NEWS AND UPDATES
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07/02/15: After a short hiatus I'm back to updating the site. Lets do it up right ok? Here's the latest gandhar pancham sitar from Naeem. I told him to surprise me, and he did! And I finally found the nylon fret thread again. Only this time it's actually a little better than the Conso thread we carried for years until they went out of business. Have a few different colors even! About a dozen instruments in the pipeline for the next visit to Bharat Mata this September. Instruments coming from Naeem, Mohan Lal, SenGupta, P&Bros, & Naskar.
06/21/15: Naeem full decoration mahogany in stock again, very nice! Also 2 Srishti standards here, now with an option for extra large top tumba @ $65 additional... as large as they get and case included!
06/19/15: Most of the regular bulk wire coils available again! On the Sitar strings page, it's near the bottom. The first of Naeems new designs is here, quite incredible and such a great sound. Gandhar pancham teak sitar, look for it in a week or so as we get time to do the pictures, etc.
06/09/15: Srishti standards in stock again....well, 2 at least. Look for 2 vintage SenGupta sitars coming in about 2 months. They're being refitted for us by Jayanta himself, looking forward to it. Also look for 3 more new instruments from them towards the end of the year. Naeem is busy getting his newer designs ready for us, looking forward to the first of them which is a special decorated teak gandhar pancham sitar, should be here in 2 weeks or so. I finally found some of the upholstery thread for frets as used by Rikhi Ram and a few others so it's up next to the regular fret thread now, it's a 77yd. roll so same price as the Indian fret thread.
05/10/15: A few small things just up. We've been asked for practice pillows so found some nice ones from India. And a few really beautiful ebony narkas (tuning wrench) just in. Also have a Radhey Shyam Sharma Rose teak sitar in as new condition, pics up soon!
05/09/15: Whew! Ok, some instruments have arrived! From Suman @ P& brothers: A beautiful kharaj pancham concert sitar. They use the same craftsmen for bodywork and penwork as Hiren Roy but the polishing (shellac) is from a different source, fantastic bodies...
1 pre-owned Hiren Roy full decoration here in stock, it's a custom sitar ordered by yours truly. I've got way too many personal sitars and mainly play an older Hiren Roy so thinning the herd. Made when Barun was at his peak and comes with an extra fitted resin bridge. It's the last one I'll have as we've discontinued carrying any more unless we can find decent older ones.
A few more things coming soon!
03/26/15: I have redesigned the Indian instrument repair page. As some of you know I've been doing in house repairs on mostly our own instruments for a very long time. I didn't offer repair online as I had Scott Hacklemans info there but now Scott has his own site here. So please update your bookmarks! He's a good friend and I wish him well with his own site. He is extremely talented especially in woodworking and making complete instruments. On the repair side there are so few qualified people in North American doing this professionally that I've finally put my own horse in the race and we all have our own individual talents in things. I've had a lot of training from Naushad Sitarmaker (Naeems Dad) and valuable advice and guidance from other makers espcially Rajesh Sharma of Mohan Lal. The best advice I ever got was actually from Sanjay Sharma who said to learn jawari you just practice. So after 10 years of practice lets see how it goes 8^) And don't forget I offer complete harmonium tuning and repair, more tedious but not quite as mystical as jawari.
03/20/15: As promised, here it the pre-owned Hemen sitar. Ravi Shankar types better grab this one quick!
03/19/15: Finally got the Mohan Lal surbahar up! And my apologies but I had to keep it....it was that good. But another due in Fall and waiting list already. 1 or 2 per year is it, he's a one person operation. We've been asked for the tassles you put on the second string. So I got some smaller ones, they're called Rakhi Bracelets in India and are available during the Rakhi Banda festival (brother-sister). So I have a few on the Sitar Accessories page for you, more coming in August. Also some inexpensive easy to play end blown flutes on the India gifts page as well as a few Saraswati posters. Just in are a 40+ year old Hemen sitar that's incredible Ravi style, and a custom from Ayub (RA Sitarmaker) who is making a few of his old style Miraj sitars for us per year, really nice. Also the latest Gandhar Pancham from Naeem in and a Mohan Lal 1/2 decoration that's sold already. Pics of the new sitars up shortly.
