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 6 - String Gauges used by some popular artists

by Ashwin Batish

Sitar Strings are a critical component to your sound and can be a personal choice although it is quite common for the beginning student to simply buy what is available on the market. Fortunately, my father loved to experiment on his sitar and this meant I had rolls and rolls of a variety of music wires to try out myself. These included a selection of steel, bronze, copper, and brass. Each metal offered a distinct tone. Apart from the nature of the metal used in the wires, the overall sound is highly dependant on the grinding of the sitar bridge surface which is referred to as its "Jawari" or its life'

Sitar gauges can change according to how a sitarist sees his particular application. Like guitar strings, there are string sets that can be slinky, light, medium or hard gauge. It might also be a combination of all of these.

What I'd like to cover here is the gauge of strings I use on my personal sitars. Realizing that this might vary from what is being sold out there, I'll let you decide what's best for your needs. But I've used this combination for over 15 years and have found them to be exceptionally reliable and very satifactory with my playing style.

The main playing string (Ma) is often the one that should be ordered according with each individual person in mind. In the case of my students, I tend to look at who's playing the sitar, their age, their strengths and weaknesses. Then, one has to look at the key you will be playing your sitar in. A lower pitch will call for a thicker set whereas, tuning regularly at higher keys will mean you need to fit light gauges on your sitar so they don't stress out your hand.

Physical size and strength are a definite concern in picking the right gauge. For a a child of 10 - 14 years I would recommend a slinkier selection which is easier on their fingers. If you don't watch out, the child can loose interest in the instrument as it can be a cruel experience on the fingers if the gauges are too hard.

Women should also look into installing softer strings on their sitars unless they show that their strength in pulling the meends (slides) is adequate.

The tradeoff between the slinkier and the harder gauges is the volume you'll attain with the sitar. Slinkier strings tend to resonate less than the harder variety. But the harder ones will tend to cut your fingers quicker unless you have calauses built up. There are two issues to keep in mind when you go string shopping.

  • What key you'll be tuning the sitar to

    For a solo sitarist the sitar tends to be tuned to one key and the player hardly deviates from this. This is probably the case with most classical sitarists. But even though the general tuning is in the same key, there is often a need to change the strings within the key. For instance in raga Marava, since the 5th note Pancham is not used the drone of the strings that are usually tuned to Pa has to be tuned to maybe a 3rd (Sa) above Pa, or Dha above Pa, or as some sitarists do, latch it to a clip so that those strings are put out of commission. But if the strings are tuned higher, they should be of a gauge that can take such a range.

    When I was 15 my father started me off in the key of C sharp. the main string was gauge #1. As I got better and my calauses started building up (which is in about 6 months) he changed this to a #2 gauge. I was happy with this for a few years. One day he switched it to a three gauge. This I really enjoyed. I must have been about 20 years old and I was tearing it up ont the three gauge. The tension felt great. My calauses were quite thick by then. At about age 23, I decided to switch to a #4 gauge main string, and on top of that, I started to tune my sitar to a D! The instrument sounded really loud. But my fingers felt this jump in the gauge. I stubbornly kept to this for many years to come.

    Today, I'm back to #3 gauge and I tune my sitar to C! There's a story to this and I will share it with you someday. But I like C. My other sitar is on C#. But I, as a classical and an accompaniment musician, find a need to have a capability to play within a range of B flat to D. So the strings I use will give you this range comfortably.

  • The age and strength factor is next in importance.

    If you hurt, there goes your sitar practice! So watch out for this. It's better to get a little less accoustic volume and retain your interest in practice than to be stubborn and play the sitar with the harder gauges. Sometimes, if the action of the strings is unreasonably high, a slinkier string will still give you a decent practice whereas a thicker gauge string will be impossible to handle. I have been there. My own sitar has gone through some extensive re-working so that today the action is perfect. I have written about this issue in a previous lesson so I won't repeat it here. Enough said. Let me show you these gauges and metal compositions for the strings I prefer.

    Ashwin Batish Classical and Raga Rock Style - Sitar String Gauges for the key of D

    The strings I use are as follows:
    (a high quality tone generater is recommended. We are presently selling the Seiko brand tuner and find it to be probably the best one you can use for this purpose)
  • #1 Steel Ma 0.012 Gauge #3 / children under 15 use #2 gauge
  • #2 Bronze Sa 0.014 Gauge #5
  • #3 Bronze Pa 0.020 Gauge #8
  • #4 Bronze Sa 0.014 Gauge #5 (Same as #2)
  • #5 Steel Pa 0.011 Gauge #2
  • #6 Steel Sa 0.009 Gauge #0 / or #1
  • #7 Steel Sa 0.009 Gauge #0 / or #1
  • Tarab /sympathetic strings are all gauge #0 - 0.009 Steel

    For my classical Pandit Ravi Shankar Style sitar - I tune this to C# or even D

  • 1st steel MA / F# #3 - gauge 0.012 inch
  • 2nd bronze SA / C# #4 - gauge 0.016 inch
  • 3rd bronze PA / G# #6 - gauge .0225 inch
  • 4th bronze SA / C# #15 - gauge 0.0285 inch
  • 5th steel Pa / G# #3 - gauge .012 inch
  • 6th steel SA / C #1 - gauge .010 inch
  • 7th steel High SA / C #0 - gauge .010 inch
  • Tarab / Sympathetic strings are steel #0 gauge .009 inch or steel #1 gauge 0.010

    For my classical Vilayat Khansahab style sitar - I tune this to C#

  • 1st steel MA / F #3 - gauge.012 inch
  • 2nd string NOT USED
  • 3rd bronze SA / C #6 - gauge .016 inch
  • 4th steel GA / E #3 - gauge .012 inch
  • 5th steel Pa / G #2 - gauge .011 inch
  • 6th steel SA / C #0 - gauge .009 inch
  • 7th steel High SA / C #0 - gauge .009 inch
  • Sympathetic strings are steel #0 gauge .009 inch
One thing to notice in all of these that, if your hand can take it, you can creep up to the next gauge in all of these. But experiment only if you have been playing a while and feel ready to try out the thicker gauges. Once you start playing on a thicker gauge string, you will find your fingers getting used to this. Ashwin Batish

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. Click here for more info

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