Sitar
Accessories

Sitar Tutor 1 DVD  by Ashwin Batish. Learn the basics of playing the sitar. Proper tuning, hand and sitting positions and other  important techniques to give the begining student  the right start on their road to learning this instrument
Sitar Tutor 2 DVD  by Ashwin Batish. Begining Sitar Exercises. This is one of the best tutors to take the student to the next level of  sitar techinques to give the begining student  the right start on their road to learning this instrument
Sitar Tutor 3  DVD by Ashwin Batish. It sounds simple enough until you go about doing it. Changing the strings on your sitar can  be quite daunting especially to newbies. An instrument repair shop can charge you a lot for this. It can take a  seasoned pro more than two hours for this job. It is good for a sitar student to know how to do this themselves.  What if you are performing and you break a string you have to become an expert to take care of such emergencies!

This video covers the intricate task of replacing all the strings on a sitar. Detailed step-by-step instructions  makes this experience easy and safe. Tips given include how to make proper string loops, clean the frets, polish  the sitar, and how to protect yourself from injury.
Sitar  Tutor #4 - Tweaking Your Sitar

by Shri Ashwin Batish

Sitars coming out of India are invariably in need of tweaking. This is unfortunate as most of the new sitar  students (and a few old ones) have no idea of the mechanics of a sitar and hence cannot set it to play in good  intonation and with the proper action. THis not only makes your learning experience disappointing but is also a  major barrier to a student's musical growth. This tutor covers many of the adjustments necessary to whip your sitar  into performance shape. Topics Covered: Bridge adjustment using harmonics, Main string adjustment, Tuning beads  adjustment, Tuning the frets for proper intonation, Adjustments to maximize the sitar's meend, Shimming the bridge  - Program duration 62 minutes. www.batish.com
Sitar String Set
Batish Style
Batish Standard Sitar String Set: This contains 7 individually packed main and 13 sympathetic strings in a roll.  The 2nd and 4th strings are the same gauge. These strings are very high grade and are packed with instructions for  installation. All strings are carefully cut and wrapped at our facility in Santa Cruz and are some of the best  grade strings available. These are the same strings used by Ashwin Batish himself!
Batish Brand
Low Sa String Set: This contains 7 individually packed main and 13 sympathetic strings in a roll. The 4th string is  the Low Sa bronze gauge 28.5 string. All our strings are very high grade and are packed with instructions for  installation. All strings are carefully cut and wrapped at our facility in Santa Cruz and are some of the best  grade strings available. These are the same strings used by Ashwin Batish himself!
SAT1100 Seiko  Tuner
Great for tuning your sitar veena etc. It has a VU meter so one can judge better how to tune microtones as opposed  to the equal temperament. www.batish.com
MIZRAB
Finger Picks for Sitar, Veena: Very good quality, Steel picks. Click on More images for instructions on how to  measure your finger to get a correct fit. This is critical for everyone to do before ordering.
Fret  tying thread for Sitar, Dilruba. 
Available in Yellow or Green. See More images for other style. www.batish.com catalog
Swan Tuner for  Main strings of sitar, tanpura, veena: made of bone. Very good quality. Some sample shapes are given. All pieces  vary in size, shape and looks as they are all individually carved by hand. We recommend that if you are getting a  set of these for a sitar, the largest one should be put on the 1st string. www.batish.com catalog
Main Bridge  for Sitar. www.batish.com catalog
Plastic Swan  for tuning in sitar, veena, tanpura. www.batish.com catalog
Sitar Power  Hats!www.batish.com catalog
Sitar Power  Vinyl LP original Batish release - RARE!!www.batish.com catalog
Sitar  Power Sweatshirts
Large, XL, and XX Large
Please specify size when ordering. Only one gray one left. Size Large.!www.batish.com catalog
Sitar Power 1  T-Shirts for Sale. 50/50 haynes

Sizes presently available Large, XL, and XXL!www.batish.com catalog
Sitar  Power Hats!www.batish.com catalog for kids
In Concert - Part  1 - Ashwin Batish - Sitar, Zakir Hussain - Tabla - Raga Shudha Sarang - Alaap and Gat in medium and fast tintal.

This is the first half of a concert held at the Performing Arts Theatre, University of California, Santa Cruz. It  is a unique and a refreshing experience in the exposition of the North Indian school of music.

(Program duration 56 minutes)!www.batish.com catalog
Morning  Meditation Ragas on Sitar: Shri Ashwin Batish, sitar and Pandit S.D. Batish, tabla. Track Listings:

    Raga Pahadi - Alaap | mp3 sample 40 sec.
    Raga Pahadi - Gat composition in Deepchandi Tal | mp3 sample 40 sec.
    Raga Vibhas - Alaap | mp3 sample 40 sec. and Gat composition in Ektal | mp3 sample 40 sec.
    Raga Todi - Alaap | mp3 sample 40 sec. and Gat composition in Tintal | mp3 sample 40 sec.