02/25/15: Will have the regular string coils again soon, the only solution was to make them here so working on it. Have the .0285 bronze already available. Be patient it's all coming......Also after about 12 years of procrastination have put up a harmonium tuning and repair page. Have been doing it for as long and before that I was tuning other free reed instruments so it's ABOUT TIME. More things coming, won't be long!
02/23/15: It was long overdue but the tabla page has been updated finally! A big welcome to Vijay Vhatkar who is making some fantastic tablas for us! If you just need replacement heads we have those too now....Parampara was discontinued, will try and stock Vijay Vhatkar sets and the occasional Mukta Das and Shyamal Das sets. I've known Vijay for awhile now and decided it would be a good thing to stock them all the time, if you get the chance to play these I'm sure you'd agree....more things coming soon!
02/17/15: Had a successful trip to India, met with most of the makers I'm working with. Continue to play catch up from the holidays and have a number of instruments in stock but still awaiting arrival of some of the popular ones. Mohan Lal, SenGupta, & Naeem continue to go out as soon as they get here so best to get on the list if you have one in mind! The most recent from Sengupta is here....it's sold already, we have 3 due in the fall. Just put up a full decoration Mohan Lal Sharma full decoration teak sitar that was brought back by me personally. Quite the instrument and still available for the moment. The full decoration Mohan Lal tun sitar didn't survive shipping unfortunately which was quite sad but fortunately it's a rare occurence. Picked up a few elephant oil boxes again, they're back on the India Gifts page. And also after roaming around I found a great place to maker our 2015 calendars which are on the India Gifts page as well if you want to order one. The next Srishti's are running late, will update when I have them. 2 standards are due in about 3 weeks hopefully and the others sometime around the end of March. Also I had a nice surprise in India, found out that Ayub Sitarmaker (RA sitarmaker) was making a few of his original style all Miraj made custom sitars. One will be here in a few weeks, was quite nice. He'll do 3 or 4 a year for us.
01/07/15: Just got our Gandhar Pancham / Vilayat Khan style sitar in from Mohan Lal Sharma. Will have a full decoration teak in February. His instruments are basically disappearing as soon as they arrive with so few available. A really good maker! Also just got in a full decoration single color penwork Hiren Roy sitar, probably our last new instrument we will be getting from him due to all the issues mentioned in the past. The structure has been fully checked and verified and I had it repolished elsewhere in India! Another gandhar pancham sitar is in from Naeem which sound very nice, will have pics and info up soon.! I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!
12/06/14: We have Newtone sitar strings available now! Really great quality strings equivalent to Pyramids and a little easier on the pocket. Check them out here.... We are continuing to run out of stock of Naeem and Mohan Lal instruments. More on the way!
12/06/14: Where to start? Running a bit low on instruments end of this year, got a surprise run on inventory in November for which I say a big thanks! But given that we don't do mass imports it's 2 here and there and so we wait!. Coming soon: 1 from SenGupta in February and hopefully a sitar from Gurdial Singh. I'm going to India the second half of January to sort it all out. Also you'll notice we've discontinued Hiren Roy instruments. This is not due to his ability as a maker but because of absence of quality control, we've been running about 50% defect rates for the past year and so finally had to call it quits unfortunately. You can still get them, will just be harder and not from us as I've had enough fun there. I'll do a buyers guide next year to help you should you choose to try and find one.
10/30/14: Meet the latest from Rajesh Sharma of Mohan Lal Sharma here! Just fantastic, which I could keep them all actually....Some sad news in that we've discontinued carrying instruments from Hiren Roy due to really high defect rates. Tired of throwing out sitars, hopefully it can be resolved in the future but not looking too bright at the moment. I'll do a buyers guide to help those determined to buy one in the future, for now it's best to go there and order it, wait a year and then pick it up.
