This is for discussions on all Indian melodic instruments
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The taraf strings on my Mrs. Radha Krishna Sharma sitar are quieter than my other instruments. They also don’t do those louder delayed sympathetic sounds that resemble feedback or a reverse delay on an electric guitar. Is this a setup issue or just a natural variety in the tone of an instrument? I’ve noticed a similar variety of taraf tones in recordings, with some instruments having barely audible taraf strings and other instruments being almost unruly.
Jawari job on that taraf bridge with a new rack of .010 strings will do wonders. Check the main bridge while you're at it. Opening that a tad will tickle the bottom strings more.
Thanks. I was thinking of having my teacher open the jawari up anyway. This instrument is a little plinky in places and I think it could be more lively. The gourd alone resonates like crazy and it has a fat, tight low end (think Mesa Boogie cabinets) that would have a nice growl if the bridge buzzed a little more.
Interesting topic. Tony can you tell me a little bit more how about exactly you do jawari on the taraf bridge? To make the tarafs louder do you sand in front of the bridge? and do you work on individual strings as well?
My experience is that in general and on most sitars the middle octave notes rings louder (about fret 11 till 17). Especially middle Ma and Pa and high Sa stand out. Re and Ga are less pronounced. Might have to do with harmonics? Also the lower notes (low ni and sa) and the higher notes (high re and ga) ring a bit softer.
What has worked for me with these bridges is to shape the surface flatter than you would think is right. The strings must make full contact with the surface as checked by the strings skid lines from the sweet spot right back to the slots. With a slight feathering of the leading edge you get that sweet spot but also full contact of strings light and evenly spread from front to back. The ears will tell you best with the bridge in place and strings tuned. An obvious improvement in "zing and sizzle" will verify you're doing it right. Certain areas ( high mid or low strings ) might not be right. Work that area of the bridge, not individual strings. Read the skid lines and read how the direct light ( window, overhead light, etc ) is showing the bridge surface as you put your eye to the side and look down and across. The mid neck does seem to enhance the Ma - Dha range of notes. I think that's the nature of the instrument, not so much the jawari. Gotta think a hot jawari could be compared to a good EQ bar. Mesa Boogie 4x10 cabs - now we're talking ! ! !
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