Surbahar Hiren Roy

Hiren Roy surbahars are unique in their combination of superior sound quality and excellent playability and workmanship. Just like Hiren Roy sitars, the Hiren Roy surbahars produce an unsurpassed compact, round, singing and all around balanced sound and have excellent sustain and a huge dynamic range. Absolute top class!

EU: 2,91 €
incl. 16% VAT, plus 24.90 € shipping within Germany / 24.90 € within Europe
Non-EU: 2,511.76 €
plus 24.90 € shipping within Europe / overseas on request

Hiren Roy surbahars are more compact and light than most other surbahars and come without any upper resonator (which is mostly ineffective anyway). Thus you can hold and play them more comfortably - a great advantage in such a challenging instrument!


Dark stained toon wood, polished shellac surfaces, 7 playing strings, 11 sympathetic strings, no upper resonator, plastic bridges, gourd resonator cut in Kachua-style, top closed, round sitar-style frets, holding aid at resonator, rich inlay work of celluloid with stained brown engravings, base of neck fully carved in angur patta style, bone mankas, carved dragon head on the pegbox.

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

HIREN ROY & SONS has been founded in 1942 in Calcutta and is, apart from Rikhi Ram in Delhi, the leading sitar manufacturer since the 1960s. The unique combination of unequalled sound, meticulous craftsmanship, constantly high quality and elegant design makes Hiren Roy sitars unmatched - and the choice of legendary masters like Nikhil Banerjee or Vilayat Khan. Hiren Roy is a small, highly specialised  family business with limited capacities and makes not only sitars, but also highly esteemed surbahars and tanpuras.

After the death of founder Hiren Roy, the company was led by his eldest son Himangshu from 1992 - 1997. After his premature death, Hiren Roy's youngest son Barun continued the tradition successfully in 2nd generation. The original shop at Rashbehari Avenue was closed in 2007 due to demolition of the building. Since then Barun Roy has been working more secluded in his private rooms. The quantity of his production has gone done since then, and he focuses more exclusively on highest quality sitars and surbahars. Getting a new Hiren Roy sitar is thus becoming more and more difficult for private customers... However, India Instruments has a well-established connection with Barun since 1995 and is proud to still be able to offer exquisite instruments in the tradition of Hiren Roy!

Since 2008 the instruments carry the label "Barun Ray - Hiren Roy's Son". This is not a new brand or another manufacturer.


Measure: length 146 cm, width 45 cm, depth 23 cm, diapason 96 cm, weight: 4.3 kg
Each instrument is individually hand-crafted and might differ from our description.