10/16/14: Pictures are up of the refinished Srishti Nikhil Banerjee style sitar. Customs did a number on it so has been refinished in my own avant garde way and thoroughly gone over. A fantastic sounding and playing instrument! Also up is the lastest arrival from Naeem, the Natural wood full sized studio sitar. Lots more updates coming soon....
09/12/14: Just a quick update this time, a lot of the string coils are now gone in the odd sizes. Have a full dec Naeem flatback sitar getting ready for pics/etc. so up in a few days. A refinished NB style Srishti also in the works, will be quite a deal. Also a few tabla accessories going up, etc. so just stay tuned. 2 Hiren Roy full dec concert sitars coming, 1 is already sold. If you have an interested feel free if you want it guaranteed. And no one has wanted this fantastic pre-owned Hiren Roy teak sitar with Kalka carving yet?
08/03/14: Just listed a pre-owned Hiren Roy teak sitar with Kalka carving....very nice sitar with a great big top tumba too. Have a new policy of check or money order only for used/consignment instruments sorry to say. Have been the victim of credit card fraud this year and we just can't cover this situation on consignments please understand...Speaking of top tumbas, just got in our latest Mahogany full decoration sitar from Naeem Sitarmaker, with a HUGE top gourd. In stock pictures of it here. He has stocked up on the gourds from us, there was a shortage for awhile as the farmers in Pandharpur didn't plant many before. Give the sound a nice depth and Naeem continues to impress me with the direction he's headed.
07/26/14: Had a small shipment from Kolkata, only 1 Hiren Roy 1/2 dec left. At this time we don't know when anymore full decorated will arrive. Trying to get 1 in September. From Barun though another 1/2 dec, a Surbahar, and tanpura due in Sept. Also possibly a SenGupta if it can be arranged.
Our string coil selection is changing, might be a little jumbled at the moment but starting to add and replace the regular coils with the larger 1/4 size coils of Roslau. Will have them in the most common sizes. The supplier of all the coils is no longer and trying to manage things. Bad news is bronze wire will no longer be available in coils, we will carry the common sizes by the piece but the hard to find thick wire will be quite expensive, sorry. If you need a LOT of bronze I can get 1/2 kg. spools from Pyramid for you still.
Got an extra large top gourd just put up and a few nick-nacks in accessories, nothing too exciting. Over the next month or two look for a few offerings from Naeem Sitarmaker who is continuing to impress!
06/26/14: Ellora sitar strings just arrived, Ravi Shankar style only at the moment. Not bad for the price. The ever popular Naeem studio sitar is back in stock, quite a nice one he sent....will have a surprise or two from him over the next few months, be on the lookout! With the last news about no more string coils I'm working on some other options so don't give up hope! But your favorite wire should be available in the future and am trying out the India sources for coils also, will bring in some more options from Pyramid shortly too. Hope everyone is enjoying the summer!
06/11/14: Sad news about bulk coils, the owner of the business who supplied us with bulk wire is no longer with us. He was the only one who would sell smaller coils so short of buying 25 lb. coils and coiling myself (not going to happen) there's nothing I can do. Will have some options for steel wire shortly but phosphor bronze will not be available in bulk coils. Will work on another solution, bringing a new string set maker out of India on board which are decent strings and of course there's Pyramid which is what I use personally. If you liked our coils better get what's left now on the sitar string page.
06/10/14: New tun/mahogany Radhey Shyam Sharma sitar up here, just follow the link to new pics. Also just put up a new DVD called "Cloth Paper Dreams" which is a short 20 minute film by Greg Davis, really well done and gives a nice perspective of the Kumbha Mela festival in India and personalities involved. Once I saw it, had to carry it. Finale music courtesy of Indrajit Banerjee. And for cheap fun stuff finally put up the embossed OM stickers for sitars and other Indian instruments, I finally found ones that would hold up and work. Next updates probably in July sometime, hope everyone is enjoying nice weather!
06/04/14: Just up on the site, a pre-owned P and brothers half decoration sitar in very good condition! And while they're quite late this year, we finally have the Rain City Music shop calendar. Check it out, shipping included in the price. Also got in a Ganesha inlay flatback tanpura from Radhey Shyam Sharma and a very nice Angoor teak sitar with penwork. The munda teak sitar from Mohan Lal is now in stock and his half decoration will be here shortly. More updates coming next week!
