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Matthew Martinez
Matthew Martinez

Where To Buy A Sitar VERIFIED



At Old Delhi Music, we have one of the very best collections of new sitars for sale in North America. We work direct with the makers to ensure quality and value. We don't buy from middle men. Plus, we NEVER drop ship from India or elsewhere, and always provide value add service before shipment to our customers in the US or elsewhere.




where to buy a sitar



Welcome to the finest selection of sitars from makers such as Hiren Roy (Barun Ray), Sanjay Rikhi Ram, Naskar, Ajay Rikhi Ram, Manoj Kumar Sardar, Kanai Lal and Sons and Radha Krishna Sharma. We stock both the Ravi Shankar style sitar (Kharaj/Pancham) and Vilayat Khan style sitar (Gandhar/Pancham). We pride ourselves on our 60 years in the business.


Unlike cheap sitars, the sitars we sell will each be thoroughly inspected and setup. In addition to tuning the sitar, it will be restrung, the sitar frets polished and adjusted, pegs fine fit and chalked. These extra steps assure you will get the best sitar you can buy for the price.


Many things go into making a good sitar. The quality of the materials: the wood for the face and neck, the gourd for the body and the bone for the bridge are all important. More important is the skill with which they are all put together. Most of the best instrument makers are small, family operations. The knowledge and tricks of the trade are passed from generation to generation or a few chosen workers. (We see this with sarodes, too. Many craftsmen try to make copies of a Hemen sarode, but none sound like a Hemen sarode.) You will pay more for a sitar from a well-known maker. Yet you are assured of a certain quality and resale value.


Naturally then, the pedigree of the instrument is important. Below are brief biographies and descriptions of the makers we deal with. There are thousands of sitar makers all over India. Certainly some that we have never heard of are capable of making a great sitar. This is simply a crystallization of what we have learned in 40 years of importing, selling, playing and talking with professional players in India and the U.S. We have no exclusive arrangement with any maker nor a vested interest in pushing one over another. All feedback is welcome.


Most importantly, hold the instrument, tune it and play it. If you are a beginner, hopefully someone can tune it for you. Feel how well the sitar fits your body. Check to see that there are no cracks in the gourd and that the neck is not bowed. Observe the grain of the wood on the face. There are different theories about what to look for; some say to look for a nice hourglass shape, others say to look for a straight grain. Either way, an attractive looking piece of wood is a good sign.


Since sitars have moveable frets, you can almost always get them to play in tune. Make sure all the frets (including the moveable Re and Dha frets) are in, or can be moved to, the right place. One hallmark of a cheap sitar is that the sympathetic pegs interfere with correct fret placement.


You should be able to pull a fifth on the Ma string of any sitar. Play middle Re on the fret and see if you can pull it up to Dha. If you can't, that's a problem, but, if the sitar has other virtues, perhaps one you can overlook.


You can often tell the quality of a sitar by how much the overtones ring out on the Kharaj (bass) string. Tune the sitar nicely and pull a Ga or Ma on the low string. On a good sitar you will get a bouquet of overtones ringing out.


One problem that is endemic to all sitars, is that when you pull a note on the Ma string, the lower open strings go out of tune. On a good solid sitar this problem is slight. On a badly made sitar this can be a fatal flaw.


If you are just looking at pictures then you are on thinner ice. Fancy decoration does not make a good sitar. To assure yourself of quality, we urge you to buy a sitar made by a known maker with a reputation in India. These days there are many internet dealers selling sitars with fancy names like "Professional Deluxe Model #1" that they say are made especially for them. Now, some of these could very well be decent instruments. And some of them could very well be generic sitars with fancy names. If you order such a sitar, make sure the seller has a return policy so you can return it if it is not what you expected.


Versions of electric sitars exist, such as the Danelectro Coral Sitar and some boutique instruments. However, these are more sitar-like than actual sitars. However, there are mixed opinions on whether or not electric sitars can capture all of the sonic qualities of an acoustic sitar.


VARANASI STYLE NARKA Approx. 4+ inches long.. Also called Kanati in India...Suitable for all sitars & surbahars. Made of teak wood with cut out for peg tips, felt lining included. Colors will vary.


SILK SITAR COVER Faux silk fabric to cover a sitar when out of its case, keeps the dust off, also good for putting on your instrument before shipping or transporting while in its case. Available in red or white please specify preference in customer comments section when ordering.


Padded Ring Tabla rings are often used to place under the sitar gourd when it's flat on the floor, changing strings, or even playing cross legged. These measure approx. 9 inches wide with the hole being 6 inches wide. Color as shown. They're not light so need to go flat rate padded envelope.


We have professionally setup this Sitar with strings of specific gauges and materials so that the below given traditional tuning is achieved. Please note that your Sitar may loose tuning while in transit to you or if left unused for some time. Here is some help to start tuning your sitar. We are trying to tune the sitar in the traditional Kharaj Pancham - Ravi Shankar style, in the key of C. Please have a chromatic tuner handy.


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Bizarre Sitar may not seem so strange at first glance. It has most of the elements found on any other sitar, with it's traditional gourd body, both main playable strings and sympathetic resonating strings, parda (adjustable curved frets), kunti (tuning pegs), dandi (neck), ghoraj (main bridge) all complete with orante hand-painted accents. At just over 24" in length, however, this little beauty is barely half the size of a standard sitar. Simply being small isn't bizarre by any means, but what is bizarre is how it can achieve such a lush, full-bodied sound while being so small. Intended as more decoration than instrument, we feel this little guy has been highly underestimated. Although soft-spoken and possessing fewer strings than normal (5 main and 6 sympathetic), all this "baby" sitar needed was someone to listen closely. And we did. Very close.


The sitar is an Indian stringed instrument that is plucked and was made popular in America through famous music bands, such as The Beatles. Since there are two main types of sitars, it can be hard trying to figure out which one to buy and whether or not it's a quality Indian instrument. Just remember that you can find a quality version of this Indian instrument if you know what to look for.


On a late summer day in September, I met with Dr. Vish Shenoy and Hiranmay Goswami, two sitarists from Clinton, Mississippi. Hiranmay is an accomplished sitar player who has been playing for decades. He first learned to play while living in India, and brought his musical tradition with him when he moved to the United States in 1972. Over the years, he has taken on several students including Vish, who first started taking lessons with Hiranmay fifteen years ago. I had an enjoyable conversation with Vish and Hiranmay about learning, practicing, and performing on the sitar, Indian classical music, the instrument itself, and sitar playing in Mississippi. What follows is an abbreviated version of our hour-long conversation. This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.


Maria Zeringue (MZ): Okay. So you started playing the sitar at 25 or 26 and then you took a few years break to do your job and your PhD coursework, and then when you were in your mid-30s, you picked it up again?


Vish Shenoy (VS): Well, I'm a gastroenterologist by profession. I moved to Mississippi approximately 15 years ago in search of better prospects. I listened to my teacher [Hiranmay] at a friend's house. We had a party, and he was playing. And I was mesmerized and got hooked. I requested him to teach me, and since the last 15 years, I've been taking lessons from him. So I usually take maybe two to three lessons a month mainly on a Sunday. And while I was working as a gastroenterologist, I had hardly any time to practice, you know. I put 60 to 80 hours per week working. So, there was hardly any time for sitar, but I struggled and kept going. Approximately a year ago, I had a brain tumor, and I had to quit my job. Because once you have a tumor, you know, you are at a risk for seizure, and you don't want to jeopardize somebody's life. So, I had to quit my job. Also, I have some difficulty in speaking, so that also hinders me from working. But it did help me with my sitar playing. Interestingly, the tumor is on the left side of the brain, and the speech center is on the left side of the brain in most people. So it did hinder my speech, but I think the music and musical playing is on the right side of the brain and that got enhanced. Actually, my sitar playing is at an all time best, and also I have more time to practice now. So that's my sitar story. 041b061a72


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