Nylon Strapping for Tabla
Q: How is the nylon strapping for tabla or baya, and how does it compare to the regular strap?
A: Here is our take on this (having reheaded hundreds if not thousands of tablas over the years) The nylon strapping is good. It has many positive features. Compared with regular strap, it is easier to lace (much easier on the hands) and easier to pull. It doesn't break when you are pulling it up to tension, and it pulls uniformly. It will require more initial pulling, but once it is at the right tension it will stay. (Often after pulling up a new head, it stretches out after a day, and needs to be pulled again.) Another plus is that once on the drum, it is not temperature and climate sensitive.
The downside is that it is not traditional, and may look a little strange to the traditional minded viewer. From a practical point of view, it doesn't grip the blocks as much, so you can't use the blocks as much for tuning as you can traditional strap. But this depends a lot on the shape of your tabla and the size of the blocks.
Sitar goes out of tune with meends
Q: When I pull a note or two on my Ma string, the whole sitar seems to go out of tune a little bit. Is there something wrong with my sitar? Maybe the neck is warped or loose?A: All sitars, even the very best, go slightly out of tune when you do a long meend on the [...]
Bina 23b's, Regular vs. Deluxe?
Q: What are the differences between the Bina 23b Reg. and the Bina 23b Dlx.?A: First we should note that all Bina harmoniums say "Deluxe" on them. Regarding the ever popular 23bs, our description is a way to differentiate two slightly different instruments. These harmoniums are equal in quality, sound and about $50 different in price. Basically, the [...]
Raga - time of day.
Q: Do people still follow the rules for playing ragas at certain times of day?A: In India these days, a lot of people are not so strict about following the time scheme for ragas. They will practice a rag any time, but then try to perform it only at the right time. Khansahib was always very strict [...]
Are your Harmoniums tuned to A440?
Q: Are your Harmoniums tuned to A440?A: Some are, some aren't. Traditionally in India harmoniums tended to be quite sharp of A440. This was partly due to the European standard of A444-A445. Many Indian harmoniums are even sharper that A445. In ensembles of Indian Music, all the instruments will tune to the harmonium, so the only thing [...]
Are the Harmoniums ready for sale when they come in?
Q: What sort of prep work do you do before you sell an instrument?A: Instruments rarely come from India in perfect working order. We check the tuning, check for buzzes and leaks.
Q: I was told not to get a scale-change harmonium because they break easily? Is that so?A: We do not find that to be the case. A well made scale change instrument will last as long as any other. Shipping scale change harmoniums can be a problem, though. Sometimes the mechanism will get jarred out of place. [...]
Q: What is the difference between student, professional and concert harmoniums?A: This is not a distinction we make. Some "professionals" use the simplest of harmoniums. Many of the finest made (and most expensive) harmoniums never make it out of their owners' music rooms. All the instruments we sell are of a standard that they can used by [...]
Is a harmonium tempered?
Q: If a harmonium is tempered, how can it be used in Indian Music?A: For the most part, yes, harmoniums are tempered instruments. This is why they are a bane to purists, and have been banned on All India Radio. Since they are designed to play in different keys, and some people like to play simple chords, [...]
How do you tune a harmonium?
Q: How often should a Harmonium be tuned?A: You tune the harmonium reeds by filing (scraping, sanding) a little metal off of one side of the vibrating tongue of the reed. One side makes it sharp, one side makes it flat. For a detailed explanation see our Harmonium Maintenance page. How often a harmonium should be tuned [...]
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