I made a narka out of Belgian stag horn. This is a tuning aid to comfortably and finely tune the taravs, the sympathetic strings on a sitar.
A deer antler hung on the wall. You can find them at old flea markets, or nailed to the wall at hunters’ homes: deer horn antlers as hunting trophies. You can’t do much with them, but for a sitar player you can make a beautiful and useful tool with them.
First choose in a nice and fitting piece, and cut the end generously. Then I make a tapered slot corresponding to the width of the taravs to be operated. A hole is then drilled into it to fit the ornamental tip of the tuning knob, and then I also make the tapered slot suitably concave so that it fits nicely over the tuning knob.
I’ve added an illustrated report about the repair of tarav mogaras. These are small, round ducts which lead the tarav strings through the neck towards the tarav kutis. They are usually made out of bone or horn. Sometimes plastic is used.
Due to a very high tension coming from the tarav string which is laying on the rim, these ducts get used sooner or later. Finally they will break, and then there is nothing left to prevent the string from cutting into the wood.
So, sometimes, these tiny fragile pipes need to be replaced. Or, if you are lucky and they didn’t break (yet), they can be re-used by rotating them over 90°.
On the SAS-01 I use ordinary mini steel nails (diam. 1mm / lenght 8mm) as tarav mogara. They sound very good at the moment but I think this can be improved one day. But how? By bone, or horn, or… ? Anybody a suggestion ?
Day 50: Mounted all 24 pardas on this SAS-01. It’s a very delicate and time-consuming job: first accurate bending and height adjustment followed by binding the pardas.
Day 51: After tuning the sitar properly, I put the pardas to their regular position. Then I draw a map, localizing the taravs to help me situating the best position for mounting the tarav’s machine heads. These will be mounted on a mahogany strip, just like the cikari machine heads on the SBS-02.
Meanwhile this sitar is disassembled again to be able to apply the finish.