I’ve seen this described differently in different sources. Is the point to use a mizrab on both of the first to fingers to pluck harder?
I think this is mostly a school of thought thing, and ultimately dependent on the sound you want. With the veena technique, you can use either bare fingers, 2 mizrabs playing veena style plus one for chik if you want, or just one mizrab sitar style.
From the little experience I have had with surbahar, the bare fingers give a richer tone, but I imagine they will never be as loud as one of the mizrab approaches. However, that is just my surface value observation.
For the three mizrab style, see if you can find any recordings of Mushtaq Ali Khan. More available are recordings by his student Steven Landsberg. Also some good reading about surbahar tradition and its state in the contemporary raga world on his website: www.ragascape.com
Also, a note on Pushparaj Koshti, while he may sometimes use the veena technique, from what I hear he often uses sitar one-mizrab technique, and maybe even more-so these days, as a quick survey of youtube videos out there typically show him playing like this. See here for an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuwhAGlS0-E
Is it safe to bend more than a half step with the second string on a surbahar? Or will it break like on a sitar?
I have been told that the second string situation is similar to sitar, unfortunately! On the sitar, at least, I've been bending from the third string to get those notes. The jawari starts to go a bit up there, but still gets the job done. Imagine this is also be possible on surbahar.
No surbahar lovers here?
Checking in here! Been admiring from afar for the last 10 years, and looking forward to finally having one of my own this summer. Had my first experience playing one over the summer and it was wonderful.
Going back to the OP, though - StVitus - I don't know about too much surbahar instructional material out there, though I imagine it is scant. I hear Jeff Lewis gives great lessons over Skype, though, so you might look him up. You would likely learn the veena technique without mizrabs, from what I hear.