Sitar scale length

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Audiomonk
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:55 pm

Sitar scale length

Post by Audiomonk » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:08 pm

Hello. I've got a few questions on measuring sitar scale length. Please help! Thanks!
1) Is the scale length of a sitar measured from the front of the string "nut" as on a guitar, or is it from the break angle filed into the nut for the "ma" string?
2) I've seen many people describe measuring scale length to the front face of the jawari. Is this correct? The initial break angle happens towards the back of the jawari, so why measure it at the front? The pivot point of the main strings is not at the point closest to the sympathetic bridge.
Thanks!

David Russell Watson
Posts: 352
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:52 am

Re: Sitar scale length

Post by David Russell Watson » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:33 am

Audiomonk wrote: 1) Is the scale length of a sitar measured from the front of the string "nut" as on a guitar, or is it from the break angle filed into the nut for the "ma" string?
Well, properly speaking, we should only call the actual vibrating length of the string "scale length", so it should indeed be measured from the point where the string contacts the nut, not the front of the nut. Although the difference is usually very small, less than 2 mm on mine.
Audiomonk wrote: 2) I've seen many people describe measuring scale length to the front face of the jawari. Is this correct?
No, not if we wish to accurately describe the vibrating length of the string.
Audiomonk wrote:The initial break angle happens towards the back of the jawari, so why measure it at the front?
No doubt because it's difficult to determine visually exactly where the end node is on top of the bridge, whereas the front edge of the bridge is a visually distinct boundary.

Although, more often I've seen people measure from the groove sawed into the bridge at its back, which is usually a little closer to the actual node than the front edge of the bridge, though still not, strictly speaking, where the node's actually located.

Keep in mind, however, that the error in measurement obtained from these "incorrect" methods is fairly small, and usually negligible :·)

David

Audiomonk
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:55 pm

Re: Sitar scale length

Post by Audiomonk » Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:04 am

Thanks David. I'm under the impression that the frets of the sitar are actually located a certain percent flat of the harmonic in order to compensate for the string having to be depressed so far. I've noticed that the harmonic for the main playing string is about a 1/4 inch beyond it's corresponding frets position. However, once the string is depressed the note is actually in tune. I tried moving the fret to the harmonic, and then when the string Is depressed the note goes sharp.

David Russell Watson
Posts: 352
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:52 am

Re: Sitar scale length

Post by David Russell Watson » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:17 am

Audiomonk wrote:Thanks David. I'm under the impression that the frets of the sitar are actually located a certain percent flat of the harmonic in order to compensate for the string having to be depressed so far. I've noticed that the harmonic for the main playing string is about a 1/4 inch beyond it's corresponding frets position. However, once the string is depressed the note is actually in tune. I tried moving the fret to the harmonic, and then when the string Is depressed the note goes sharp.
Yes, it's the one thing I dislike about the sitar: its high action.

David

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