Jora tar tuning problem
Very soon after finishing the first 2 sitars (SBS-02 & SAS-01) I encountered a strange problem. The jora tar, which is now a steel string showed a strange behaviour. After tuning the strings properly and playing a meend on the baj tar (playing string) the jora sensitively raises in pitch while all other strings nicely regained their original pitch. Very rarely I ‘ve been noticeing this behaviour on traditional sitars before, but always it was much less pronounced and many times it disappeared after some time playing. Yet this time the jora raised almost a quarter tone on the SBS-02, and even after some days playing this inconvenience remained.
After a couple of sleepless nights I found out that it was the main jiwari which caused this malfunctioning. While pulling the playing string down (playing meend) the whole body bends (like a bow) and the main jiwari comes forward. All the other strings loosen their pitch (going low). Releasing the playing string from its meend position makes the instrument go back to its original shape, thus the jiwari is being pushed backwards to its original position. At this moment, the jiwari is also pulling all the strings backwards. But because the steel surfaced jora string is more rough and doesn’t have the same lubricating behaviour as a bronze string (original jora and laraj kharaj) the result is a considerable raised pitch.
The solution to this is very simple: carbon. With an ordinary pencil, I applied some carbon to the surface of the jiwari, straight under the jora tar’s position, and the problem was solved. But.., not for 100%. Still I noticed a very slight mismatch. Here and now the cause was quickly found: also the upper tar daan is having some difficulty to restore the steel jora tar to its original tension. Applying some wax to the contact surface between the jora string and the tar dan made an end to this jora tar tuning phenomenon.
I have found your method of making jawari really helpful. one thing I want to know,
this concerns the tuning of the baaz string. To get the optimum sound quality, should this be in tune with the sound produced by striking the tabli with the fingers or a rubber hammer? or can one tune it to C or D without seeing whether it is in harmony with the tabli’s vibration?
You will need to experiment a bit for the optimum sound from your sitar . Try moving the bridge a little towards the neck if you want to tune it to D as opposed to C or C # . Mind you , the meends need more effort as you tune higher , unless you use a lower gauge string . But a lower gauge means more frequent breakage of the string . I have a 40 year old Makhanlal which has a divine sound in C# but in D it does not give a five note meend when tuned to D even if I reduce the string length ( for lower tension ) by moving the bridge towards the neck .