05/02/14: Our mailing address has changed! Please make a note of it....new mailing address. I'll be in India starting today and returning on the 14th so just a short trip. Will still be available via email but orders won't ship until the 14th......
04/27/14: We've just produced and released the latest CD from Indrajit Banerjee with Anindo Chaterjee on tabla. We went all out on this, was very costly so if you're a fan please consider purchasing it. As some may know I first met Anindo when he was touring with Nikhil Banerjee in 1982 and it's what planted the seed for my journey in Indian classical music. Kind of a nice feeling to do something worthwhile, the playing is fantastic as is the whole production. Also features Indrajit on surbahar playing Raag Lalita Gouri. You can view/purchase this and other CDs on our CD page here.
04/26/14: All Pyramid strings in stock now with the addition of a .050 & .062 flatwound as requested by some Rudra Veena players. Teak munda sitar and half decoration due from Mohan Lal in a month, Hiren Roy Surbahar and another Garland KP due end of June. More Radhey sitars in stock, a student model, the kachuwa, a teak and tun with penwork and another instrument tanpura. Details and pictures of new instruments will be up soon. Starting to stock more tanpura and tabla machines again given our (& others) discovery of latency issue in the popular (but great sounding) software apps.
04/06/14: Srishti Standard Deluxe model here, pics here...features a little more fancy penwork, hardware and delrin bridges. We only have one of them but will get more as they're available, usually designs will vary on this model. A few more symp peg options in Sitar Accessories and Dilruba pegs in Indian instrument accessories.
03/27/14: Waiting for a few Hiren Roy's still, due in about 2 weeks or so, same time frame for the next Radhey Shyam Sharma shipment which will have 1 tun sitar and 1 teak with different styles that I checked out back in January and another Kachuwa sitar. Have 2 new books to put up and a gift item or two, coming soon!
03/13/14: Might have lost an update or two, sorry. Had to reload the site over the new year and well....So here's what's new. A full decoration studio sitar with geared tuners from Naeem Sitarmaker. Has been in the works for almost 6 months and will get 1 or 2 a year. Finally put up some sympathetic plectrums that are locally made on the Sitar Accessories page. And....a few more oil boxes, etc on the India Gifts page.
NEWS: The often asked for Hiren Roy's are coming, we're expecting about 12 instruments this year so all that are on the waiting list don't worry will be in touch when they're in and ready to go. I continue to be out of some of the Srishti and Naeem models that are selling ahead of time, due dates for some of the models updated on the main sitar page. For this Spring we expect 2 Hiren Roy Garland w/colored penwork, more from Radhey Shyam Sharma and 1 or 2 from Mohan Lal Sharma as well.
Tablas continue to be elusive, have been doing custom orders for Vijay Vhatkar (brother of Haridas) but working out the logisitcal 'kinks' and basically breaking even on them. So don't know what the future holds for tabla at the moment but as always, working on it!
Look for another book title or two shortly as I can get to it. Still planning on filming more DVD's hopefully this summer.
12/23/13: We got in a Hiren Roy full decoration in kalka style which you can check out. It sold before I could list it, we have a waiting list for Baruns sitars that keeps growing. Look for the next ones around March/April including a vintage restored one from his shop that we've already confirmed. We now have a setup allowing us to direct ship very large vocal tanpuras from Miraj. No extra shipping charges for the US, Canada, and many Western European countries. Shipping from the shop here available as well, they're well made, sound great and come with fiberglass cases.
12/11/13: All instruments up to date (I think!). The Srishti Manipur teak, Nikhil Banerjee style, and Calcutta Special all came in with the largest oversized top gourds I've ever seen. Only the Calcutta Special is still available though, the other two sold right away. The latest Naeem sitar is here, the custom mahogany concert sitar. We worked on the design together in Miraj last summer and it has just arrived. Srishti Standards back in stock again too and bridges, etc. Would post a picture of our 'sitar room' but to be honest they're in several rooms so wouldn't work too well. About 50 or so last count....
