Help buying this Surbahar

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Winemaker
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by Winemaker » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:18 pm

katyrow wrote:
Winemaker wrote: the sitar he sells was actually made from Nitai. So if anyone got experience on his instruments i would aporeciate it
Pushpraj Koshti has been seen playing a Nitai Chandra surbahar. The Nitai "pro" model is more expensive than Waseem's, and his "standard" is around the same price or perhaps a little higher that Waseem's. I've never played one, but they look to be very high quality. Sitarsencat, a very reputable retailer, sells them. But if your seller wants to sell you a Nitai Chandra, it ain't the one in the ad.
I asked him for some more pictures, he actually told me he got 2 surbahars made from Nitai, So let's hope the pictures he show me next corroborates that is a Surbahar made from him. I think he is a trusty seller, He is also a well known teacher in the area, so I don't think he would try to cheat on me. But just to clear the situation I asked him some pictures from the other surbahar he got on sale.

Thanks for taking the time to answer, I will post some pictures later tonight.

Namaste

barend
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by barend » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:02 pm

Here it is. Looks very nice and they seem to be good surbahars. I once had a sitar from Nitai and that had a good sound and was very easy to play but it didn't have much volume. That's why I sold it. Probably the tabli was too thick. I think he uses less thick tablis nowadays. Not sure though. Think Sergi told me.

I have to stop looking at those pictures because the more I look at them the more I want one. But I want to keep it with sitar.

http://www.sitarsencat.com/prod-sitar-s ... ai-and-son
Last edited by barend on Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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musicslug
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by musicslug » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:23 am

sitarsencat.com has pictures of one of Nitai's surbahars:

http://www.sitarsencat.com/cat-sitars-t ... 3/surbahar

it's completely different from the one you're asking about.

I play surbahar and rudra vina. I haven't heard Nitai's surbahars, but have played one of his rudra vinas - I thought it was excellent, wouldn't hesitate to buy one if I were shopping for one.

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cwroyds
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by cwroyds » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:06 am

I would not buy anything until I saw photos of the actual instrument I was getting.
If the one in the original pictures are not from the maker you are actually buying, there is something fishy going on.
Just tell him you want to see the actual instrument you are buying.
If he can't produce photos of it, then it is dodgy and I would run away from that sale.
It doesn't make sense.

Sillofthedoor
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by Sillofthedoor » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:18 pm

katyrow wrote: But if your seller wants to sell you a Nitai Chandra, it ain't the one in the ad.
Katyrow is correct that is waseem and the design is also Waseems, not that designs can't be copied, but would more likely be copied by his Miraj counterparts than by an established maker in another city with his own designs.

Its a waseem.

Given that the seller is like this about it, it may make more sense to go direct to the maker, it is probably even cheaper to do so.

trippymonkey
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by trippymonkey » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:40 pm

After reading a few posts here I hope nobody is alleging a NEW surbahar will sound the same after a few years if it sounds a little quiet now ??!?!!?
I had an EIGHT stringer made for me in Kolkatta & sent over to Varanasi to be 'finished-off' !!!
Had it just a few years now & its sound is VERY good indeed !!!

Anyone here who is 'friended' with me on Facebook will have heard a little of it recently as I posted pics & a small sound sample using the same stills camera.
Also they would've seen the 2 I still have IN Varanasi & a quite plain one I sent back to the UK too !!!

Nick

Winemaker
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by Winemaker » Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:22 pm

Sillofthedoor wrote:
katyrow wrote: But if your seller wants to sell you a Nitai Chandra, it ain't the one in the ad.
Katyrow is correct that is waseem and the design is also Waseems, not that designs can't be copied, but would more likely be copied by his Miraj counterparts than by an established maker in another city with his own designs.

Its a waseem.

Given that the seller is like this about it, it may make more sense to go direct to the maker, it is probably even cheaper to do so.
The seller has now shown me some pictures of the actual instruments made by Nitai Babu. It has passed a few days since I made this thread but I hope you can still help me and tell me what you all think about it. Its expensive so need to be sure.
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Winemaker
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by Winemaker » Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:24 pm

a few more.
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Sitarfixer
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by Sitarfixer » Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:43 pm

This one looks better than a lot I've seen. Nice to see 8 large pegs. If you go with the traditional 7 string set up, then put the 1st. string on peg #2 and take the rest on around. That will reduce the 1st. and 2nd. string angles from the nut to the peg shaft. Highly recommend doing this. If you just gotta have all 8 strings then I recommend installing a second nut with the holes in it ( like a sitar ) and set those holes to divide the string angles, again reducing the string angles off the nut. The last two Surbies that I worked on required this modification. One of them already had the 1st. string slot sheared off. That required a filler block to be cut and fit.

The rest of the instrument as I can see from these pics ( and assuming this is the actual instrument you will receive ) - nice fat frets that aren't too wide so no lateral fret shift - good; Pegs - I've seen better. Rough filed peg shafts not sanded. Easy fix but an indicator of slipping standards. That first peg ( lower left in the pic ) looks to be out of alignment. Sap wood on the handles - cosmetic bug of mine. Taraf pegs look ok. Love the upper tumba profile. Must be spun wood so don't expect any dramatic sound boost. The hole on the back of the neck for the tumba looks like an after thought as when the bracket is screwed on, it will cover quite a bit of that white trim. The fret markers on the side of the neck ( MA and high SA ) suggest this is an instrument somebody ( a beginner ) brought in. No way should those tab markers be on a new instrument ! Thumb strips ( bone ) that flank the scratch plate could have been sanded and shaped a bit. Cosmetic but there it is. Nice carving over all. The beads up with the pegs might as well come off. They will have little effect in tuning. The foot thingie is a bit over the wall but looks like you'll get a good 45 degree neck angle from the floor. Overall it looks ok. I would verify that this is indeed a new instrument and indeed the one you will actually get. Ladies and gentlemen ! Place your bets ! ! !

barend
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by barend » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:24 am

I haven't seen many 8 strings surbahars if any. Are they tuned the same as 8-string sitars relatively? so with with the ga string added? Are there any recordings of 8 string surbahars? seems like overkill and too clouded sonically to me to have 8 strings on a surbahar.

