Review of fret tying strings.

This is for discussions on the Indian sitar and surbahar, This includes films, books, and recordings

Moderators: povster, s1owpoke, cabernethy, coughcapkittykat

Post Reply
StVitus
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:43 am

Review of fret tying strings.

Post by StVitus » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:22 am

In the last week I’ve retied every fret on my sitar with three different kinds of strings. I started with fishing line, but I wanted that shiny gold look. I tried the traditional thread Rain City Music sells, but that didn’t go so well. I finished up with c-lon (s-lon) string. Here’s a comparison:

TL;DR version: String sucks, use monofilament.

Fishing Line :D
I used South Bend brand ten 4.54 kilogram/10 pound test monofilament. This isn’t anything special, just something I keep around the house for odd jobs and hanging things. Fishing line was the best material I tried. It is easy to grab and, because it comes on a large spool, the radius of the curls is easy to deal with. It is also the easiest material to tie the knot in, because it glides through the knot instead of sticking as it tightens. The only drawback is that monofilament isn’t pretty or shiny.

I wish I had just stuck with the fishing line instead of moving on to string at all. If you have never tied frets before and just want to get the job done quickly, monofilament is the way to go.

Traditional Indian String :(
This is the gold string from Rain City music. Its the only bright gold string I found. The biggest problem with this is the knot. It comes in what looks like a simple coil of string. But that simple coil seems to be one giant knot. I have no idea how to untie this stuff. So it took forever to pull the string out of the weird knot. After pulling the string out it’s crimped up from being tied in the coil, which can get annoying. Another is that that it’s too thick. There isn’t really enough room in a fret slot for three loops of this stuff, so it often slipped out when tying the knot. This is not high-strength thread and it can break if you pull too tight against the slot in the fret. I was unhappy with the resulting knots and decided to start over.

C-lon :)
C-lon, also sold as s-lon, was recommended to me by another member at Chandrakantha. It’s high-strength nylon string for jewelry making. I couldn’t find c-lon at chain craft stores, but speciality shops sell it, and there are numerous varieties sold online. I used .5 mm, which fit the fret slots just fine. And it’s stronger than the Indian string, so I could pull hard without the string breaking. But it has big drawbacks. Most obviously, it only comes in dull gold colors, not the traditional bright gold used in India. C-lon comes on small spools, so the radius of twists in the string is small. As a result the short end of the knot tended to curl and sometimes fell off the fretboard while I was looping the long end over the fret. C-lon is slippery, so I sometimes dropped it when tying the knot. But not so slippery enough that it doesn’t get stuck when being pulled through the knot, so I sometimes had to loosen the knot and tweak it to get a tight knot.
Last edited by StVitus on Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MatSitar
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Review of fret tying strings.

Post by MatSitar » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:10 pm

Interesting post thank you! Have you tried Raincity music's gold nylon rolls? It did a great job for me! Better than fishing line.

StVitus
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:43 am

Re: Review of fret tying strings.

Post by StVitus » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:02 pm

I was wrong about c-lon/s-lon not coming in bright gold. There is a yellow color that looks like what the makers use in India. You’ll probably want to buy it in a store rather than online, as online it can be hard to tell if you’re looking at bright golden yellow or banana yellow.

I didn’t try the rolled thread from Lars. It looks like it’s probably the same c-lon that I used.

Lars
Posts: 1339
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:05 am
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Re: Review of fret tying strings.

Post by Lars » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:10 pm

The nylon thread is a #18 upholstery thread, it used to be made by Conso. It comes in a lot of colors though, I carry a few that are generally asked for or used in India sometimes. The traditional thread you're right about the knots, I just jimmy it loose and cut my piece and leave it in a rats nest that it is. I do know someone who spent half a day unraveling it and then put it on a fishing reel but that's too complicated for me.....

Lars
http://www.raincitymusic.com

User avatar
povster
Site Admin
Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:08 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Review of fret tying strings.

Post by povster » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:29 am

StVitus wrote:...use monofilament...I used South Bend brand ten 4.54 kilogram/10 pound test monofilament. This isn’t anything special, just something I keep around the house for odd jobs and hanging things.... The only drawback is that monofilament isn’t pretty or shiny.
Monofilament is NOT the way to go. Over time it dries out and when you move the frets it will score the finish of your sitar because it dries and hardens. Monofilament is the fret tie of choice for the cheap sitars.

Rather, use a braided nylon thread like upholstery thread that has a little "give" to it that allows you to get a nice tight tie.
...Michael
Dasani - the official bottled water of ICM
Panini - the official bread of ICM

User avatar
Sitarfixer
Posts: 1948
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:27 am
Location: Merrillville, IN USA
Contact:

Re: Review of fret tying strings.

Post by Sitarfixer » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:31 pm

C-Lon fan I am. Love the color choices. Preferred colors are gold, antique gold, latte, flax, sable and wine. It's a reeeeeely good idea to get into the fret slots with a micro hack saw blade and round down the fret slots. Finish the slot with some #320 sand paper. Result is a slot with no sharp corners and more wall area on the outer end which reduces the chance of the thread slipping over the edge. Also a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeely good idea is to tie the thread knots so that the knot is up on the side binding of the neck, assuming your baby is so equipped. This is critical if monofilament fish line is in use. Dragging frets ( RE and DHA ) to the flat position will produce the Maginot Line on the neck under the knot. Braided thread - not the case. To keep braided thread ends from looking like my hair on a good day, a small drop of crazy glue applied immediately after tying will keep it all neat and tidy.

Neal
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:11 pm
Location: Beantown (Boston, Massachusetts)
Contact:

Re: Review of fret tying strings.

Post by Neal » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:35 pm

Sitarfixer wrote:To keep braided thread ends from looking like my hair on a good day.
I feel your pain Tony.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests