Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

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sam
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Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by sam » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:31 pm

Hi,

I started learning sarod some months ago, my background being in guitar and violin. I was wondering if anyone had fingernail issues with playing both sarod and guitar? At the moment I have my own nails filed pretty short and covered in acrylic. I'm trying to find the optimum length for sarod, that also enables me to play guitar - mainly Jazz/Blues/Folk style.

I suppose this issue could be relevant to other fretted instruments too.

Just wondering if anybody else was in a similar situation and if they had any thoughts on the topic?

cheers,

stuart

aparajit
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by aparajit » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:51 pm

I see that your post has been read several times with no response. That seems to be becoming typical here. Cannot figure out why?

I guess my answer to your question is no. I do not play guitar and sarod both. I have played guitar a long time ago (12 yrs old) for about 6 months and then tried to play it after I had been playing the sarod a lot, just at a friend's house for kicks and I quickly realized that it does not work. The nail length required to play the sarod interfered with the ability to cleanly press behind the frets of the guitar.

In my opinion, 1 (minimum) to 2 (preferable) mm of nail protrusion is needed to play the sarod. If you have callouses and your finger nails are such that the sarod string is depressed by the callous with the right amount of pressure to allow the nail to then come into contact with the string and plate, then in the exact same situation with the guitar, you will have the nails interfere *unless* you are able to keep your fingers tilted as compared to when you were playing the sarod. If your fingers have to be almost perpendicular to the fretboard at the point they press behind the fret, you will definitely have interference with the nail but if not, you can find a happy nail length and adjust your style to where you bring your fingers in perpendicular to the fingerplate while playing sarod but less so while playing guitar.

Do keep us posted, there are (I am sure) a lot of guitar players out there who love the sound of the sarod and I am sure would love to play both.

Regards
Aparajit

onthehudson
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by onthehudson » Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:09 am

My guru, and his father the Late pandit Vasant Rai played the guitar and well as thier main instruments the sarod.
Actually my teacher is more of an oud player than a guitar player. You should check out Vasant Rai, there is definately atleast 1 commercial release on the guitar with Zakir Hussian. Also to note Vasantji did not tune the guitar to the as the sarod but kept the traditional spanish tuning. Also while doing meends he bent the strings instead of sliding. On this recording he plays Basant Mukhari, darbari and ends with Kirvani, the guys on fire, i mean the he's on.

manirban73
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by manirban73 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:28 am

So, I've tried violin and sarod at the same time with terrible results - the violin fingerboard requiring the flesh of the fingertips, and being smaller, not really allowing for the nail protrusion required in sarod.

lakshman
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by lakshman » Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:26 pm

Yes. I keep my nails as short as possible when I have a guitar around, the optimum length is about to the tip of the finger. In the tradition I play in, we play with both the fingernail and the skin of the finger. My teacher (same teacher as onthehudson) keeps his nails pretty short which allows him to play guitar, which is what I try to do as well. I do have a lot of problem using the third and fourth fingers and I need to keep my third fingernail longer than the others and my pinkie nail is long to stroke the jawari with, but that's not necessary. I've found that it's easiest to play classical guitars with longer fingernails that steel stringed guitars. I've also modified my playing style a bit to accommodate longer fingernails, meaning using less chords. I do a lot of finger picking and use some sarod techniques in playing. I have yet to see my teacher play the guitar or oud yet while studying with him, only because neither are in working order currently.
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lakshman
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by lakshman » Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:28 pm

onthehudson wrote: You should check out Vasant Rai, there is definately atleast 1 commercial release on the guitar with Zakir Hussian. On this recording he plays Basant Mukhari, darbari and ends with Kirvani, the guys on fire, i mean the he's on.
??? Can you point me to this cause I havent heard this, unless youre referring to Autumn Song and Spring Flowers.
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sam
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by sam » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:19 pm

Thank you all for your thoughts. This is a really annoying situation for me because I have played the guitar since I was seven and have spent a long time developing my playing. But I have wanted to learn sarod for about 10 years and only did so in the last year. I find that most melodic work is fine on guitar but certain chords require the fingertip to be at right angles to the fingerboard (as Aparajit mentioned), which causes an issue with the nail.