Why is there an extra hole drilled between the kharaj and pa string (at the side of the headstock in the second last picture)?

and an additional general surbahar question:
what is the advantage or disadvantage of the more old school style knife shaped frets like on older Kanai Lal surbahars? are they better or worse and more difficult to play than the sitar style frets that you see on most recent surbahars?

Winemaker
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by Winemaker » Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:21 am

barend wrote:I haven't seen many 8 strings surbahars if any. Are they tuned the same as 8-string sitars relatively? so with with the ga string added? Are there any recordings of 8 string surbahars? seems like overkill and too clouded sonically to me to have 8 strings on a surbahar.

Why is there an extra hole drilled between the kharaj and pa string (at the side of the headstock in the second last picture)?

and an additional general surbahar question:
what is the advantage or disadvantage of the more old school style knife shaped frets like on older Kanai Lal surbahars? are they better or worse and more difficult to play than the sitar style frets that you see on most recent surbahars?
Thanks for all the answers this far, I really appreciate it. I hope others can answer to your questions as Im intersted to know too.

Namaste

Lars
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by Lars » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:30 pm

Winemaker wrote:
barend wrote:I haven't seen many 8 strings surbahars if any. Are they tuned the same as 8-string sitars relatively? so with with the ga string added? Are there any recordings of 8 string surbahars? seems like overkill and too clouded sonically to me to have 8 strings on a surbahar.

Why is there an extra hole drilled between the kharaj and pa string (at the side of the headstock in the second last picture)?

and an additional general surbahar question:
what is the advantage or disadvantage of the more old school style knife shaped frets like on older Kanai Lal surbahars? are they better or worse and more difficult to play than the sitar style frets that you see on most recent surbahars?
Thanks for all the answers this far, I really appreciate it. I hope others can answer to your questions as Im intersted to know too.

Namaste
This structure is made in the outskirts of Kolkata. Nitai passed away awhile ago and hadn't done much in his last years from what I'm told. Looks like a nice structure, etc. from the pics.

I've had a few 8 string surbahars through here, I like them either way. You can always just clip the extra string out of the way and there's plenty of room for the extra string on the headstock of many surbahars unlike sitars where it should be made an inch longer.

The extra hole is the exit hole for the peg on the opposite side. There's also one between the 4th and 5th peg that you can barely see and it's a very tight fit so you'll have to trim it down soon as you'll have slipping peg issues possibly as the gripping portion of the peg shaft gets compressed but it won't be able to move further. Sometimes this will also cause them to stick rather than slip. Not a big deal to take care of.

I don't know anyone that's making the old style frets. They have advantages, are more stable but harder to fit correctly. Having a nice bit of arthritis I find the round sitar type much easier to play and work on. Plus the wire is available in India.

Lars
http://www.raincitymusic.com

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nicneufeld
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by nicneufeld » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:48 am

I have an 8 string surb....I keep it strung that way, but despite my initial intentions (as a gandhar pancham sitar player) I do not tune the ga chikari to ga. It goes up to Pa with the other chikari...the sound is just too muddy with a low-tuned ga chikari, in my opinion. So in theory, I'm not getting much more out of it than a 7-string surb, unless the extra chikari string serves as an additional bit of friction to stop a chikari stroke from hitting the kharaj string, during jhalla. Dunno, but it works for me...

barend
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by barend » Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:03 am

Lars wrote: The extra hole is the exit hole for the peg on the opposite side.

I don't know anyone that's making the old style frets. They have advantages, are more stable but harder to fit correctly. Having a nice bit of arthritis I find the round sitar type much easier to play and work on. Plus the wire is available in India.
Of course, could have thought of that myself. I wasn't taking account there were pegs on both side of the headstock as opposed to a sitar.
About the frets: I can imagine that the sitar style surbahar frets are easier on the hands than the small surface of the knife shaped frets. What are the advantages you say of those old style frets? Do they have better intonation on the fret of the bass strings? and one more question: is the fret intonation of the surbahar bass strings in general better than on a KP sitar (because of the curvature of the frets) both with old and new style frets? I have never owned a surbahar.
nicneufeld wrote:the sound is just too muddy with a low-tuned ga chikari, in my opinion.
Yes this was what I was expecting. Even a on sitar I think the ghandar string can sometimes be too much let alone on a surbahar. Still I am curious to hear how it sounds. I have many surbahar recordings but none with an 8 string. Do you know any?

waseem
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Re: Help buying this Surbahar

Post by waseem » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:26 pm

My dear guru-ji Ashok Pathak plays an ancient 8-string Kanai Lal surb that has been around in his family for 3 generations, its feather light (I have held it) and the sound is amazing. Here is a decent recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdRTz3i9CKM

Also note, he plays the surb in Been-ang (2 mizrabs and the jhala strokes are played with the small pinky).

There is also a nice recording of raga Bhimpalasi on the surhabar which you can look for on Spotify, same instrument.

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