Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

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npgatech7
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:29 am

Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by npgatech7 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:44 am

Hi all!

I just discovered this wonderful community! I bought a new Sarangi after a long thought process. I have been playing guitar from last 12 years and it was time to get into something else. Nothing sounds more soulful than Sarangi!

So, I went through the tuning guide (both written & video) on this website. Everything is clear except for the tuning pitch. What is a recommended tuning pitch? I have fair bit of know-how in Hindustani classical music and the concept of relative pitch. But, what should be the "Sa" in terms of frequency in Hertz?

Middle C has a frequency of 261Hz. David talks about tuning his Sarangi to A#. From the video, it seems like it is 233Hz. He mentions that normally, Sarangi is tuned to E. Now, is that a lower or higher E (164Hz or 329Hz) from middle C?

The reason I am asking this is because I do not have a "feel" for the maximum tension on the Sarangi and I fear I might break the front skin, bridge, string or something worse. For now, I have tuned it to middle C. There is a lot of tension in the main string (Higher Sa gut string). I am afraid to raise it to E (329Hz). When I lower the Sa to lower E (164 Hz), it sounds dim & dull with not enough tension in the string.

Note, that I am not asking about which strings should be tuned to what. That is extremely clear from David's video.

Kindly advise :)

Small question:
- What peg compound to use? I used Peg Drops that is used on violins (5 star reviews on Amazon). I stops the pegs from slipping, but makes it "jerky" and makes accurate tuning close to impossible even with the peg tool. David mentions Chalk. Can I just use some gym chalk?

A little frustrated with a new instrument...mainly because I want to start learning it. It will take time but I am determined :D

martin spaink
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Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by martin spaink » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:29 am

Hi and wellcome to the forum! You can find lots of information here, only some of it will be in previous posts, maybe experiment with the search function.
The intended pitch is e above middle C. It can be a bit scary to raise the pitch comng from C, so why don't you do it gradually? Move up to d and let it accomodate for a few days, then see if you can go to d#. Check that the bridge remains upright!
About pegs: too often the fitting is at fault, not completely round, tight at the thick part and loose at the distal smaller end or the other way around, then there would be a lot of torque in the peg. Pegdrops I don't know, Pegdope I do. That is a dark thick semi-hard paste you rub on the contactpoints. With bad pegs so want to check turning-marks on the shaft where it sit in the holes. The shiny rings caused by rubbing should go all the way around the circumference. Sometimes it may be necessary to clean up high points, shim up the smaller hole with paper or a shaving of wood. A sarangi will never fail to keep you at your toes in the maintenance department!

npgatech7
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:29 am

Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by npgatech7 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:13 pm

You're right. I spent the whole evening tuning the instrument and it is still finicky and goes out of tune. I was able to raise it to E from middle C . Sounds much better! That said - I have a lot of buzzing from various strings and its hard to find which exact string is buzzing. I am assuming, the buzz is coming from incorrect jawari set up. The jawari that came with the sarangi is of poor quality.

I have searched this forum extensively and someone has already tried to put machine tuners on the Sarangi. That might be something I would pursue as a summer project. Really, I understand the need for "Authentic" looks, but tuning has become a daunting task with the wooden pegs.

Martin - the pegs are looking ok, I need to buy the peg dope as you mentioned. Without it, It is very challenging.

Now with bowing technique, I found the when the bow is in certain location, it is smooth and mellow. This location changes as I go up & down the octave. Is this normal? It is within about 2-3 cm, but hard to make it sound good without muscle memory.

I will share some pictures with you all once I get a chance. What a crazy instrument this is! :mrgreen:

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

Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by peeceebee » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:41 am

Peg dope, the dark paste, will make the pegs more slippery. Peg drops will make the peg sticky. You can try combinations of these- but the best I've found is to use chalk powder (sanded from non-waxy chalk), mixed with a little rosin dust (sanded from a block of rosin). Seems to give a near-ideal mix of holding/non jerky. You can tweak the ratio of rosin to chalk as needed for different pegs-

npgatech7
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:29 am

Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by npgatech7 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:04 pm

Where to buy peg chalk? Is this the same type of chalk used in Gyms and for rock climbing? If so, I could just go to a local sports store and buy some.

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

Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by peeceebee » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:36 am

yes, should be the same. Or you can use cheap "street chalk" sold for kids to draw on sidewalks- any chalk that doesn't have waxy additives, like some chalk for chalkboard has.

OM GUY
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Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by OM GUY » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:12 am

npgatech7 wrote:Where to buy peg chalk? Is this the same type of chalk used in Gyms and for rock climbing? If so, I could just go to a local sports store and buy some.
Peg chalk: Rain City Music
Let's hope 2016 is less violent and that people discover the soothing influence of ICM. Hari OM!

npgatech7
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:29 am

Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by npgatech7 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:12 pm

Update:

Thanks for all the suggestions. I got some rock climbing chalk from REI. Really good stuff. It was $3.00 for a 100g block that turns into an extremely fine powder. To say the least, my peg slippage issue has been resolved :) Nothing works as good as good ol' chalk!

As promised, picture album here: http://imgur.com/a/6H19s

The last picture shows the Rosin I have been using. It is pretty good. Peg compounds are good, but I think, as aforementioned, chalk is the best.

So, now that I have the Sarangi tuned and set up, I have some buzzing issues here and there on some notes. This I believe has to do with the jawari set up. The instrument is not that well made (refer to the pictures of jawari's. They're on a fricking iron nail !!!)

Any suggestions on how to improve my "Pa" and "Dha" on the Sa string which is tuned to E (above middle C)? When I bow other notes, they sound very beautiful especially after tuning all the sympathetic strings. But, I have issues with Pa & Dha. No matter how I bow it, they sound dissonant with unpleasant vibrato effect. I will see if I can post a sound clip. I have tuned some extra strings to Pa & Dha to help alleviate the problem, but it is still annoying. Please advise :) Your input is greatly appreciated. :mrgreen:

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

Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by peeceebee » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:09 pm

I own a sarangi similar to that one, clearly by the same maker, and it has a strong resonance on a few notes that sound very uneven. I've minimized the problem by using a lighter string on the high SA string, and adjusting the jawaris so that those particular notes are less prominent. The resonance seems to make the sympathetics play too strongly, if it's extreme try tuning the jawaris to other notes so that those notes aren't being rung at all, just the non-jawari sympathetics, that may(?) help...

I salso adjust my playing so that when those notes are played I bow more lightly and hold them with my nail a bit more firmly, also helps-

npgatech7
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:29 am

Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by npgatech7 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:19 am

Thx Peeceebee. I did some experimentation with the gut gauge as you suggested. Wow! Much better Pa & Dha response. I used a 300 grit sand paper to bring reduce the gauge of the Sa string which is natural gut. Very easy to sand and very sand to over-sand :roll:. So I had to be very careful. I finished it off with some 800 grit sand paper and it is now super smooth. :mrgreen:

The strings still detune about a note or so after a few hours...not sure if the pegs are slipping or the main elephant shaped bridge is settling down.

martin spaink
Posts: 329
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:13 pm
Location: Amsterdam
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Re: Tuning Help (New Sarangi) & few more questions :)

Post by martin spaink » Mon May 20, 2013 12:28 pm

Hi,
Having had a look at the pictures I noticed that you've stuck some small diameter rod (looks like a rusty nail?) under the strings on top of the small jivaribridges to lift the strings clear off the surface of the bridge. Pray tell, why did you do that?

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