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Indian music on fretless bass (again)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Vorago, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Hi everybody,

    I was listening to some Indian music, when I had an idea that could work on my lined fretless bass. Obviously, Indian music has a different tonal system, I believe an octave is divided into 22, instead of 8/12 (whole tones and semitones) in western music. Wouldn't it be cool to put the indian fret positions (of a sitar for instance) on the side of the neck of my fretless bass, with the usual western fret markers on top of it?

    The only required to do this is an 'fret template' of the 22 in an octave system. I know 'western' templates exist for various neck lenghts (the various distances between the frets), but I was wondering if they also exist for the '22' system. And, if not, if it would be possible to make a template yourself/calculate the correct distances?

    I know some of you guys here are seriously into this stuff, so any ideas?

  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    That does sound like a cool idea. Personally, if I were to attempt such a project, I'd want to make it a dedicated 22-tone instrument, rather than trying to integrate the Indian tonal system into the Western 12-tone system. With all the additional fret markers that would be required, I'd probably want to see those markers on the surface of the board, as well as represented by side dots.

    With the closer tolerances that would be required, you'd want to make absolutely certain that those markers are in precisely the right location - no slop factor at all. If you're skilled enough with instrument modifications to feel comfortable with that challenge, by all means go for it. But I would bring it to a well-qualified pro luthier...

  3. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    I was more thinking of working with little markers that can be glued on or something, no drastic adjustments or new fretmarkers in the fingerboard.
  4. uethanian


    Mar 11, 2007
    oh wow, i can help with this!

    you're right about the scale having 22 notes, but you may not realize that the octave is not divided evenly into these different tones, not in the way that the western system is. the notes are purely tuned and therefore are very unevenly spaced. here's what is believed to be the indian scale (i say believed because no one is too sure, they just do it by ear).

    Sa - 1/1
    Ri 1- 32/31
    Ri 2 - 16/15
    Ri 3 - 10/9
    Ri 4 - 9/8
    Ga 1 - 32/27
    Ga 2 - 6/5
    Ga 3 - 5/4
    Ga 4 - 81/64
    Ma 1 - 4/3
    Ma 2 - 27/20
    Ma 3 - 45/32
    Ma 4 - 64/45
    Pa - 3/2
    Dha 1 - 128/81
    Dha 2 - 8/5
    Dha 3 - 5/3
    Dha 4 - 27/16
    Ni 1 - 16/9
    Ni 2 - 9/5
    Ni 3 - 15/8
    Ni 4 - 31/16
    Sa - 2/1

    the names on the left is how you would refer to the tones in a particular scale, and the the numbers on the right represent the frequency ratio.

    understand that on a sitar, the frets are there mainly for use on the top string. because the spaces are unequal, you cant string cross the way you're used to, although it works for some notes on other strings. this is why sitar players do so much sliding up and down the neck. they have to move their hand to whatever note they want to play. so on a fretless, it would be very difficult to play if u kept it EADG, but if you went DADA (or CGCG), you could play up and down the neck on the strings tuned to the root (Sa), and do some crossing on the other strings. its good to tune in fifths; you'll notice that the indian scale only has only "Pa," the perfect fifth, and its included in every scale.

    if you would like some help calculating where the notes lie on your bass, PM me, i'd be happy to explain.
  5. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    I'll pm you tomorrow, thanks a lot already!
  6. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Ok, I've calculated the positions of these intervals, and after some messing with some adhesive tape, this is the first result. Mind you, a more definite version will be clean and in a different colour (dark red). Also, I'm looking for a way to mark the positions on the other strings.

    Lot's of numbers!


    Lot's of lines!



    Does this look +- correct?
  7. tkozal

    tkozal Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    Jonas Hellborg current issue of BP...get it...
  8. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Yeah, at 14 dollar for an issue which consists for 55% out of commercials...:rolleyes:
  9. since the intervals are inequal a normal tuning would have "frets" placed differently on different strings. what tuning are you using?
  10. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium

    Tuning my E down a whole step and tuning my G up seems like the most practical thing to do.

    Like I said, I'm looking for a way to mark the notes on the A strings.
  11. Vorago, here's some Indian music that I just discovered recently.
    It just has a nice vibe to it. :cool:

    The track I like the most isn't available to sample here; it's, "Facing Beloved," on the CD of the same name.

    And here's a place to check out Indian and other world instruments. www.kylemusic.com


    Mike ;)

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