Where To Buy A Sitar

Someone asked in a previous thread about where to buy a sitar so I thought I would write a quick post about it. Considering which sitar to get and where to get it from is a mine-field of a subject.

Many sitars that you see on ebay are junk instruments that were never made to be seriously played and should be avoided at all costs if you want to do anything with it other than hang it on your wall for decoration (if this is what you want then, by all means, buy a cheap one from ebay). There are some real gems to be had but unless you really know what you are looking for then you will most likely be ripped off with something that will be next to impossible to learn on. 

Obviously, you need to consider how much you want to spend. With sitars, if you buy from a reputable source, the more you spend the more you get. Generally, the more expensive a sitar is the better it will sound, the easier it will be to play, and ultimately, the quicker you will learn because you won't be battling with silly problems such as the tuning dropping out every two seconds. So spend as much as you can, it will be worth it in the long run. Good sitars can last a lifetime so spending a good amount now won't seem like so much in twenty years time when you have worn it in and completely fallen in love with it (and presumably can play it well). 

You also need to consider which type of sitar you want. There are two main types, Kharaj Pancham and Ghandar Pancham. Kharaj Pancham is the type of sitar that Ravi Shankar plays and Ghandar Pancham is the type that Vilayat Khan and Shahid Parvez play. 

The main difference is the string set up. The Kharaj has two bass strings, which you can hear in many of Ravi's recordings when he plays whole sections on these. The Ghandar has one less string; one of the bass strings is replaced by an extra thin steel string and the other bass string is removed completely. This can create a more chordal sound yet sounds very clear, focusing a lot of the attention on the main (baj) playing string. 

Where to buy from? 

Well, these are a couple of the most reputable places to buy:





http://www.sitar-tabla.com/sitar.htm - This site is run by a very friendly and helpful guy, he is very knowledgeable and will be more than happy to discuss your needs and recommend something that fits your price range. 





http://www.karaseksound.com - Again, an excellent place to buy from with a very nice man running it. His sitars are some of the nicest I've seen, you can't go wrong if you buy from here. 


http://www.aacm.org - This is also a great place to buy from. I haven't had any personal dealings with them but I know they are well respected, know what they are talking about, and, most importantly, will not sell you junk. 



So, there you go. All of these stores sell accessories as well so if you need strings or mizrabs then just send them an email and they'll sort you out. 

34 comments:

D-503 said...

I think it would be a cool instrument to play around with, or attempt to learn a little bit. But I don't think spending a lot of money for something you won't take seriously is clever.

So, are there any cheaper alternatives that would not break your bank but still provide a good-enough instrument?

Cause I looked at the "Student basic" sitar and it was $650.

Alexis said...

D-503, I would contact Lars from the first link or Tony from the second link, they might have something cheaper, or they may be able to point out one on ebay that would be playable and a lot cheaper. You could buy a dirt cheap one, it maybe ok to mess about on I suppose.

supertwiks said...

its like a guitar but alot more gay

TonySanchez said...

Time to shread \m/

Newhumanbreed said...

Never heard of this instrument. Thanks for that. I'll be looking into it.

Bill Righteous said...

Thats an awesome guitar.

Necroticism said...

I saw one on the first site for 1500 bucks, it's not that expensive!! I'd love to have one.

Rich said...

Now where do i learn to play one lol

hazel said...

I'd love to have one, but it's way too out of my price range :(

Abletonian said...

A bit too expensive for me at the moment. I played one a few times and really enjoyed it. I'll stick to guitar for now though.

charlie tuna said...

I wonder if they make mini sitars. Like the ukelele is to the guitar...

Lesha said...

Whoa!! just now saw one in the musical shop in my town

K. Chalupa said...

It still must be hard to get the lessons, even online. They still are all beautiful, and I wouldn't mind one for decoration either.

timbz said...

great guitar

Alexis said...

Charlie, you can get travel sitars I think. I've never seen one so I don't know how small they are.

ZKMin said...

Wow even if you don't play it, you can admire its beauty.

Jason said...

Cool blog man! keep up the great work!

TJ said...

Pretty expensive, would be interesting to have one.

Come At Me Bro said...

This is great!

Silk said...

Won't have to jump through any hoops after this post!

LiquorKing said...

thanks for the sites, will toss them in my bookmarks

Andrew said...

Funny thing is, I've actually been looking for one.

Anonwadi said...

how heavy is a sitar? (no I'm not looking to put one on the wall :P)

Alexis said...

Anonwadi, I just put mine on my bathroom scales and it said that it weighs about 3kg but I don't know how accurate that is. Mine is probably somewhere between an acoustic and an electric guitar, not heavy at all. The main body is made from a thin gourd and full of air and the next is mostly hollow as well.

srnajera said...

nice post and pictures

Necroticism said...

Mooore posts!

B. Hunter said...

Awesome. Thank you for the info.

Speedy Ed said...

would be amazing to learn how to play one of these, and surely ebay would sell cheap second hand ones? if that's what you're into :P

Triper said...

Great instrument, i like this post.

kite1099 said...

Cool looking instrument.

Pool Fool said...

sitar is a great instrument but I wonder how much a good one costs?

Alexis said...

You can pick a cheap one up for about $400-$600

Internet Catch Of The Day said...

I would love to buy one, to play and to have as a decorative piece

Anonymous said...

you forgot www.sitarsencat.com...nice one.

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