This anonymous rudra veena was found by my friend Guillaume CZLT in Bombay Pekin Bruxelles, a shop for second-hand furniture in Brussels. It was quite badly damaged. One of the tumbas was badly broken, the main bridge had been torn off and lost, and all the frets had been worn away. The fretboard looked more like a pattata field. All the frets were loose and crooked on the neck. A cikari pin was broken… and one day there must have been strings on the instrument…?The work started with repairing the broken tumba. I counted 27 pieces (or small pieces) and 3 appeared to be missing. The puzzle was put back together in 5 stages. Fortunately, everything still fitted well and the transitions are usually smooth. A few coats of varnish over the whole finished this part. Colour matching was not done at this stage.After that, the frets were taken in hand. The old aluminium strips were easily lifted out of the holder. I ordered a set of 24 new pre-cut pieces of fret wire Wagner 9671 Nickel Silver Frets, Large/Jumbo, with dimensions (W x L x H): 70 x 2,75 x 3,2 mm. But first the fret holders all had to be made equal and properly attached to the central guiding shaft. And this one was crooked and irregular too. With a little trick I could get all the frets nicely in one row and fix them firmly in place. After that, I made the top even and flat and finally installed the new frets. That looks good!The last part is the new ghodi. A round base that is glued to the neck gets a nice straight surface. On top of that comes a removable ghodi that is firmly held in place by two metal pins. Quite a construction, but in the end it fits nicely on the whole. Because the upper part is removable, you can easily do jawari at any time. Now all that’s left is to put new strings on it…I think Guillaume will be pleased… 😉
Technical info on strings & tuning according to Asad Ali Khan style:
The scale measures 945cm & the instrument is tuned to G#
Cikari’s: steel 0,30mm (N°3) tuned to G#3 (SA) & G#4 (SA)
Baj tar: steel 0,40mm (N°6) tuned to C#2 (MA)
SA tar: bronze 0,56mm (N°24) tuned to G#2 (SA)
PA tar: bronze 0,72mm (N°22) tuned to D#2 (PA)
Kharaj: flatwound bronze 0,92mm (N°20) tuned to G#1 (SA)
Laraj: bronze 0,56mm (N°24) tuned to G#2 (SA)
Frédéric t’Serstevens is a young and talented sitarist and disciple of Shubhendra Rao and Kushal Das. Since in the beginning he was a dedicated (bass) guitarplayer, he came up with this rather common idea to convert a sitar into a guitar. But now in a suitable and really original way: why not make the accompanying strings, jora, laraj & kharaj, entirely playable on the full neck area?
On traditional sitars, it is common that these strings only can be played (without meend) up to the 4th, 5th, … 7th parda. From then onwards, very frequently, intonation problems occur due to a continuously and significantly increasing strings action. This means that the distance between the string and the frets (pardas) increases too much, and thus the played notes become higher… until unplayable.
The solution is very simple: reduce the strings action by changing the shape of the pardas.
original shape (Rikhi Ram)
hybrid shape (Sitar Factory)
With this kind of new hybrid pardas, mounted on a raised parda lane, the action on the strings is higly reduced. And as such coming very close to a near perfect intonation, comparable to a guitar:
Now even chords can be played perfectly on this instrument… making it the extreme sitar for guitarists, or,… reverse ?? Or just: the ultimate hybrid sitar… 🙂
This instrument has been made on demand
The original idea comes from Frédéric t’Serstevens (March 2016)
Design & drawings by Klaas Janssens @ Sitar Factory (April 2016)
Completion by Klaas Janssens @ Sitar Factory (June 2016)
Dimensions: 1060mm x 300mm x 130mm (L x W x H)
Neck width: 89mm
Strings action: String configuration: custom sitar (Baj, Jora, Laraj & Kharaj), tuned as guitar
Pardas: 24 custom hybrid shaped
Taravs: 11 traditional with wooden kutis
No cikaris installed
This old Hiren Roy sitar, brought to me by Arnoud E. needs new pardas and some small repair work. Arnoud provided a full set of new pardas made by Hiren Roy Company, but some of them were made too short. Thus I decided to reuse a selection of the old pardas and fitted them at the end (the last 4, nearest to jiwari).
Also some body cleaning has been performed and together with new strings and fresh jiwari this sitar is ready for another life… finally almost a complete restoration.