INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Mangla Teaks (again)


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Mangla Teaks (again) May 13, 2004 02:08 p.m.


I was a regular poster on this forum about 3 years ago, in the days of Russ and Ken, and some who are still here like Lars, Neal, kk, and others. More recently, I've been quieter, to the relief of many

Back them we had a lot of talk about Mangla Prasad Sharma sitars because a lot of us bought one from Buckingham at around the same time.

I have recently had the good fortune to discover an Indian music class in my home town, with a teacher teaching both tabla and sitar. He himself was taught by no less a maestro than Shahid Parvez.

Anyways, this has given me the opportunity to hear other students' sitars, and I must say that I appreciate my sitar's quality so much more now! Compared to the sounds these instruments make, the Mangla sounds rich, smooth, even creamy. The only comparable instrument in the room is the teacher's Rikhi Ram, which sounds fantastic.

So I thought I'd share this, because however much you hear that your sitar is great from the shop that sells it to you, it's kind of nice to have that reinforced in real life. It's like I've fallen in love with it all over again.

And of course it's wonderful to be taught properly. As someone said to me, learning Indian music in the West without a teacher is just playing at it. For many of us, finding a teacher close enough is a little like the holy grail, but it's so worth it when you do.


Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 13, 2004 05:03 p.m.

Jerry-Where do you live? Who is the teacher?
Who were the makers of the lesser instruments in your class? What sitar does your teacher play?
Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 14, 2004 02:39 a.m.

Hi jaym,

I live in the UK, in Chaham, Kent. The class takes place in the Hindu temple here.
The teacher plays a gorgeous Rikhi Ram, an instrument in the Vilayat Khan style. I know some people say the quality of these famous makers has declined, and I have never heard an old one to compare it to, but to me it sounds amazing. And I'm not even such a fan of the VK style sound.
The other students are playing mostly student instruments. A couple sound better than others. This week I'll look at them more closely and see who the makers are.

I have been learning a Razahani gat in Yaman, and I learnt the composition initially without too much trouble. Now the teacher (Sangeet - calls himself Sam - is this common?) has given me a series of taans to learn as part of the gat. This has pushed me beyond my current ability! I'm having to take the basic composition down to a much slower tempo to be able to play the taans correctly. Well, that's why we practice.

Take care


Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 14, 2004 10:15 a.m.

Sounds great. Don't worry you will become a big fan of the Gayaki style of sitar playing and want a VK-model Sitar in no time !

Sounds like a cool environment to study in as well. As far as the name Sam, I have met a few guys named Sam in India and maybe this was short for their actual name...

Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 14, 2004 06:58 p.m.

Hi Jerry,
I lurk here often, keeps me up on the haps in the Sitar neighborhood. I still have my MPS Tun, great sound, finally had to move the Ma string over to the second notch to skip the worn out jawari but it still sounds great. I also got a Shristi Garland Teak and like yourself just wowed by the creamy sound and actually a bit faster neck since teak is a bit stronger and the thickness just a wee bit slimmer....
It's always nice to have your instrument confirmed by comparison. The best thing about our Manglas back then was they were tweaked both by Indrajit Banarjee at the time of construction and also by PeterC when he was still with us. This made for a very nice service, a service that has been picked up and elaborated upon by Larsji.
Recently I had the opportunity to tune a brand new Rihki Ram (Sanjay Sharma RR) Vilayat Khan style for my friend Sangeeta here in Charlotte (she doesn't call herself Sam though). I was just totally blown away with the attention to detail on this instrument, and while I normally didn't care much for the VK instruments this one was just outstanding in tone and playability. I was so taken with this (especially after I bought one of Sanjay's Tanpura's from Larsji as soon as I saw it on his site) that I bought one of Sanjay's instruments myself.
Anyone interested in either a MPS AAA Tun in perfect condition, polished frets, played in or a Shristi Garland Teak, same, with fiberglass case please contact me at my email provided in my profile. You'll get a great deal on either instrument. I'd keep em but I just can't warrent three sitars, especially when I'll now have a matched pair of RR instruments. I'll tell you that the MPS I have was PeterC's favorite and is signed by Indrajit really full sound.....
I am taking lessons from a Tabla Player (Swati Phadke) who studied under Ustad Alla Rakha for 7 years, truly if you can't find a sitar teacher a Tablaji will work very well. I think you will find most serious ICMusicians are pretty well versed on Vocals, Tabla, and or Harmonium and Sitar, at lest well versed enough to get you on track with hand position, body position, scales, gats and all the basics you will NEVER get on you own.....great you've got such a neat class to go to....ken
Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 15, 2004 10:04 a.m.