12/08/13: The latest from Radhey Shyam Sharma are here and pics are up for the 1/2 decoration, Tun/mahogany concert #1, & the Surbahar. Also have an instrumental sized tanpura in Female tuning from Radhey now up! Added a neat Tibetan singing bowl on the India Gifts page, it's completely handmade and have access to a few a year now, lots of fun! A new beautiful mahogany sitar is here now from Naeem, we came up with the design awhile ago and it's finally here, pics up soon! Most Srishti's will be back in stock this week, shipment arriving on the 10th....
11/08/13: The latest shipment from Radhey Shyam Sharma is in with pics up soon, most of his instruments are now in stock! We have the Celtic oil boxes in stock again, all different and unique styles. Found some handmade tibetan singing bowls, too cool to not carry and will have them up soon probably on the gifts page. Big shipment due shortly from Kolkata and most Srishti instruments will be back in stock.
11/08/13: Have a new super tuner from Peterson, a few iphone accessories for tuners and software if you're recording, tuning, etc. Peterson makes some really great products and I've tried to carry anything from them that would apply to our small world. What's coming soon? Well....some more sitars and a surbahar from Radhey Shyam Sharma, 1 new model from Naeem, a whole bunch of Srishti instruments. In January we'll start full on with the Mohan Lal Sharma sitars which we've carried for years a piece at a time, have worked out the logisitcs in order to stock these instruments from both Varanasi makers. I actually order and stock them and for what it's worth to anyone (means a LOT to me!) am the authorized rep for them here in North America.
10/30/13: Padded practice mats available again! We though they were gone forever or at least that's what the distributor told us but several of them now available again. They went up in price a few bucks but that's it. Also now listed are the single tumba fancy padded gig bags, no pics yet and they're almost arrived. I tried these out in India and really liked them, very thick padding and velvet lined. Also the special oil boxes from England will be arriving again soon as we found another source for them.
10/17/13: Have a really nice pre-owned Srishti Jaipur in stock, the wood is beautiful and has a seasoned tone. We just did a clean jawari on it, antler bridges @ $1150 plus shipping. Working on integrating all the Youtube samples we did in the pages, the goal by early next year is to have a sound/video sample of every sitar and surbahar we carry. The end of November will have some nice surprises including 5 instruments from Radhey Shyam, a few from Naeem, and most Srishti models will be back in stock. Oh, and we had to change the name of the Kalamunda to the Kala-KP due to some slang inferences, sorry not up to date on my Hindi...oops....
10/10/13: Added a bunch of new things on the Sitar Accessories page. Too many to list, also a few things are now gone forever, looks like the practice mats are finished but working on something else. Got some extra thick .052 mizrabs now! New wood oil boxes and the inexpensive India oil boxes are back along with many sitar and surbahar accessories. Also got a few really nice Dilruba hardware sets for those mechanically inclined. Also updated the customer reviews section, have been a little lax so put up a bunch. Not enough room for all of them, I really appreciate the nice comments from everyone it makes it all worth it!
09/29/13: A new page with sound and video samples from many of our sitars and surbahars now up after days of work! Each sitar we have a clip of will also have the samples embedded in their respective pages too shortly. Have had many requests for sound samples and the goal is to have one of each sitar and surbahar we carry as time permits. Brought back a few things from India, look for updates over the next week as I get time!
09/21/13: Just back from India, brought back some goodies which will be up soon. Also brought back the Mohan Lal Sharma teak sitar from Rajesh that's fantastic! More sitars and a surbahar due in November from Radhey Shyam Sharma along with the Srishti models that have been delayed this year.
08/25/13: Hemen sitar now listed here. Looks just like when we first sold it, still has a nice antler bridge with fresh jawari by Scott Hackleman.
