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Learning to play the Sitar

GUEST,Linda 30 Aug 14 - 08:55 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Aug 14 - 09:11 PM
GUEST 31 Aug 14 - 12:07 AM
Bill D 31 Aug 14 - 12:28 AM
Jack Blandiver 31 Aug 14 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 31 Aug 14 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Rahere 31 Aug 14 - 12:27 PM
Jack Campin 31 Aug 14 - 04:59 PM
GUEST 01 Sep 14 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 01 Sep 14 - 09:15 AM
GUEST 01 Sep 14 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 02 Sep 14 - 07:41 AM
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Subject: Learning to play the Sitar
From: GUEST,Linda
Date: 30 Aug 14 - 08:55 PM

I have never played the Sitar and don't know anyone at all personally that plays it. I have always loved to hear Sitar music and wanted to learn to play this instrument for a long time. I was thinking of trying to find an instructor that teaches this instrument to total beginners. I should add the only instrument I ever took a few lessons for was on guitar and that was many, many years ago.
So really, other then knowing how to play a few basic chords on a guitar I really don't have a musical background. I wanted to find out from people who do play the sitar if it is a very difficult instrument to learn to play. I guess any instrument can be difficult for beginners but I have heard some years ago that the Sitar is quite difficult and take a very long time to learn to play. I also have small hands so don't know if that might make it more difficult (even more then guitar) to play.
Of course I have to find a teacher and I don't own a sitar so hopefully the instructor will have a loaner to play just while in the class or individual session. There are plenty of music stores around that teach guitar, drums & many other instruments but might prove a little harder to find a teacher for a sitar without traveling too far away (on public transit at that.) I have called some music stores on the phone but none so far have any instructors for the sitar.


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Aug 14 - 09:11 PM

Yes it is difficult. Just sitting (without playing the instrument!) can be difficult.

It is not something one casually learns - or rather, not something that is casually *taught*. If you're not serious, good luck! Traditional/customary method of teaching is a master-disciple relationship, not "lessons." Not to over-dramatize it, but as a 'disciple', your duties are far beyond paying some money for a lesson. In fact, you may not be asked for any money--but you will be bound in a relationship that requires 'service' to your master. Not something to be entered lightly.

And you'll be learning Hindustani (Indian Classical) music. Is that what you want to do? I would think the main interest would be in learning Hindustani music, after which you choose an instrument (or voice) w/ which to articulate it.

Sorry if the picture sounds negative.

On te positive side, nowadays you can order a sitar on-line, and teach things to yourself. There are people who offer lessons over Skype and such - perhaps even 'young' people socialized outside of South Asia who, to support themselves, would give piece lessons for a fee.


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Aug 14 - 12:07 AM

Beware of ordering a sitar online since there are a lot of bad instruments. Many cannot get the notes and bends they need to get. Search for Buying a Sitar. The way the frets are tied, the efficiency of the tuning pegs are all important. The other issue is learning indian music and scales. You may want to look at related instruments such as the sarod which are less complicated to play and keep in tune. Interesting that the sale of sitars is declining in India to be replaced by modern western instruments, and that George Harrison and John Martyn briefly flirted with the instrument which you can hear on their early recordings. Dont be discouraged though. I know English kora players, 2hich have similar numbe4 of strings to keep in tune, being taught by native African players who are doing very well.


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Aug 14 - 12:28 AM

The sitar is as much a way of thinking as a a musical instrument. The musical forms are not what you are used to. I used to put myself the sleep to a Ravi Shankar LP, but I could no more comprehend what went into a complex raga, than I could learn to fly,


It's 'possible', if you are young and properly inspired, to learn some basics and enjoy making some 'melodies', but be cautious.

It can be relevant as to where you live and what resources are available near you.


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 31 Aug 14 - 04:38 AM

Of course if it's just the sound of the sitar you like, buy a wee amp, an electric guitar and an Electro Harmonix Ravish Sitar pedal. Amazing things - I use mine with an ebow on my baritone Fender Telecaster, though for a little extra wyrd spice I'll put my Korg MS-20 through it:

The Unquiet Village, 9th August 2014


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 31 Aug 14 - 07:45 AM

that's a tempting piece of equipment.


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 31 Aug 14 - 12:27 PM

Sounds like the kind of baby sitar who charges £10/hour...


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Aug 14 - 04:59 PM

The sitar is a lot easier than the sarod - it was designed as a kind of dumbed-down classical instrument, with the movable frets taking the hard work out of finding the notes of the raga. A sarod is like playing high up on the violin all the time.

But if you aren't going to get seriously into Indian classical music, you might be better off with the sitar's folk ancestor, the veena/vina. It has fixed frets, like a number of related instruments from central Asia.

http://www.jas-musicals.com/sectrad/South-Indian-Veena.asp

The sound is quite similar to a sitar, except you can't do microtonality as easily.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mghqQSkbuZw

And it can be used as a classical instrument if you work at it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tngyk6qLv88


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Sep 14 - 02:22 AM

Theres also a combo guitar sitar called I think a mohina veena, as played by Harry Manx, where you have sitar sympathetic strings with a guitar keyboard. It is playd on the lap. These sometimes crop up for sale in the UK, and some are made in Germany!


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 01 Sep 14 - 09:15 AM

If you just want to add a 'flavour' of sitar to recordings & gigs.

The 1960s Danelectro / Coral electric sitar.

Originals can be ridiculously expensive, but from time to time affordable 'reproductions' are produced
in Far East factories for export to the west.

I own a good Korean OEM copy of the Coral Sitar with drone strings.
[can't remember the brandname - but I believe they were called "Rogue" for USA sales]

and a USA made Jerry Jones Baby Sitar [got it for an unusually low bid price off abay]

http://www.jerryjonesguitars.com/baby-sitar.html

You can also buy Gotoh or EYB bridges to convert a spare electric guitar.

Or an even cheaper option, flat brass bridge saddles to temporarily convert a telecaster.
[didn't work too well when I tried it.


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Sep 14 - 11:45 PM

The coral guitar sitar sounds pretty good


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Subject: RE: Learning to play the Sitar
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 02 Sep 14 - 07:41 AM

Folks might be surprised how many classic Motown tracks had the Coral Sitar
twanging and whirling away subtly in the mix....


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