INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Help, my gourd is broken!


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Help, my gourd is broken! May 19, 2004 01:39 a.m.

Hi sitar friends, long time no see!

For some reason, my old 'Hiren Roy' concert sitar fell on the floor the main gourd first. She is cracked all around parallel to the tabli and with many pieces off at the stem of the pumkin.

I've made a search in the archives of this forum and I have dig up this adress who gives few techniques with the use of Epoxy glue.


  1. I wander if I could use carpenter glue instead of Epoxy ? Cause I never use epoxy before.

  2. Does the epoxy glue penetrate the pumkin's cells deeper than the carpenter glue ?
I welcome any other techniques ASAP (as soon as possible), cause this is my only sitar and I don't whant to have to rebuilt my calluses.


Re:Help, my gourd is broken! May 19, 2004 02:01 a.m.

Hi there,
you can use the carpenter glue. No problem at all in it.
In India, whenever a pumpkin cracks or breaks, this is how they repair it. If you have the pieces that came out of the gourd, then perfect, you will have to use the same ones to repair. Also you will need is the clay that is used to cover the holes or marks on the wood. I dont know the exact name of it.
Amazing part is, your sitar will sound better once the pumpkin is fixed again.. its a very well known fact with all the sitar dudes.

Sitar Friend

Juan Carlos de E
Re:Help, my gourd is broken! May 19, 2004 07:11 a.m.


I recommend you use hide glue (I don't know if you refer to hide glue like carpenters glue). The hide glue lets you unglue by heating the joint and ever will let you repair a secont time if you need. I recommend for any musical instrument repair or construction this glue because is reversible, sand very well and admit finishes like French polish and oil varnish.

Good luck, your problem has solution!
Juan Carlos

P.D. Excuse my English.

Re:Help, my gourd is broken! May 19, 2004 08:14 a.m.

try this link:

Might be helpfull.



Re:Help, my gourd is broken! May 19, 2004 04:07 p.m.

Hi sitar friends!

Thanks a lot for the usefull inputs. Uncle Ken sent me a technical e-mail with many photos

Warning: You must have a solid heart to see the gourdrepair.html at the web site


Re:Help, my gourd is broken! May 20, 2004 04:36 p.m.

Dan (May 19, 2004 04:07 p.m.):
Hi sitar friends!

Thanks a lot for the usefull inputs. Uncle Ken sent me a technical e-mail with many photos

Warning: You must have a solid heart to see the gourdrepair.html at the web site


you werent kidding when you said you need a strong heart to view that repair job , that gourd was smashed, an the repair was beautiful , cost was wallet killing $1000 but the instrument couldnt be replaced for that price ,
Re:Help, my gourd is broken! May 20, 2004 11:09 p.m.

Maybe "Humpty Dumpty" should check out "Silver Bush". He has the same problem that sitar had.

"Note to everyone here, don't let your sitar sit on a wall!"


Re:Help, my gourd is broken! May 27, 2004 08:17 a.m.

Hi. I've had great success with carpenters glue. The real slick trick is to use Scotch , and only "scotch" brand clear packing tape available at office depot, etc. Get a good layer of glue on the sides to be reconnected and a bed of glue on each side inside. tape one side exterior. position other gourd piece and stretch the tape over to the joining piece. wipe off the excess glue. 2 hrs. later , remove the tape. finish will be ok. Continue till done. A little water on a cloth will clean up any remaining glue smudges. By the way, don't ever leave a prizes sitar like yours in such a dangerous position. I keel you! Cheers! Tony Karasek
Re:Help, my gourd is broken! May 28, 2004 05:16 p.m.

Hello all!

Dan, how did it go, are you picking up the pieces,
is there life after death?
would be nice to hear how you are moving along.


Re:Help, my gourd is broken! Jun 09, 2004 04:41 a.m.

Hi again sitar friends,

I want to thank: uncle Ken, sitarfriend, Juan Carlos de E, Remco, Alan and Jeff for their contribution and Jan for wanting an update.

Brief history:
Hanging a sitar on a wall.. no way I would do that even with a cheap no name sitar! Mine is always in her case unless I'm playing or working on her.

Yep, my "Heren Roy Concert Sitar" is my prototype and since 1985, I have modified/improved her to my particular needs. I still have many ideas that I am working on step by step according to the results of my research, trials, needs and free time, to bring the Sitar to this Age of high teck while keeping its traditional look (a super piece of art) and its traditional functionality (Indian Classical Music) plus my own style of international music and compositions, both with lots of rich harmonic changes.

The set up:
First, I live with a roommate (joint tenant) in a small apartment where my room is a cubical using half of the living room.

I made a 4'x 4' portable scene which I use at home as a work table. Since a few months I was working on prolonging the sustain by mean of physics and electronics. My sitar being hook-up with wired components and probes, it was more convenient to sit, play and test at the feet of the bed so I could reach the electronic prototype and oscilloscope while holding the notes.

What happened:
My roommate and I argued again quarreling over whatever she could find of me doing "wrong" (or not to her liking). All that tension got relived into a nightmare in which I was trying to get out of my cubical, but someone hiding behind the curtain was blocking me. So I kicked the legs several time to be able to pass... I woke up realizing that somehow, which I taught was impossible to reach, I just kicked my sitar making her slip off the table. You know the rest

The repair:
I've been looking all over Quebec city and nobody ever heard of "hide glue", even our small version of the US "Home Depot". I could order some from internet, but my CC is 1k$ over its limit. But guess what? I'm moving out of here to near Montreal WITHOUT that roommate, yeaaaaaaaah!! So I'll check for a "Home Depot" or similar over there.

Maybe it is a good thing not to have done the repair so far. It gave me a stand back and now that the gourd is opened, I can see how it was brilliantly put together. Now I can sketch further my improvements as of how to hide the wiring and some components.


I was thinking in the first step to glue the puzzle together, then the cracks on each side of the 'tabli' and then to glue thin pieces of hard wood across the hole (like a lozenge 6" x 1.5") where the sideways cracks begin.

Q.1) Without the lozenge puzzle part in place, but with the thin pieces of hard wood reinforcement, will the gourd hold if I tune my sitar (25 strings} ?

Q.2) Quoting sitarfriend: "Amazing part is, your sitar will sound better once the pumpkin is fixed again.."

My understanding of that is: Since the main gourd material is fibrous, it should absorb some of the sound, isn't it? The repair involve adding a coat of glue or epoxy which soaked into the fibers, thus creating a partial inner rigid wall. Therefore the sound must be more bouncing back and forth inside the gourd affecting the sound, right?

Q.3) If an inner rigid wall improve the sound, why don't they coat the interior when the sitar is made..?

My guess is that due to the wide range of temperature changes, such coating would have to be able to expand and contract in the same manner as of the gourd itself. Otherwise, the differantial of the inner-outher expansion and contraction would pressure the wall to curve against its natural shape!

Feeling less depressed.. thanks to everyone

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