08/22/13: Check out the Naeem Vilayat Khan style sitar! We just got in a lightly used Hemen sitar originally purchased from us a few years back. Pics and info up soon or you can go to the Hemen link that's still up I think. It's an unusual sitar but I personally picked it after playing it. Has a parlor type soft volume but a nice sound. Price will be $1500 on it. Going to India the first half of September and bringing back a Rajesh teak sitar and the Naeem teak which has undergone a few design changes and also a mystery sitar (you'll have to ask)...So can't ship or answer the phone from 9/3 to 9/19 but available via email. If you haven't checked out our Facebook page please click the link above, will be posting some pictures either during or right after the trip.....
08/10/13: Hiren Roy's don't even make it online anymore almost. Travel style sitar is here but the rest that just arrived already spoken for! If you're looking for one please email and get on the list, also worth considering is one of Radhey Shyam Sharmas sitars which have a similar tone, very nice instruments.
08/03/13: Latest Calcutta shipment is due end of the week, 4 more Srishti harmoniums coming, 2 Mohan Veenas from Bhabasindu, 1 Victoria mohan veena and 3 instruments from Hiren Roy and a few other things. I'll be in India again from Sept. 3 to the 18th so please let me know if there are any requests. The plan is to do some detailed documenting of construction in Miraj and Varanasi so hoping to get a few short video clips for everyone to enjoy and pictures, etc. May have some more copies of the Jafferkhani Baaj book shortly which is quite rare, working on it!
07/25/13: The Radhey sitars are up! For those not familiar with him his family has been making sitars for a few generations in Varanasi. Probably the best carving and decoration in India, rivaling the Kanai Lal & Brother shop of old. We got 7 instruments in, 2 were sold before I could get pics, 5 instruments in stock which are: Kachuwa concert sitar (my favorite), Teak sitar with Rose carvings, Tun #1 full decoration with ebony inlay, & a studio electric sitar. More from him due in the Winter of this year, Radhey is more like Hiren Roy in the tone quality as they're 'darker' but have a nice ringing quality about them, require a little break-in of course but really worth it. We've been carrying his instruments off an on over the years and worked out the logistics finally to have them regularly which is good news.
07/23/13: And....2 more sitars now up! 4 more to go by next week. The Naeem Shahid Parvez style sitar now online along with the full decoration studio sitar which is a new model. Both sounding great! The SP sitar really impressed me having just played one that SP himself sells to students. I loved the sound of it but the price was a little high at $1400 which is his going rate.... this one is its equal thankfully and listed at $1100 with fiberglass case. Just found out a few Hiren Roy's on the way along with more Mohan Veenas and Srishti harmoniums. Look for everything in a few weeks? OH....Radhey Shyam Sharma Surbahar up too, its fantastic!
07/17/13: Sitar page updated....again! Several more of Naeems sitars will be up by next week, he's a welcome addition to the cause let me tell you! I also put up a photo gallery from Miraj with a few pictures, wanted to take more but it'll have to wait until this winter as I was quite sick when there and could only do so much....Just got our shipment of Radhey Shyam Sharma instruments and they're fantastic as expected. He has the closest sound to Hiren Roy in my opinion, dark and smooth but with a 'bell like' quality as my buddy described aptly. Will try and have them all listed and up next week too. Updated the Q and A page too.....back next week with more!
07/09/13: Sitar page updated......lots of new instruments coming from Naeem Sitarmaker & Radhey Shyam Sharma shortly, they're enroute. 3 Hiren Roy's coming in August along with more Srishti scale changer harmoniums. After years of trying we're now able to carry the AKG C-411 pickup which works fantastic for Indian instruments. Link is here...as good as the Schertler and 1/3 the price. Put up pics and info of the Naeem Burma teak sitar, of course it's gone because Ray bought it right when it got here but another one coming in August. I spent some time last April in India with Naeem and his Dad going over designs, there is a lot of talent in Miraj still and would like to see the trend turn back to locally made instruments which they are doing. Took a lot of pictures of the craftsmen and will work on a picture gallery soon from Miraj. Stay tuned!
07/08/13: Pictures and information about the Srishti Jaipur studio electric sitar now up, also pics of the refinished Manoj Kumar Sardar #1 are up here and the price greatly reduced. We have a nice Karasek Sound sitar in from 2005, still in as new condition. Click here to see it! More coming tomorrow.....