Still, maybe being unable to play certain stuff on the guitar is an acceptable sacrifice for playing sarod! I was thinking that, worse case scenario, I'd be unable to play both, which would cause a dilemma for me. I'd like to be doing regular intensive practise on both instruments, if possible; not having to let one lay dormant while the other improves!

I ordered Autumn Song and Spring Flowers a couple of months back but the seller had trouble locating it so it never arrived but I must try and get a copy of it. I thought that Vasant Rai kept the traditional guitar tuning but replaced the fingerboard with a steel plate, therefore having no frets? I'm only going by heresay so I'm probably wrong!

I've also noticed that playing a Spanish/Classical style guitar is much easier (as Lakshman says) with longer nails as the neck is wider and so more forgiving in that respect.

I guess it's something I'll have to mull over...

lakshman
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by lakshman » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:02 pm

If you're thinking of studying the sarod seriously, you'll have to make a lot more sacrifices than your guitar playing, unfortunately. I don't have too hard of a time playing both and can keep my nails as short as possible for playing the guitar and as long as needed for the sarod without tooo much of trouble, but i don't use many chords anyways.

Vasantji did make a guitar like that (which he named the sur-guitar), but he also played regular guitar (as on a couple tracks from Autumn Song and Spring Flowers).

But you can definitely play both, with a few modifications to your guitar playing style.

I will say that I can basically no longer play viola, however. Which is a shame, and I might try and work out some techniques for it (using a sarangi-esque fingering style sometimes works), but I haven't tried in a while (I don't have my viola here).
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sam
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by sam » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:45 pm

It's interesting to hear that your viola playing suffers more than your guitar playing. At the moment I seem to be able to play the violin more easily than the guitar with longer, thicker nails.

I suppose it all comes down to adapting technique and hopefully not compromising on anything. As I am in my sarod infancy, I don't want to compromise on anything now and regret it later!

onthehudson
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by onthehudson » Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:44 pm

Lakshman, these recordings i heard at Aniruddhas' place. I think these were recorded live in the 70-80 at the World Music Institute concerts. The meends Vasantji does are mindbending. I also think you can get more microtonal accuracy on a guitar than a sarod, as the sustain on Vasantjis guitar was much more than any sarod ive heard. Also In the late 60s The indian slide guitar player Brij Bhushan Kabra who is mainly the student of ALi Akbar Khan also took several lessons from Vasantji.

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Greg
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by Greg » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:56 am

I don't play sarod (I play guitar, tabla, and sitar) but if you do not keep you nails short you are likely to damage your guitar's fingerboard.
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lakshman
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by lakshman » Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:22 am

onthehudson wrote:Lakshman, these recordings i heard at Aniruddhas' place. I think these were recorded live in the 70-80 at the World Music Institute concerts. The meends Vasantji does are mindbending. I also think you can get more microtonal accuracy on a guitar than a sarod, as the sustain on Vasantjis guitar was much more than any sarod ive heard. Also In the late 60s The indian slide guitar player Brij Bhushan Kabra who is mainly the student of ALi Akbar Khan also took several lessons from Vasantji.
I have one recording of him from the WMI concerts of him playing Basant Mukhari on the sur-guitar and then playing some bengali folk melodies on sarod. I thought you meant he was playing regular guitar, not sur-guitar.

I'm actually not all that partial to the sound of sur-guitar. It's nice, and the sustain is ridiculous, but it doesn't sound as good as the sarod to me.
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sam
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by sam » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:52 pm

Hi Greg,

Yes, damaging the fingerboard was another thought that had crossed my mind - especially if you have longer, stronger, coated nails.

stuart

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Greg
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by Greg » Tue Sep 09, 2008 7:16 am

Stuart

My Fender acoustic (now some 25+ years old) has some nasty (but not terminal) damage to the fretboard caused by my nails....keep 'em short!!

G
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Diego
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Re: Does anyone play sarod and guitar?

Post by Diego » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:06 am

A humble reply from a guitar but not sarod player who wandered on to this bit of the board:

Have you thought of playing Sarod left handed? (assuming you're right handed). I play tabla left handed, and have started mridangam right handed due to silly reasons, and it's ok, as long as you are prepared to start from scratch. It's quite onerous, but not as bad as losing a lifetime of guitar playing.

Of course, left handed sarods are likely to be tricky to come by

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