INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Vilayat Khan sitars, ebony, plastic, deer horn or camel bone?


Author Message
jesper jerold
Vilayat Khan sitars, ebony, plastic, deer horn or camel bone? Jan 30, 2004 02:17 p.m.

Hi, I am looking at various tun VK sitars and many of them are quite beautiful (RR, Srishti, Sanjay). I have decided though that in my price range I might get an MKS as I've heard many good things about his work, but I need some advice on tonal quality of MKS sitars. Are they light and loud or heavy and clean, etc, please describe as best you can even though I know instrument variability is a big issue. anyone own specifically the MKS VK sitar?? And I was thinking of getting the deer horn bridge, I've heard the ebony and thought it was a bit flat sounding and would like something more resonant and "alive" sounding. I've read the previous discussions on bridge types, but does anyone have specific knowledge of plastic/deer/camel sound in terms of closed jawari? Maybe Lars would know since he has several types?? thanks
Re:Vilayat Khan sitars, ebony, plastic, deer horn or camel bone? Jan 31, 2004 12:51 a.m.

Hi Jesper,
Deer horn is the best IMHO, camel bone is OK...most cheap sitars use those bridges, it's cheaper and more readily available but more harsh sounding. With the ebony, perhaps ask Jan his opinion as he has one (did you put it on yet, Jan?).
I had one on a Radhey Sharma VK style sitar and it was fine.. do a search in the forum for it as there have been a few opinions on ebony bridges as well as MKS sitars...
Re:Vilayat Khan sitars, ebony, plastic, deer horn or camel bone? Jan 31, 2004 07:08 a.m.


I have not mounted the Ebony jawaris i got from Lars yet, still im quite happy with the one i have on my RR VK (also Ebony).

My sitar is quite loud and resonant. The only sitars i have to compare with now is my noname (camel bone) and that sounds like a shoebox and rubberband guitar like the kind you make in kindergarten. And my friend and teachers 30+ year old RKS (Deer horn) , and that one sounds like its made by the hand of God. I think the Ebony sounds good, its a little closed but the instrument is still very fresh, just been in my hands for a year and have not opened up enough yet. Im quite sure it would sound very different with a syntethic or deer horn jawari. (I actually have some Deer horn at hand, my friend was able to get some in India. )

As i told you all some time ago i was going to mount the ebony jawari on the noname. That will give me a reference on how det difference will be on that instrument. The noname is quite well aged, it must be at least 20 years old by now.

I promised you all an update on the noname project and i was going to use the loong, dark and coold winter days to fix it up. Im a little behind scedule (spelling) but ill get there in the end.

This is all very subjective, and perhaps not very helpfull. I second Lars on all the info on this topic in the forum.

My best advice would be to order the Sitar from Lars and have him order 3 different custom made Jawaris for your instrument (one Deer Horn, one Ebony and one Syntethic. In that case you can swap the jawaris around and find what you like the best, and then do some minor adjustments to the Jawari you want to fit on the instrument so that it fits perfectly.

Best of luck


Seth Kelly
Re:Vilayat Khan sitars, ebony, plastic, deer horn or camel bone? Feb 03, 2004 02:57 p.m.

I just bought an MKS # 2 sitar about a month ago and I love it. It is the ravi shankar style I have never seen a VK model so cant speak to what the are like but the one I have is great . The tone is very full and it has a great bass response. I had a MPS top of the line tune sitar before which I liked a lot but I think this one is much better . When I bought this sitar I did not want to have a synthetic bridge so I had an extra horn bridge made for it. I've tried them both and I still think I like the horn one better but there is not nearly the difference I thought there would be, just a little bit of tone change on the ma string .I have never tried an ebony bridge before and would also be interested in checking one out. The main thing if you are going to get an extra bridge made for your sitar is to have it shaped by a professional on the sitar that its for, otherwise you wont have the best results

I would definitely recommend MKS to anybody who is looking to spend less the $1000 on a sitar, just be sure the dealer is able to do a professional set up on it.

Seth K

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