company), and a few no name calcutta instruments. The best were the Kanai Lal, Calcutta ones without a name, and Mohan & Company. Now perhaps that rudra veena was not by Mangala Prasad Sharma himself, which I sincerely hope, since I thought he could at least make something decent himself. I recently ordered a rudra veena from Sri Shahid Ali Shikalgar, who is the only good rudra veena maker in Miraj, and I hope that turns out well as this will ensure a good future for this rare craft.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
Keshav Das
BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 16, 2003 09:12 a.m.

Inni Singh has now has a fellow in Delhi who makes vinas. If you email him and specify that you don't want an off-the-shelf model, he will have his man build it for you. Takes about 40 days to complete. Generally - the thinking is, a vina must be made in the south to be authentic. But this fellow puts some of the guys in the south to shame. He built a rabab for me and when I told some of my Afghani friends about it, they all made jokes about Indian made rababs. When it arrived and everyone tried it out - they had to eat their words.
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 16, 2003 03:35 p.m.

You must be mistaken, I talked with him a few days ago in regard to rudra veena, he said there was the ready made ones in the shop, and the good ones from Miraj by Bashiruddin. And obviously they aren't that good or Ustad would have mentioned a maker in Delhi.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
Keshav Das
BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 16, 2003 07:22 p.m.

Beenkar Ji,
I did say that he had off-the-shelf stuff available. If you ask him about having one fabricated he will tell you that one can be made in about 40 days time. I feel like I came in the middle of something. When you refer to "Ustad" I don't know which Ustad you are speaking of. In any case - I would say that someone not knowing about someone doesn't make that person non-existant. I don't say this to be contrary. It's just that in general - my feeling is that Inni is just coming into his own insofar as the high-class Ustads and Pandits are concerned - so it's very possible that he has resources that others are not yet aware of. If you are looking for a Rudra Vina and have not found one that is to your standards by February - let me know.
I was just at Manoj Kumar's in Calcutta and he had one that was excellent. I will be on a buying trip and always stop in to Kumar Sahib. I don't keep them around because they take forever to sell.
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 21, 2003 10:37 p.m.

I just received an e-mail today by JP Singh of Bina Instruments. He was in somewhat of a shock about the negative comments of the Bina instruments made in this thread. He stated quite frankly that they carry nothing but top quality made instruments and services.
Jeffrey R King
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 21, 2003 10:44 p.m.

Jeff (Oct 21, 2003 10:37 p.m.):
He stated quite frankly that they carry nothing but top quality made instruments and services.

maybe he should have said "professional quality," which of course means the exact same thing- nothing. Do you think anyone would admit to making substandard instruments? buyer beware... fly to india and play it yourself I say, but I'm not made of money either.

Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 21, 2003 10:50 p.m.

Hey Jeff,

You and JP are good buddies, huh?


Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 22, 2003 12:04 a.m.

Matt (Oct 21, 2003 10:50 p.m.):
Hey Jeff,

You and JP are good buddies, huh?


I had e-mail Binas a week or ago about prices.
He stated today that someone pointed out the negative posts here about Bina. Then I assume he recognized my e-mail addy from my profile and he e-mailed me with his answers to these post. I ivited him to argue his defense here. Thats all. I have never talked to him bfore this.

Jeffrey R King
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 22, 2003 07:40 a.m.

I have been observing for sometime the exchange on this forum. What started as a discussion and constructive exchange of genuine information has turned into a mudslinging match wherein a few people promote themselves / products / others at the cost of defaming others.
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 22, 2003 08:24 a.m.

Sorry Jeff - I thought you were being sarcastic!
Re:BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 22, 2003 08:35 a.m.

Hi Tony,
yes, there is great information here. There are a lot of active members here hanging around, so I guess when the new threads are thin a lot of us (including myself) pass time with "dialogue" I wouldn't be put off by it.

Regarding the bina thing, I though JP Singh was the new owner/manager of dms bina? If so, he may have inherited a bad reputation (at least for sitars) so lets see if he can change it. Rhetoric is not going to solve the issue, unless it is backed up with proof (e.g. pics informative web pages, positive reviews).


BINA INSTRUMENTS Oct 22, 2003 08:43 a.m.

Re: JP Singh's "Outrage"
Y'know . . . when a business is criticized for being crappy, it rarely
just turns around and says: Ahh . . . yup, we're crappy allright." Mudslinging per-se, is more of a personal thang. If however a dealer is selling lousy stuff and giving poor service, then folks need to be warned away. That's what friends do. Folks can either take a warning or not. When they get ripped off later, they can't say they weren't warned.
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