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.
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.
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. 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. catalog
Main Bridge  for Sitar. catalog
Plastic Swan  for tuning in sitar, veena, tanpura. catalog
Sitar Power  Hats! catalog
Sitar Power  Vinyl LP original Batish release - RARE!! catalog
Sitar  Power Sweatshirts
Large, XL, and XX Large
Please specify size when ordering. Only one gray one left. Size Large.! catalog
Sitar Power 1  T-Shirts for Sale. 50/50 haynes

Sizes presently available Large, XL, and XXL! catalog
Sitar  Power Hats! 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)! 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.
! catalog
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. 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. 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. catalog

A publication of the Batish Institute of Indian Music and Fine Arts

Sitar Lesson 4
Sitar Tuning

by Ashwin Batish
Here is a standard chart to tune your sitar by. This sitar has the usual 7 main strings and 13 sympathetic strings. Many of you will probably have one with 11 strings. In that case just tune your sympathetic strings to the first 11 strings shown.

I prefer this tuning, although I have another sitar loaded with the low bass Sa string that gives me that extra bass veena range on the sitar. I like to dabble on this especially in classical performances and recordings. It is a great space for doing alaaps with the slow deep meditative expressiveness.

To make this tuning compitible with Ravi Shankarji's sitar, you simply need to change the number 4 string to our #4 bass bronze string cat# BRSIT4BS and tune it to low Sa, 2 octaves below middle C (or 1 octave below the #2 Sa string).

The problem I have with this tuning in my regular approach to the sitar is that if I leave this string open it rattles like crazy and drives me crazy along with it. The traditional solution is to creat a small wire hook and attach it to a fret and then hook this sitar string under it when you are done playing on it. This gets the string out of the way. But now the problem is you have to tune this new hooked string to a note that fits the raga. So a tonic, 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, are all possible contenders but a point to remember is that therewill be two notes on either side of the hook. So they have to be in good intonation on both sides of the hook as it might resonate sympathetically when you are playing the sitar. A set of bad notes will resonate especially when you pull meends. The other irritant is that although the hook will pull the string down somewhat and move it out of the way, it usually still gets struck while doing chikari and I personally like my chikari sound to include bronze Sa wire tone.

After all this, if you decide to have the bass sa string in your sitar, and you make a hook etc, you will do well to practice your chikari with great patience and precission so your accuracy keeps this string mostly out of the fast chikari playing. New sitar students would also do well to stay away from the bass string until they have some experience under their belt. The meend work requires good understanding of the raga ornamentations and structure.

It is really important that you have tuning beads on the first five main strings. The chikari strings number 6 and 7 don't need them. You can use any plastic bead or if you want to get fancy use the decorative swan tuners. These are available from the Institute. Call or email for more details.

The thing to remember is to have different types of tuning beads on each string so that you can recognize the string being tuned by the touch of your fingers. When playing in a concert situation, you want to be able to tune your sitar without putting it down on the floor. It is visually disturbing and is not as accurate as tuning the sitar in the playing position. Tuning beads help do this in an elegant and accurate way. Many sitars when sold new have these beads on only a couple of strings. So invest in a few extra. You'll be glad you did :-)

In the last lesson, I left off at tuning the top 7 string of the sitar. Now let's look at the sympathetic string tuning. We call these "tarab" strings. They are tuned to the raga you are playing.

As mentioned above, the total number of tarab string on a sitar can vary from eleven (most common) to thirteen. I have two sitars and one has the 11, the other has 13 (shown above). My observation has been that the sitars made in Banaras, Miraj, Bombay, and Delhi area have 11 tarab strings and the ones coming from Bengal, especially Calcutta, have thirteen.

My favorite way to tune these in the Bilaval raga is as follows:

For Bhoopali raga given in the earlier lesson I like to tune my tarab strings like this

As you can see, there can be many variations to this. The important thing to remember is that your strings should be in perfect intonation. This ensures a reverberant resonance when you play on the top strings.

To many of you tarab string tuning might seem like a useless task. It seems like all your time gets sucked up on tuning! For a while, when I started to grapple with tarab tuning (I was about 14 years old then :-) I felt it was such a waste of time. Ofcourse I could never get them right! Somebody's playing a sick joke on me.... I thought. So I can imagine that many of you are probably frustated with getting these strings in tune. Keeping them in tune can seem like an endless chore.

Well relax! This is natural. As a matter of fact, to make sure you practice playing your sitar more than you spend time tuning it, the traditional way is to have a sitar student buy a sitar without sympathetic strings. Some teacher might even recommend removing or muting them in the initial stages of your study. This then keeps the students mind on practice and gradually, as you start getting used to the instrument and gain practice with the upper strings, you can start delving into the sympathetic tuning.

Having said that, let me just say that the sympathetic bridge should be properly set and its "Jawari" (tone) should be carefully adjusted for optimum resonance. This can be an involved and tricky proceedure so consult a Jawari expert if you have access to one. Good Jawariwalas are hard to come by. I remember my father hiring one, in Bombay, to come and work on the Jawari of his "Vichitra Veena". That guy was at our house for almost 5 hours! We fed him dinner gave him umteen cups of chai. When he left the bone on dads' bridge was all bumpy and about half the thickness and the Veena sounded horrible.... and this guy came recommended! Dad was furious. After that day he has never let anyone come near the Jawari of any of his stringed instruments. He basically learned to work on them himself.

Being his trusted sidekick, I was often given the task of filing the bridge flat. Through use, the strings will cut into the bone and you have to grind this out.

I was happy to oblige. This also gave me some insights about how to optimize the Jawari for resonance. I will deal with this in another article. But let me just say that I have gone through a few bridges in my time. Sitar, Veena, Tanpura, Dilruba.... I learned to set all of these. The basic principle is the same.

But chances are that you have an instrument that will not need Jawari work immediately. Especially if you got the sitar new. Both your main and the sympathetic bridges should be in good playing condition.

Ashwin Batish

Now here's a little plug for our


Learn to play the sitar at home!

Ashwin Batish teaches sitar by video. Two videos are now ready. Each is about an hour long. The first is titled "Introduction to Sitar" the second is titled "Begining Sitar Exercises." More tutor videos are on the way.


1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9

Please Note: All content is copyright ©2003 Ashwin Batish. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, photocopying, transmitting this document on hard paper or electronically or by any other means is strictly prohibited and unlawful. You have our permission to link to this page.

Batish Home Page
email: info [at] copyright ©1995 - 2003 Batish Institute. All rights reserved. Intended For Personal Use Only. No part of the information here may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information and storage retrieval system, without specific written permission from the Batish family.