Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Timbo, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. Timbo


    Jun 14, 2004
    Does anyone have any experience playing the Sitar? It looks and sounds like a completely amazing instrument and I have heritage that extends out in India. Any personal experiences with em with be helpful because i am sderiously considering buying one.
  2. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I was in Delhi about six years ago and wandered into a sitar shop. The place had black and white pictures of the Beatles with the shop owner. Turns out this was the guy that sold the Beatles their sitars way back when. He pulled out a scrap book with letters from Lennon and Harrison. This guy also makes sitars for Ravi Shankar.

    Anyhow...I tried one out. Very hard on the fingers. Narrow gauge strings with a long way to push down. Interesting sounds though.
  3. Sitar Players are AMAZING. It is by far the most difficult to play instrument i have ever encounterd.
  4. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    They are amazing things. My favourite player must be Nildari Kumar, who played on Jonas Hellborg's album "Kali's son". He makes sounds that are simply beautiful. I've also got a lot of Ravi Shankar records too, and he does some great stuff.

    I was quite pleased to catch an hour long performance of Ravi and his daughter Anouska on Sky Tv not too long ago. Quite simply breathtaking music!

    I'd love to play one, but when I buy some Indian instruments I plan to pick up a Kanjeera and a Tabla.
  5. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I've had a sitar for about 15 years. It is an amazing instrument, and I have had a lot of fun playing it, although I haven't played it in a while. Unfortunately, mine is not of a very good quality, and is very finicky with tuning. With 19 stings, it takes a while.....

    I would never claim to be a sitar player, but I have a bit of knowledge of ragas and technique, and can at least entertain myself.
  6. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    Cheap-ish sitars turn up on ebay fairly often. Couldn't say what quality they are.

    There are a couple of alternatives to a sitar:

    A Jerry Jones/Coral electric sitar. Essentially a guitar with a block near the bridge that scrubs against the strings, causing a sitar-like sound. It also has a number of drone/sympathetic strings.

    An Indian guitarist called Prasanna has developed a method of playing Indian carnatic (classical) music and ragas on the guitar. His latest album is a Hendrix tribute with Victor Wooten and Alphonso Johnson sharing bass duties.

    There's a couple of lessons on the Guitar Player website:
  7. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Prasanna! Great stuff, saw him life a few years ago, amazing stuff!
  8. I am a huge sitar fan and have always wanted to get one. I have played a few mid-range sitars and found them not to difficult to play or at least make a pleasing sound to my ear. I say go for it.

    For me the hardest part was geting use to the finger picks they use which are called mezrab, and siting on the ground while you play is kind of strange. Tuning can also be a pain.

    You might also want to check out a SURBAHAR which is a bass sitar. That would be cool!

    Check out this place. They have about everything
  9. one of my best friends plays sitar... you can check him out here:

    i'm sure he'd be happy to answer questions you may have (although he's a little ADD when it comes to returning emails :) )
  10. IIRC many years ago in a Guitar Player interview w/ Ray Parker He gave a way of tuning the guitar to simulate a sitar as he had done on "Signed Sealed Delivered" for Stevie Wonder. Not exactly the same as a true sitar experience but a cool tool and a lot closer than a Sitar Swami pedal. Wish I knew what it was now.
  11. a sitar HAS to run at least 5 grand...anybody got a price?
  12. This is a wedding present to me from my wife!


    I 'dink around' with is at this point, but I have every intention of getting some lessons and taking it to the next level - whatever that may be...

    Sitar is the closest thing to "magic-sounding" I can think of and it seems to me that if you learn to play it properly, it can play a role in transcending this mortal plane.

    But it takes so long to tune, it is awkward for me to hold (I am not as flexible as I used to be) and having kids and a rather vigorous dog running around the house, I am afraid to keep it anywhere convenient to play. So for now, it sits safely in it's case waiting for me.
  13. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    i play sitar, it's a wonderful instrument. indian music has a really rich tradition and an approach very different from western music.

    Timbo, you and I must be long lost brothers! we both are bassists with simialr usernames, indian heritage and an interest in sitar.

    i'd say to anyone who wants to play, to go for it! BUT it is a really tough instrument to learn. i'm not trying to scare anyone. but it's a tough on the fingers and pretty physically demanding (a lot of arm moevments and an awkward sitting position). and indian music in general is the kind of thing people spend lifetimes trying to master. get a TEACHER, probably the best thing to do

    i bought mine off of ebay for about $400. the really expensive ones are the high quality brands. if you can find something by the company RKS [Radha Krishna Sharma) i recommend getting it. they make fairly consistent instruments that are good for students and beginners.

    also, checkout,, and the ali akbar college of music (

    sitars etc is a great place to deal with. all of them are pretty reputable sitar dealers

    anyway i'm sorry for the long response, i'm REALLY into this instrument. i highly recommend everyone to check out recordings by Nikhil Banaerjee. one of india's greatest sitarist of all time. i think there are some clips of him on youtube as well
  14. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    oh, and if anyone is in the philly area and wants to check one out in person, PM me!
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