Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

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Tomek
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Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by Tomek » Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:44 pm

The action is fine on the lower playing strings, but on the Ma string it's pretty high - at least half an inch towards the end of the fingerboard (where it meets the skin, of course). Together with the higher tension on that string, it feels like it's harder to play than necessary.

Image

Now, I understand that part of the slope you can see on the picture is the higher tension on the lower part of the bridge, due to all the tarafs and chickaris. But it looks to me like there's quite a bit on the right 'foot' of the bridge, that could be filled down to improve the string action. If I decided to do so (and it's full restring time soon!), what would be the best / easiest way to go about it?
Any advice appreciated.
Tomek

arnabsarod
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by arnabsarod » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:48 am

Hi Tomek,

Your sarod looks like it could use some lowering of string action. It is way too high overall. You are absolutely right about the slope on the bridge. The right leg does have quite a bit on it, so you can totally have a go at it. Just make sure that the tarabs don't touch any part of the fingerboard as a consequence of the lowering/filing.

Regards,

Arnab

Tomek
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by Tomek » Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:57 pm

Thanks Arnab;
What would be the best file for the job? What would be an ideal, or at least typical height of the Ma string?

arnabsarod
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by arnabsarod » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:01 am

My sarod has a string speaking length of 66.7 cm. The bridge is 1.8 cm tall and the distance of the Ma string from the plate at the highest note possible (ati-taar gandhar = G'') is 0.8 cm. It works well.

Cheers,

a

arnabsarod
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by arnabsarod » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:19 am

Is your sarod a left-handed one?

a view of my sarod bridge:
Attachments
DSC01147.JPG
my sarod bridge
DSC01147.JPG (203.4 KiB) Viewed 5425 times

Tomek
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by Tomek » Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:26 pm

Thanks Arnab, this definitely helps.
Yes, my sarod is indeed a lefty.

aparajit
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by aparajit » Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:42 am

Definitely do not lower the action of the sarod by filing the bottom of the feet. I hope you have not done this already.

The issues that this will create are as follows:

1. You have to unstring and restring the sarod to get to the bottom of the bridge feet.
2. by changing the bridge feet, you will change action on all strings, not just one string.
3. You will not know the consequences of your action (sorry about the pun) until you restring.
4. The way the tarab strings sit relative to the point of connection on the drum side and the plate side and the location of the holes and action at that location are all fine tuned by the luthier to prevent buzzing etc. You will end up changing this and that could cause some issues.

My recommendation is that you change the action by filing the top of the bridge. I cannot draw any pictures here so I cannot show you how I would do this but the bottom line is that the location of the string should stay the same. This way, the spacing will not change. You should file a little, make the groove, fit the string back in the groove, then check the action, then file some more...etc. This way, you do not make any drastic changes. This is also essential because the metal fingerplate itself may not be properly flat and may be undulating. A high action on a new instrument typically tells me that the luthier did a shoddy job and could not get the strings to stop buzzing and so came up with the higher action.

I have an excel spreadsheet showing how the plate should be (flat at first and then taking off like an airplane as you approach the nut) to get the lowest action. I can email it to you if you wish but good luck on actually achieving that kind of accuracy. There are ways to check for undulations and then fixing them. I would recommend you do that if your lowered action causes buzzing.

arnabsarod
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by arnabsarod » Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:01 am

Tomek,

Now that I think about it, Aparajit is right. Shaving the legs of the bridge can be a pain, as you would have to remove all the strings and then re-string your sarod. And there's always some guesswork involved. I have always managed to get decent results because I've always written down all the dimensions in a notebook while working on similar problems. sarod bridges made these days are really bad - and this is true even of the top names. The only bridges that, in my experience, are decent and well-adjusted right from the beginning, are the ones from Gopal Sharma. Alas, that workshop does not exist any more.

I've been trying to get Oriental Musikraft to standardize their sarod (and bridge, plate etc) dimensions into three or four templates, but they never manage to retain accurate sketches of the successful sarods they build.
Regards,

Arnab

sarodplayer
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by sarodplayer » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:10 am

Hi, I had a similar problem with a sarod and from my experience unless you would like to spend weeks messing around with your sarod and probably not get a good result at the end I would just get another sarod that is set up properly. A teacher of mine brought me back one from India made by Dulal of Oriental Musickraft that was fine. The story was that it was made for Aashish Khan, but he did not need it or something, so maybe I was lucky.

I would just play this sarod for now and save for a new one, then just keep it for students. The action is certainly too high, it should be 3/8 of an inch where the metal meets the skin.

I first filed the feet on my old sarod but ended up too low, but I played it like that for many years as a student. When I had time and wanted a better sound I tried building up the bridge again with slivers of ivory, and took off the skin and filed down the wood on the end of the bowl, and put a new skin on, but I did not make the skin thin enough, so it was all a waste of time, but I learnt stuff about myself! I keep that sarod for my poverty-stricken students now.

Yours Simon

periklistsoukalas
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by periklistsoukalas » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:58 pm

Hello There !

I Have a Hemen Sarod which strings is also very high (MA is 1,50 cm in the position of the 'meeting' the skin or 1,3cm in the highest possible note...). My bridge height is 2cm and vibrating string length is 69cm. For this reason i'm tunning it much lower to achieve easier / softener playing. What you suggest me to do for lowering the strings ? Lowering the bridge leg (s) is not quite good because it'll low also my tarabs and it doesn't have much height left before touching the skin.. So i'm thinking
1. Lower the bridge (by fillig) from the top only the 4 basic / melodic ones (not chikari) but on the other hand i'm thinking of when i play the lower PA i'm going to hit with my jaba / pick the tarabs below as well and it's pretty difficult to avoid it..
2. to add new and much deeper string slots next to the exsist ones just for only the 4 melodic strings.

So,any other idea ? or something ??
kind regards
Periklis Tsoukalas

aparajit
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by aparajit » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:25 am

Hi Periklis,

Read my long post on action on this board to understand all that is involved and also my new plate design to help action related issues.

Do keep in mind that if you lower the main strings, they will get closer to the tarabs and there may be interference in your playing the main strings. The Kharaj Sa is directly above the Dha and Ni tarab strings and this is where the maximum problem can occur.

If you can measure the distance between the main strings and tarabs (at location of playing) and also tarabs and plate at location where plate meets skin, that would be helpful to know to guide you further.

Regards,
Apu

periklistsoukalas
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by periklistsoukalas » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:17 am

Thanks Apu for the help !
I've already read the posts but i'm still searching maybe for an other way (if it is any).

kind regards
Periklis

aparajit
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by aparajit » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:48 am

No problem Periklis,

Here are some things that you can do that will help overall.

1. Lower via bridge feet to the extent that the tarabs still manage to clear the plate. You can get fairly close but leave at least 1/16th inch or slightly more. Do this by measuring while sarod is in full tune and then reducing feet by comparable amount.
2. Lower via actual bridge along main strings but keep in mind that you do not want to get too close to tarab strings, esp in vicinity of bass SA.
3. Lower the action at the nut but do it VERY carefully since if you overdo it, you have no second chance other than to replace nut. You can get really really close to the plate and be OK but make sure that there are no undulations near the nut that will cause buzzing.

If you respond to my previous reply with the measurements I ask, I can tell you how much you can really reduce. All this also depends on whether the plate is of sufficient uniformity to handle lower action without buzzing.

Regards,
Apu

periklistsoukalas
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Re: Should I attempt to lower the action on my sarod?

Post by periklistsoukalas » Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:44 pm

Thank you very much Apu !

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