Can you help me restore my sitar?

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Zork
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Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by Zork » Tue May 11, 2021 12:17 am

About 16 years ago I bought a sitar for little money with a huge crack in the body. I managed to repair the hole, but failed miserably in stringing and setting it up so it remained pretty much unplayable. It served a bit as a decoration, then at one point I pulled the main bridge from it and put it on an electric guitar. This hybrid worked perfectly and went on tour for many years. The sitar ended up in a corner. I sometimes looked for parts and some knowledge, but the parts were really expensive and there was not a lot and often very inconsistent information online, so everything stayed as it was.

Fast forward to now: By accident, when I was looking for something completely different, I found out that Thomann meanwhile has all the parts I need for very, very reasonable prices. And by now, there are a few very good youtube channels about the sitar and more and more valuable information online. So I decided to restore my sitar. I will need some help for sure...
:D

Here's the status quo:

Image

Image

I've got the bridge for the sympathetic strings. On of the tuning pegs is broken. Main bridge is missing.

Image

Some of the nibs for the sympathetic strings are missing or broken.

Image

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The posts for the chicari strings are broken. Thomann offers replacement in two different sizes. I asked for measures but I need to find out as well how long these are supposed to be for example.

So, I think I will need a lot of measurements, detailled information about string height, action etc. and stuff like this. If anyone with a working, playable sitar would chime in and help, that would be glorious.
:-* :)
I'm restoring a sitar: https://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=119440

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Zork
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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by Zork » Thu May 13, 2021 4:46 am

Yeah, so here's a first update. I ordered the parts and hope they will arrive on Saturday. I already drilled out the broken chikari posts.

Here's the first one before again:

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...and here after:

Image

Now, clearly the bone is much harder than the wood, so it didn't went all so well, but I think it's okay. It's actually much okayer than it looks in the picture and the replacement post will fit pretty snug in that hole. I don't know if thats the traditionall method, but to strengthen that area I also plan to glue the new post in. Although I was very careful, that was pretty hard to do and I'm glad that I didn't damage something, to be frank... like, you know, the drill didn't come out in unwanred places...
:ph34r:

The second one before:

Image

...and after:

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This one worked much better and I managed to actually just drill out the bone bit. Practice, yay! Now I wish I could source some of that binding material to replace the missing area.

In case you're wondering, this is how a chikari post is supposed to look like:

Image

To be continued. :)
I'm restoring a sitar: https://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=119440

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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by DeathJag » Thu May 13, 2021 11:18 am

Wow! Other than a jag or JM through a 6g14 / 6g15, that instrument produces my favorite sound! I have fantasies about somehow playing surf with a sitar. I always, always wanted to get one and learn how to play something.

https://youtu.be/v8hbwrV6jgY

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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by Zork » Thu May 13, 2021 10:27 pm

DeathJag wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 11:18 am
Wow! Other than a jag or JM through a 6g14 / 6g15, that instrument produces my favorite sound! I have fantasies about somehow playing surf with a sitar. I always, always wanted to get one and learn how to play something.

https://youtu.be/v8hbwrV6jgY
Cool track. That is a particularly gooood sounding sitar. I'm not sure if mine will come to life like that, as I got the impression that it's more "tourist class" than anything.
I'm restoring a sitar: https://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=119440

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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by Zork » Thu May 13, 2021 11:21 pm

Frets before polishing with steel wool:

Image

Unpolished vs. polished:

Image

End result:

Image

Image

:)
I'm restoring a sitar: https://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=119440

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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by DeathJag » Fri May 14, 2021 9:22 am

Only one time have I seen and heard a live sitar. I was living in NYC in the mid 2000s and was down on 6th street in a little tiny Indian restaurant. This older rotund gentleman was JAMMING his ass off! Just fuckin jamming, killing it! Sitting cross legged and rocking all over the place. I think there was another fellow with another instrument (drum maybe?) but 100% of my memories are that dude jamming. It got my blood racing with excitement!

I’m hoping to get some sounds from you when this is done! Nice polishing, by the way. How do you deal with the dust from steel wool? Just inhale it and wipe stuff off later?

Dan

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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by Zork » Fri May 14, 2021 1:05 pm

I was wearing a FFP2 mask and cleaned the dust off with a vacuum cleaner afterwards. Steel wool is a pretty nasty stuff for sure.
I'm restoring a sitar: https://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=119440

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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by Zork » Tue May 18, 2021 5:25 am

Alright, onwards! Today a package from Thomann arrived:

Image

The good: the Chikari posts fit perfectly, the bridge is very nice and hasn't been cut (the picture on the product page indicates otherwise).

The bad: the replacement tuning peg is much bigger than the ones I have and it's black, not brown and the string nibs for the sympathetic strings I ordered are actually something completely different: they are decorative nibs for the tuning pegs. So, I need to source the right parts ("Taraf Mogara") wich seems to be difficult. I'm also looking for a source for that neck binding material. Any ideas? Preferably in the EU.

So, today I learned how to tie sitar frets. First two were a pain in the ass, third one went meh, fourth one was quite alright to do:

Image

I also noticed that my sitar has two frets missing. :fp:
Apparently you can just put a single fret in without typical problems we would have on a guitar, so maybe it's not that bad. We'll see. I reached out to a shop/workshop in Berlin and hope they can help me with materials.

Fun times!
:boobs:
I'm restoring a sitar: https://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=119440

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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by antisymmetric » Tue May 18, 2021 12:30 pm

What a cool project! Watching this with interest. 8)
Watching the corners turn corners

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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by Zork » Tue May 18, 2021 9:20 pm

Cool, thank you.
I'm restoring a sitar: https://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=119440

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Re: Can you help me restore my sitar?

Post by Zork » Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:08 am

So, this project had a break. Turned out that there are two frets missing and it's not exactly easy to replace them. Most of available frets are much thicker and longer and will need a lot of work to make them usable on my sitar. This doesn't really make sense because it's a pretty low quality instrument. So I wrapped my head around it for some time and decided to use the two highest frets to replace the missing ones in between and just go for it. Not the greatest solution but will have to do for now.
I'm restoring a sitar: https://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=119440

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