For sure when it is your first sitar then you might feel somewhat uncertain…??
Because very frequently this question has been put to me, I’ve decided to make a “check list” with 10 tips to help you to decide if the sitar which is laying in front of you is ok to buy or not.
If you really want to minimize the risk, then always go to a shop yourself and check the instrument thoroughly before you buy it. And, take your time for this. Buying a sitar online, with only a good looking picture and dito description on a fancy internet shop is looking for trouble. Sitars are always handmade and the overall quality varies very much. They are also very fragile. Unless you invest in a good fiber case, shipping a sitar by air or sea will almost always end up on arrival with a broken tumba (pumpkin) and / or broken kutis (tuning pegs), or even worse…
Here is an introduction to the Fosse Electric Sitar. This instrument replicates the sound of the classic indian sitar. It is a new solid body electric instrument made out of carbon fiber by Gregg Fosse.
… the Adapted Multichannel Sitar.
Specialized Multichannel pickups zither module, and resonator modification by Leo Knapp. Strumpad, keyboard, MIDI sliders, MIDI switches, and electronics constructed and installed by Graham Bruce.
Where will it end ??? “We need a sitar … a double neck actually … with humbucking pickups … and a Floyd Rose bridge … and it all has to function properly. We need some mock-up renderings by tomorrow and the finished product completed in the next couple of weeks” This is the phone call that David Hill received some months ago from the production company of Mike Myers’ new movie “Love Guru”.
Read the rest of the story and see some unique photos about the making of this extravagant sitar by David Hill & Brady Milloy at the “12 fret” website …
If you google “electric sitar” then you ‘ll find over 200.000 hits referring to the Coral “electric sitar” which actually is an early solid body guitar that sounds like a sitar. Vincent Bell invented a number of electric guitar models for Danelectro and Coral. He designed perhaps the first electric 12-string guitar, and invented the electric sitar in 1967, using it on such hits as “Green Tambourine” by the Lemon Pipers, “Band of Gold” by Freda Payne, and “Heartbreaker” by Gene Pitney. See this funny early ad:
Also wikipedia writes this, but it is and remains a guitar, made for guitarists. It is not a sitar, isn’t it…?
Read also an interesting article “West meets East” by Frederick W. Harrison about how the sitar came to be heard in the western pop music.
A very special and most beautiful series of sitars and surbahars made by Dieter Zarnitz.
The tumba is replaced by a wooden construction as used in traditional western lute making. Neck and body are made from flamed maple, with old air-dried pine soundboard. The head and curl are made of rosewood, the tuning pegs are made from ebony.
But, all I’ve ever heard about the man who builds these beauties is this flyer, taken by my friend Bert Cornelis at a concert in Aachen (Germany).
The Rajah Zeetar is an instrument made in the 1960’s in the likeness of a sitar. Supplied with an electronic amplifier. Made in Japan. It comes with 2 eye-catching big magnetic pickups and the body is made of papier-mache with a wooden soundboard, lenght is 112 cm.