All music composed and performed by Ashwin Batish (ASCAP).

This was Ashwin's debut album. It was originally recorded in 1978 and was a cassette only release. This recording  has been re mastered for CD from the original Reel to Reel tape. Some of Ashwin's favorite morning ragas are  presented here being performed in the North Indian classical style. Ashwin's father is accompanying him on the  tabla.
!www.batish.com catalog
7
Exotic  scales of North India: 650+ Ragas written in Staff and Sargam notations, pp. 190.
This encyclopedia is for all musicians interested in boosting their compositional creativity. Notated in Western  staff and Indian sargam, it is a reference guide designed to put you in touch with the wealth of exotic raga scales  of North India. Now you too will have access to the very same knowledge that is an integral part and foundation of  practicing Indian musicians. Keep it handy and tap its wealth. www.batish.com catalog
These are  introductory songs on the ragas of the North Indian Music System with English Lyrics designed especially for the  Western student. The words will teach you the raga’s rules, while the melody will simultaneously unfold the raga’s  image! Listen and Learn ...... An idea so simple yet so brilliant manifested as Panditji and I were trying to  create an educational tool to teach our English speaking students in the West. Rasik Raga Lakshan Manjari is the  product of our quest. It is the first time traditional ragas have been expressed with English words so that  students in the West and all over the English speaking areas of the World can learn the basics of the Hindustani  Raga Padhiti by simply learning a song. Lakshan Geet are introductory raga songs and they express within the song  all the necessary rules that are required to learn and play the raga. These have, in the past, only been available  in Sanskrit and Hindi for Indian students. The compositions that are weaved around the English words are built with  all the Raga's attributes in mind and hence reinforce the words thus making this a very powerful learning tool.  Panditji sings them with powerful yet clear renditions so that the student can sing along. All the ornaments are  expressed and might take a while to digest fully. But in time we are very confident that the student will listen  and learn successfully. www.batish.com catalog
Ashwin Batish  presents 10 of the hottest rhythm cycles of North India in this unique collection that has been compiled especially  for classical and folk music of North India and is an invaluable resourse for Jazz/World musicians and composers  interested in jamming with Tabla grooves.
Rhythms featured are: Tintal-16 beats, Ek Tal-12 beats, Rupak-7 beats, Dadra-6 beats, Keharwa-8 beats, Jhaptal-10  beats, Jhumra-14 beats, Deepchandi-14 beats, Dhamar-14 beats, and Jaltital-16 beats.

There are 10 CDs in all, one for each Tala. Each CD consists of the Theka in three different tempos - slow, medium  and fast. Each track is 15 per tempo. In the case of Tintal and Ektal rhythms, we have included bonus tracks of the  very slow theka. www.batish.com catalog
Batish Standard Sitar String Set
RagaNet Graphic by Ashwin Batish ©2009. All rights reserved do not copy without permission
A publication of the Batish Institute of Indian Music and Fine Arts

Sitar Lesson 3
Sitar size selection, sitar tuning tones, fret moving tips

by Ashwin Batish

Sitar Graphic by Ashwin Batish ©1980 - 2009 copyright. All rights reserved do not copy without our permission. www.batish.com

Is it the right one baby? Sitar that is!

An important issue facing you when you start playing the sitar is the condition of your sitar. To start with, it has to be the right fit for you. Sitars come in various sizes. By size I mean not just the overall length of the sitar but also the size of the gourd and the width of the fretboard.

If you are looking for sheer acoustic volume, you need to have a sitar which has a large gourd. But this might not be practical. If you are a small person you'll have a terrible time trying to hold it in the playing position. The opposite is also true for a large person. In this case, if the gourd is too small, I've seen people leaning excessively to keep the sitar stable. This bends their backs un-naturally and eventually they can have back problems.

Nothing to fret about?

The width and curve of the sitar's fretboard is also important, depending on your hand size, if this is not a good fit you'll have a hard time playing fast and doing meend (producing notes by pulling the string). Also, your hands will get un necessarily tired trying to hold the sitar and grapple with the note production process.

The next thing you need to check is the condition of the frets. Look for frets that feel loose. They'll usually wobble excessively when you hold them between your thumb and index fingers and try to move them. There should be some movement but if they feel wobbly then it is possible that the thread tying them has stretched or is unravelled. Many times the sitar wallas (makers) will tie the sitar frets while the varnish is wet. I have no idea why they don't wait. But the end result is that the thread digs into the varnish and dries hard.

This is a major problem because, and I know you'll have to do this, by the very nature of requirement of playing ragas on this instrument you will have to move these fret to get the right notes. Having these tying threads imbedded in the varnish means you'll have to pry them loose and then move them. This prying process might result in the thread becoming unraveled or even breaking. If it's any consolation, even my sitar had this problem. I eventually removed all the frets, sanded the embedded marks in the varnish and revarnished the sitar. But this was a lot of work! Don't attempt this yourself unless you are good at this sort of thing.

