Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

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StVitus
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Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby StVitus » Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:03 am

I’ve been listening to a recording of Ravi Shankar playing raga bihag lately: https://youtu.be/jsvm_3oqWe4?t=2m45s

His bass notes starting at around 2:45 in the Alap have a big powerful sound more like a surbahar than a sitar. How did he get that sound? Was he using a heavier wire for the low sa? Did he play an instrument with an extended scale?

barend
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby barend » Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:33 am

Good question. I think it is just matter of sitar setup and jawari and especially playing technique.

That's what I like about RS. He is immediately recognizable. More than any other sitar player.

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Sitarfixer
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby Sitarfixer » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:54 pm

A slightly thicker bronze, not brass wire was used ( British gauge ) when I had my paws on his sitar. The instrument itself was larger than standard - 14" wide tabli. Jawari was a bit flatter than usual - very Sur-Baharish. As told to me, there was a heated discussion about these specs. Nodu Mullick was apprehensive about it all pointing out that the "sitar" qualities would be lost. Raviji insisted as he wanted these Sur-Bahar qualities in the instrument.

barend
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby barend » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:07 am

Tony (or anyone else), do you know until what year RS used the Nodu sitar?
Which sitars did he use after that? and did they have the same specs?
would be nice to compare some recordings and see how much his sound changed (or didn't change) when using another sitar.

MatSitar
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby MatSitar » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:07 pm

I agree with Barend!

It would be interesting to know the history and specs of all the sitars he used. Somebody have these informations?

CheesecakeTomek
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby CheesecakeTomek » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:49 pm

Interesting stuff to note. The whole sitar seems mellower here than say, on the Three Ragas record. Not sure what he was playing there or the time between these recordings, though I imagine the Bihag was later?

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Sitarfixer
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby Sitarfixer » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:44 pm

The 3 Ragas recording featured the "Fish Tail" sitar. ( Pick guard with a sharply defined fish tail ). That was about 1965ish I think.The Grand machine as seen / heard at Monteray 67, Woodstock 69 lasted until 97 - 98. Loved working on that one! What a treat ! ! What a sound ! ! Airlines smashed it and the Butcher of Delhi finished the job with cross bracing, a hideous refinish, etc. From there the two other Nodu sitars were brought into service. The Deutch Gramaphone album covers show these. One had a straight line of trim around the tabli and the other had little fish hooks on the sides of the tabli. Airlines got them both by year 2000. At that point, Raviji took on "Little Red", a seriously smaller double gourd full carve from Rikhi Ram. Paxman company in Harold Wood , England custom built a case for it. Weighed a ton, I can tell you ! Wood upper tumba even. All downhill now. Little Red retired by 2002-3. There was periodic use of another RIkhi Ram sitar with a line of gold paint on a dark finish. Quite a turn in fashion. By 2010 the Rikhi Ram "Ovation" porto sitar came into use, along with the park bench. Sigh ! Anoushka had the last of the Nodu sitars. She drove the fish hook trimmed sitar until the airlines once again destroyed it. That would have been around 2000. The Nodu family remains are all in a glass display case at Shankar-La in Delhi. Anoushka for a while was playing on a blue ink label Hiren Roy. Don't know what happened to that one. Now she's working over a Rikhi Ram with a Manipuri carved back. Chikari strings are still 1/2" outbourd of the neck. I've offered to build her a sitar. Still on hold there.

CheesecakeTomek
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby CheesecakeTomek » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:07 am

Jeez Louise - that is both a fascinating and painful ride through history! I haven't flown with a sitar in close to 7 years, and I feel like there's all the more hair on my head for it. Woof.

barend
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby barend » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:22 pm

Sitarfixer wrote:The 3 Ragas recording featured the "Fish Tail" sitar. ( Pick guard with a sharply defined fish tail ). That was about 1965ish I think.The Grand machine as seen / heard at Monteray 67, Woodstock 69 lasted until 97 - 98.


Excellent info Tony! Just to be sure: that Fish Tail sitar was that also a Nodu? are there any close up pictures of that one? (other than the pictures on the old records)

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Sitarfixer
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby Sitarfixer » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:21 pm

The "fish tail" sitar was a Kanai Lal ( Nodu rework ) as all of them were. Best pic I can find is this one.
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Fish Tail 03.jpg
Fish Tail 03.jpg (135.38 KiB) Viewed 81 times
Last edited by Sitarfixer on Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby Sitarfixer » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:43 pm

Here's the pick of the litter - the sitar used in Monteray, Woodstock on up into the 90's.
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Nodu Monteray Axe.jpg
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Sitarfixer
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby Sitarfixer » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:46 pm

Here is one of the last two Nodu machines as featured on the Deutch Gramaphone covers. They were more or less identical with the notable difference being one of them with the little hooks on the white border around the tabli as pictured here.
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Nodu Fish Hook Trim.jpg
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Last edited by Sitarfixer on Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sitarfixer
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby Sitarfixer » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:47 pm

Here is the mystery Nodu Sitar. It's the only one I haven't had my paws on. I'm led to believe somebody in Switzerland has it. Anybody with info on this one, please submit !
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Nodu Axe Mystery 2.jpg
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westsea
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby westsea » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:37 pm

To have Tony Karasek share his treasure of knowledge on this forum, is a priceless gift.
Thanks Tony!

MatSitar
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Re: Ravi Shankar bass note tone.

Postby MatSitar » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:48 pm

Yeah! Thanks a lot Tony!


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