Sitar Calcutta Standard

Calcutta standard is our low price model for beginners with little money.

EU: 649 €
incl. VAT, plus 39.90 € shipping within Germany / 54.20 € within Europe
Non-EU: 545,38 €
plus 54.20 € shipping within Europe / overseas on request

We check all our Calcutta standard sitars with as much care as we do our professional concert instruments. Therefore they are much better than most "tourist sitars" that are sold in India - just the right thing to start jammin' with! Their quality of sound, material and workmanship can not compare with our simple deco branded sitars, though, but they have all features of a full-fledged original sitar: exotic sound, attractive looks, and fully functioning mechanics.

Sound sample sitar Calcutta Standard.


Stained medium or dark brown toon wood, mirror-finished shellac surfaces, 7 playing strings (tonal range of four octaves), 13 sympathetic strings, inlay work of celluloid with stained brown engravings, base of neck decorated with simple carvings, removable upper wooden sound box (tumba), plastic bridges.

General Info

The angle at which the bridge surface (jowari) has been sanded down has great influence on the sound of every sitar. If the curvature of the surface permits strong partial vibrations of the string on the bridge, a buzzing sound rich in overtones is created, which is called an open jowari. Ravi Shankar made this sound popular and Westerners often feel that this is the typical sound of a sitar.

A so-called closed jowari creates less overtones, however, its sound is more clear, concise and singing. Most Indian sitarist prefer this sound today. As a standard feature our branded sitars therefore have a somewhat closed jowari.

If played regularly and intensely, the strings dig grooves into the surface of traditional horn or bone bridges in course of time due to abrasion and thus change the relative openness or closedness of the jowaris. If sanded down later in a specific manner, the original sound can be restored or the instrument can be adjusted to a different sound. Since approximately the turn of the millennium sitars feature modern plastic bridges as standard. Their tone quality is at least equally good as traditional horn bridges. However, they show considerably less signs of abrasion and therefore don't require legg sanded down so often.

Manufacturer / Supplier

The term CALCUTTA STANDARD is an India Instruments term for particularly low priced beginner's instruments which are perfectly playable and have a pleasant sound despite their price. The quality of material, sound and workmanship however is clearly lower than that of the more expensive brand manufacturers. 

Our Calcutta Standard instruments are all built in the pulsating west-bengal metropolis, already since the 19th century one of the most important centres for music and instrument manufacturing in India. A complex network of workshops traditionally handcrafts instruments without a brand name, using the simplest means. Our partners in Calcutta are continuously keeping an eye on the local market, purchasing those anonymously built instruments if they meet our standards. Suppliers change according to the market situation.

In the 20th century, instrument manufacturers like Kanailal & Brother, Hiren Roy & Sons and Radha Krishna Sharma contributed significantly to bring the sitar in its present shape into perfection. Today Kolkata sitars are setting standards in the whole of India. And whoever knows all about sitars also builds good tanpuras. Moreover, the sarods from Kolkata are unequalled thanks to Hemen & Co.  Kolkata tablas are characterized by an especially brilliant sound and skillfully finished skins. Instruments like the esraj, khol, surbahar or the modern chromatic shrutibox were developed in Kolkata.


Measure: length 123, width 37, depth 32. weight: ca 3.2 kg
Each instrument is individually hand-crafted and might differ from our description.