The only recourse is to re-tie the frets. If you have already brought a sitar and are experiencing this problem then call our Institute or visit our catalog by clicking here. We have some of the original tying threads available in rolls.

As a replacement, you can also use fishing line to tie the frets. Don't go above the 25 pound variety as it is too hard to pull over the frets. Although it does not look exotic, it lacks friction so it slips during the tying process, and it can be difficult to install, it is inexpensive and works well. It can also be very hard on the wood especially where the knot is tied. This can damage the wood surface under the knot. Therefore make sure you do this knot over the plastic decoration piece and not the wood.


The next thing you need to do is invest in a good quality tone generator. Above are two of the ones we carry. The Sabine is less expensive but the Seiko is the one I like due to its VU meter that is more visual. For many years I was using a mouth blown pitch pipe. That's the cheap way out. If you are tuning to the key of C then get that one. But tuning the sitar for a beginner is a bear. So you might have a bit of a struggle. If you can dish out the funds, get a guitar tuner from a music store in your area. These days there is a lot of variety. What you need is a tone reader and a generator. Many of the newer, less expensive, tuners are only readers. They make the task of tuning visual. You see a little led light that tells you when your instrument has the true note. Click here to view the tuner I recommend. We have these available in our store incase you wish to order one.

My personal feeling is that we are working with an audio medium so while the reader is a nice tool for an accomplished musician, the new student will find this can be very difficult. It will also not cultivate your ears to read and react to the necessary tuning proceedures. So buy the tuner with a tone generator. Hear the Sa note and then try tuning it on the sitar. But to save you some money, I've devised a bunch of midi files taht you can use for tuning your sitar. Now aren't you happy you've joined the Internet?

Here's how you go about tuning your sitar.........

One thing to remember is that the tuner is set to the Western Equal Temperament tuning. There is a work around to this. In Indian music the concern is to play harmonically pure intervals. Some refer to this as just intonation. I personally use harmonics to set my strings. This process can be intimidating especially to the untrained ear. But believe me, your sitar will sound celestial if you tune it the way I'm going to show you.

If you have a tone genertor that allows for alternate tunings then pick the "Just Intonation," setting. For everyone with only an equal temperament module, I'll show you a way to correct the intonation in another lesson. For now, go ahead and tune to the notes your tone module produces. It'll atleast give you a good head start. If you intend to play your sitar with other Western instruments, you might actually have to tune it to play equal temperament. Otherwise there will be a distinctive intonation compatibility problem when you start playing together.

Tuning Tones

Tune your first wire to the fourth note, Ma (F). Now the first fret is Ma tivar (f#), the second is Pa (G) and so on.

Next tune your 2nd wire to Sa. Here is a tone to help you do that.

Now tune your third wire to Pa (5th). Here is a tone for this. Remember this note is in the lower octave called the Mandar Saptak.

Now tune your 4th wire to Sa. This is the same note as in #2 above. The two strings should be the same gauge in most sitars. But in some sitars this string is of a thicker gauge. It is used for slow meditative improvisations. The problem with having this string is that in faster movements it flops around and is distractive. Sitar with this string sometimes has a little metal latch installed on the last fret (the one closest to the bridge) so one can tuck the string onto the latch when the faster movements are anticipated.

If you have this thicker gauge string installed then tune it to the lower octave Sa also called "Ati Mandar Shadaja - Sa (C)". Here is a tone for that

The fifth string is also tuned to Pancham (5th note) but it is an octave higher then #3. Here is that note

The sixth string, is tuned to the tonic, Shadaja, but is an octave higher than #2. It is also called the "Taar Shadaja". Here is that note

The seventh string, is also tuned to the tonic, Shadaja, but is two octaves higher than #2, or an octave higher than #6. Both the 6th and the 7th strings thus sound in unison. This note is also called the "Ati Tar Shadaja". Here is that note

There can be further variations between the 5th, 6th and 7th chikari strings. Try experimenting with them for example: #5 - Ga below middle C
#6 - Sa an octave above the #2 Sa String
#7 - Pa above middle C

The Chikari tonal landscape aids in the swaroop of the raga being played. So pay heed to this and create your combinations to match!


Changing Your Sitar Strings DVD Cover by Ashwin Batish ©1980 - 2009 copyright. All rights reserved do not copy without our permission www.batish.comSo now you should have all your top string in tune. But before you go any further check all of them again. As you tune your sitar, it is quite possible that the changing tension will detune some of the strings. So you might have to do this a few times before the strings settle in. A new set is most succeptable to this problem. Proper stretching is recommended after a new string set install. I have released a sitar tutor DVD that is specifically targeted to "Changing Your Sitar Strings" that covers thoroughly this labor intensive task with special attention to creating proper loops and precautions. This link will also take you to our catalog.


Upcoming Lessons

Tuining the sympathetic Strings of your sitar, How to hold the sitar, Proper Hand Positions and fingering, Sitar String Gauges, Proper Sitting Position, Let's produce some music, and much more so come on back.....

Issues:

1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9


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