Surbahar P. & Brothers

A noble Surbahar for professional demands in the style of Hiren Roy: Compact dimensions, closed top, excellent quality of materials and workmanship, balanced, dynamic and clear sound.

EU: 2.589 €
incl. VAT, plus 78.10 € shipping within Germany / on request € within Europe
Non-EU: 2.175,63 €
plus on request € shipping within Europe / overseas on request

Surbahars are often built so large and heavy that they can only be held and played with great difficulty. Such oversized instruments scare off many who actually find the deep, meditative sound attractive. The great innovator Hiren Roy showed another way in the second half of the 20th century. His surbahars are structurally similar to his sitars and are dimensioned in such a way that they are relatively easy to hold and play. Despite the comparatively handy size, however, they have the typical full and majestic surbahar sound. Today, P. & Brothers builds surbahars in exactly this style. Wonderful for those who are already familiar with sitar and now want to go deeper.


- dark stained tun wood
- glossy shellac surfaces
- 7 playing strings
- 13 sympathetic strings
- synthetic bridges
- gourd resonator cut horizontally in Kachua style
- closed top
- round frets
- support/foot on the body
- inlaid celluloid with dark brown engravings
- fully carved neck (angur patta)
- bone mankas
- carved decoration on pegbox
- fibreglass case included

General Info

The surbahar is a kind of bass sitar. It has a wider and longer neck and thicker strings than the sitar and its pitch is usually a fourth or fifth lower. Its full, deep sound is most suitable for meditative alap and the ancient majestic dhrupad style. The surbahar is an instrument for individualists ? its shape and size have never been standardised and can be found in considerably different varieties.

The angle at which the bridge surface (jowari) has been sanded down has great influence on the sound of every surbahar. 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 an Indian string instrument. A so-called closed Jowari, however, creates less overtones and the sound is clear, pithy and singing. Most Indian musicians prefer this sound today.

If played regularly and intensely, the strings dig grooves into the surface of the bridges in course of time, due to abrasion, and thus change the relative openess 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.

Manufacturer / Supplier

P. & Brothers is a very small, relatively little known family business in its second generation in Calcutta. Originally, the company was founded in Dhaka, in today’s Bangladesh. After India became independent and divided, the three sons of the founder Gopal Karmakar moved to Calcutta. Initially they worked with other musical instrument manufacturers and finally opened up a joint business under its present name in 1953. Among their customers are, e.g. Nikhil Banerjee, Kartik Kumar and Manilal Nag. Today, Suman Karmakar is running the business, a grandson of Gopal Karmakar. Especially in a small company like this every instrument is made and checked with great individual care. As we have been continually working together with P. & Brothers since setting up India Instruments in 1994, they supply us with rather high quality instruments at a relatively favourable price.


Measure: length 149 cm, width 44 cm, depth 23 cm, diapason 93 cm, weight: 4.1 kg | incl. case: 12.9 kg
Each instrument is individually hand-crafted and might differ from our description.