Hi Ken,

So you're playing a new Rikhi Ram now huh? And VK-style at that.
It's funny but based on what so many people said about how far downhill the great maker names had fallen, plus the fact that I wasn't wild about the VK sound, I would never have thought of getting a VK Rikhi. But like you, when I actually heard one I was bowled over.
I'm sticking with my Mangla because I got it as a sitar I could live with for years to come, but it's so easy to hear the calling of that next instrument isn't it? Plus, I do still love it, I must admit.
I'm fired up again about sitar and ICM after lapsing for a year or so. Having no teacher makes it hard, but getting one creates an explosion of excitement and action.
Great to see you still around. Those old days seem a long time ago now, when Peter used to contribute and it seemed like there were about 5 of us chewing the fat here! Man there's a lot of combined knowledge on this forum now.
Kind of miss Russ though...

See ya,

Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 15, 2004 10:44 a.m.

Hiya Jerry,
Yeah I miss Russji as well althogh he and I correspond from time to time.. Nothing beats a teacher to light the fire underneath you again.. Big tip here as well is to learn the Vocal thing and then watch yourself take off.
I merely played Sangeetaji's VK style and nearly went for that one but when I found out that Maestro Sanjay had a finished instrument that he had built for Ravi (just about an inch too long) I nabbed it without even looking at it. Even though I now have pictures of it I didn't need them knowing it's background. I would still consider at VK from Sanjay for anyone as it is just absolutely outstanding and the fastest neck I've played on any sitar (I've really only played 8 instruments for any length of time so I'm no expert). Still I would keep both mine but for me for some pics of sitar stands, music stands and my new baby...ken
Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 15, 2004 12:26 p.m.

What's your email addy Ken?
Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 15, 2004 01:19 p.m.

Hi Jerry,
It should be in my profile but here it
Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 15, 2004 10:50 p.m.

Wow, I am waiting on a Rikhi Ram Grand Professional Tun (from Sanjay) and cannot wait! I ordered it from Lars at Sitars etc. a couple of months ago and kind of forgot about it as it is being constructed. But now I am thinking about it again. I will fill you all in when I get it. Neal
Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 16, 2004 01:53 a.m.

yo! Neil, let us know when you get it. I expect a full report :o)
I'm still on honeymoon with my Mangla. I recieved this beauty from Lars in early January shortly after I started playing sitar. I'm really pleased with it. Someday I may move up however the Mangla is really sweet for now. After playing a couple of my instructor's old Hiren Roys, which are totally unbelievable, I'm thinking I may attempt to search one out in the future - or perhaps a new one from AACM ....we'll see
Ken, Congrats. on you new RR.
If anybody asks me about an MPS I'll let 'em know you've got one for sale.
Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 17, 2004 06:38 a.m.

Hiya all,
I'll tell you it is a real wrestling match to get rid of either one of my "old" sitars. Both of them are really great. Actually Lars told me there is no reason for me to get another sitar since both of mine are outstanding. Just a fickle musician I guess. I'd really, really like to keep both but my house is only 1100 sf, and three sitars and three cases just eats up my space.
Neal, I will tell you that your instrument will be worth the wait. Of all the sitars I've touched the RR VK that I tuned up for Sangeeta was the Abfab of all of them. The fit of the pegs was so good that they really act like Grovers, extremely positive action, just like a 14:1 ratio, couldn't believe anything could be easier to tune than my Shristi or my special baby MPS. The action on the VK (specially built for Sangeetas smaller frame) was just like lightening, like the difference in action of a Dreadnaught with heavy gauge strings as opposed to a 000 with light guage strings. Also Neal you will not believe the tone which I think has to do with the superior gourds coming out of Maharashtra as well as the obviously superior craftsmanship and attention to detail that Sanjay puts into his instruments.
Great ZamZama's and happy Gamaka's to you all....uncle ken
Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 18, 2004 05:09 p.m.

Just back from tonight's lesson.

I said I would check the other students' instruments. I'm afraid I can't add much to what I said last week. They mostly all play no name/no maker instruments. I realise this will sound rude, and I don't intend to, but the only way I can explain the typical sound of one of these instruments is like a buzzing banjo.
The two exceptions are one guy whose sitar is labelled 'Bina Music', and a young lady who plays a VK style sitar with no name but it has the unusual (to me) feature of mother of pearl at the top of the neck and down the sides of the neck, where most sitars have penwork. This is the nicest sounding sitar apart from the teacher's Rikhi and the Mangla.
Tonight I played Jhalla for the first time. Fun!
BTW, is there a difference between Yaman and Yaman Kalyan? The two names seem to be being used interchangeably in the exercises I'm learning.

Peace to all,


Re:Mangla Teaks (again) May 18, 2004 05:52 p.m.

According to the Raga Guide by Joep Bor:

"When natural Ma is occasionally added in a concluding figure leading to Sa, the raga is known as Yaman Kalyan. In other respects, today's Raga Kalyan is so similair to Yaman that many musicians do not recognise it as an independent raga"



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