Making of Sitar

in Making, Sitar

Just like any Indian Instrument, Sitars are also handmade. Sitars are usually made of Tun Wood but sometimes they are crafted out of teak wood also. Along with tun wood, tumba (gourd) is also used for resonant part of the sitar.

It is generally believed that the best tumbas or gourds are available in Pandharpur. there are no hard and fast rules for making Sitars. Only there are some basic rules and dimensions that need to be followed are usually inherited from one generation to the next.

Generally a sitar is constructed in two phases: The first phase starts from selection and ends at assembling of all the parts. In the second part, designing, carving etc are done and a finished product is produced.

Basically there are four parts of sitar which are represented by the following diagram:

The first cut made in the gourd is as shown in the picture:

Depending upon the size of the gourd, its corresponding instrument is decided that whether it will be a sitar, a tanpura or a surbahar. What-so-ever be the case, the gourd is soaked in water for few hours and then it is dried in sun for some weeks.Some Sticks of bamboo are also used so as to keep the tumba in place as shown in the following figure:

There are no exact dimension for the various parts. It all depends upon the practice of maker in making the instrument and the size of the tabli. The tabli is taken from the outer layer after the wood for tumba and gulu has been carved out.

All the parts such as pta, dandhi, tumba, gulu and tabli are combined using heated glue and hence it is a kind of group effort so that the parts fit together accurately. First of all gulu/dandi joint is made by clamping with two screws that stays in the Sitar.

Then other parts are glued accordingly yielding a rough product as shown below:

Then the kind of carving of the instrument is decided and designed accordingly. Also the material for carving is decided. Then depending upon whether sitar has to be half-decorated or full-decorated, carving or celluloid inlay work is done as shown below:

After this, sitar is passed through six steps of wet scraping, sanding etc. before it is polished. Once the polishing is accomplished, various accessories are attached and the instrument is checked for its tonal quality. The required changes are made and the sitar is made available in the market for its use.

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