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Construction

The Sitar is one of the most popular melody instruments in classic North Indian musical tradition. Together with the surbahar and the tanpura it belongs to the family of the long-necked lutes. Its sound box is made of a pumpkin while the sound board and neck are made of timber (most common is toon wood, an Indian subspecies of teak wood). Two curved bridges made of bone or horn (or plastic nowadays) have steel and bronze strings running over them. The frets are tied movable to the neck and are made of nickel silver. Most sitars are decorated with inlays of celluloid and lavish carvings.

Styles

Modern sitars can be classified in two categories according to their structure, design and setup -  each used to play a different style of music.

RAVI SHANKAR STYLE SITAR / Kharaj Pancham

Instruments in the 'Ravi Shankar style', also called kharaj pancham sitars, have two sound boxes and rich ornamentation. They are usually equipped with 13 sympathetic strings, three drone strings (chikari) and four melody strings with a range of four octaves.

VILAYAT KHAN STYLE SITAR / Gandhar Pancham

Sitars in the 'Vilayat Khan style', also called gandhar pancham sitars,  have only one sound-box and a rather chaste ornamentation. They are mostly equipped with 11 sympathetic strings, four drone strings (chikari) and two melody strings with a range of three octaves.

INDIA INSTRUMENTS offers sitars from leading Indian instrument makers. Our sitars are hand-made individual pieces rather than industrially mass-produced articles. You can choose from a large variety of different models and sound philosophies. We also provide custom-made sitars according to your individual specifications, e.g. left-handed sitars.

Calcutta Standard sitars with simple workmanship are a good start for beginners.

The simply decorated branded sitars by P. & Brothers and Monoj Kumar Sardar are tailored to the needs of dedicated hobby musicians. They are more carefully crafted and usually have a more convincing sound than the Calcutta Standard instruments.

For professional demands on sound, reliability, design and durability, the Full Deco and Deluxe Sitars by P. & Brothers and Monoj Kumar Sardar or Sitars in Vilayat Khan style are recommended - depending on preference. Here, the best materials are processed in elegant ornamentation and high functionality to create masterpieces of traditional instrument making.