Machine heads on sarangi

This is for discussions on all Indian melodic instruments

Moderators: povster, s1owpoke, cabernethy, coughcapkittykat

Post Reply
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:51 pm

Machine heads on sarangi

Post by SarangiLal » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:21 am

Wondering if it was possible to retrofit a sarangi with machine head tuners for the sympathetic strings? I'm a bit curious if this can be done.

Posts: 102
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:02 am

Re: Machine heads on sarangi

Post by s1owpoke » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:44 am

This is the only one I have seen viewtopic.php?f=24&t=11045

I love the charm of my antique wooden sarangi and can't imagine machine tuners but I am sure it can be done with some modifications :D


"Real music is not for wealth, not for honours or even the joys of the mind... but as a path for realization and salvation."
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:34 am

Re: Machine heads on sarangi

Post by peeceebee » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:25 am

It's more than charm- Although I'm sure that mechanical tuners could be adopted in a system to work on a sarangi, it would change the tone and responsiveness with the extra mass, and coupling the strings to the body through the metal tuners instead of more directly with standard wooden pegs- Metal has a different resonance than wood.

trippy monkey
Posts: 4280
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 7:36 am
Location: Lancs UK

Re: Machine heads on sarangi

Post by trippy monkey » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:37 am

A BORG Sarangi!!??

It makes me shudder?!!? :shock:


martin spaink
Posts: 329
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:13 pm
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Machine heads on sarangi

Post by martin spaink » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:36 pm

Hello all, I will completely chime in with pcb above. Not only that you'd have to add bits of extensions onto the instrument to create enough space to fit them all, which will deaden the resonance etc just as pcb wrote.
So let's consider what is behind all this: an unsatisfying relation with the instrument, at least while busy tuning it. Honestly I don't think the genral design will bear any sort of improvement without actually getting worse. On the other hand, if good materials are used, everything is carefully and knowingly tweaked and fiddled, and you have all the proper strings everywhere, and still you have a hard time tuning, try to decide where a meaningful improvement can be made. Either someting about the instrument, the tuningwrench you use or in the way you go about it. If you have paid sufficient attention to fixing all the hardware, that should normally allow you to smoothly glide into proper pitch instead of hit and miss in an erratic zig-zag fashion. Have a hard look at the tuningwrench in action. You want a good fit / not too lose nor too tight, if possible drill a hole near the top to allow for a round steel bar of 8 mm. / 12cm to be used as a T-bar handle to increase control and force. Note that often pegs are being pushed on all the time, often exceeding the comfort zone, jamming movement and maybe sometime split that part of the body. So check that and necessary pull back up. If even with T-bar grip it's no good on some particular pegs, take the time to solve the problem. Take the peg out if you have to, have a good look and feel whether there is any axial play, check visually the probably somewhat shiny band(s) on the peg, polished by turning in its peghole(s). These bands should be smooth all around, no gaps, long pegs should fit equally tight in both pegholes. Gaps can be filled with superglue and be filed even. Work in some peg-dope, NEVER use oil.
Besides all that, especially on some uncooperate pegs, you might find a way to fit a small tuningbead in somewhere. I ended up having as many as possible, in jumping rows under the bridge, and have always enjoyed the comfort of being able to tweak the tuning in playing position without the tuningwrench. I used oval glass beads approx. 4x7 mm. and some larger,round ones.

User avatar
David Berner
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:02 am
Location: California

Re: Machine heads on sarangi

Post by David Berner » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:12 pm

A friend of mine found this article, i think some of you may find it interesting... ... f/sarangi/

Sorry the photos are so small. Looks pretty crazy.

Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:10 am

Re: Machine heads on sarangi

Post by marlinbrown » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:11 am

I assume that you are the same Michael Wheeler who posted all the esraj videos on youtube. It was your videos that got me interested in the esraj. (i am going to buy one from exotichub soon, one with machine tuners) So i will gladly buy a copy of your book. I am sure it will be very helpful. This is my first foray into bowed instruments.

Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:29 am

Re: Machine heads on sarangi

Post by npgatech7 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:28 am

Replacing with Machine tuners may affect the sound a VERY TINY bit. Majority of the sound is produced by the transfer of string vibration through the main bridge, which in turn vibrates the skin. The sound hole then amplifies the sound. It is sort of saying that the machine tuners on an acoustic guitar makes a difference. For that matter, even the neck of an acoustic guitar doesn't make a whole lot of difference. May be like 1% or less. Primary amplification happens in the guitar body, specifically by the wood top, back and sides.

I do understand the the natural frequency of the body changes as the mass & the coupling changes, but realistically speaking, it does not matter. For all intents and purposes, the coupling of wood + wood vs. wood + metal can be approximated as rigid. However, this is a moot point, because the peg doesn't transfer the sound to the sound hole body. The main bridge & the skin does.

Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:31 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Machine heads on sarangi

Post by stringtester » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:37 am

It´s difficult to know if machineheads on sarangi vill affect the sound.
They don´t affect the sound on esradj or dilruba.But for sarangi you need a lot of more
machineheads. I don´t think it´s necassary to have machineheads for the upper strings
going threw the jovaribridges. They are more easy to tune then the others. At least on
my sarangi. And if you can find small and light machineheads you can reduce the weight
you add to the sarangi.
You can also replace the metalhandles on the machineheads with something more light.
For example the handles on the woodpegs. But if you don´t like to destroy the woodpegs
you can make new handles of wood. I have also seen machineheads with plastic handles.
But it´s more beautiful with wood.
Well we cant know anything if we don´t test it. I have no time until next winter, but
maybe someone else can do it.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests