It is no secret that many musical instruments exist which we know nothing about. In different parts of the world, there are lots of instruments and variations of instruments that are still alien to the western world and the global music community. Some that we came to know about some decades ago had been in existence for centuries in the regions they originated. One of such instruments is the sitar. How much do you know about this instrument?
The sitar is a plucked string instrument that is popular in classical Indian music and used widely in the Indian subcontinent. A fairly complicated musical instrument, the sitar derives its distinctive timbre and resonance from sympathetic strings, bridge design, a long hollow neck and a gourd-shaped resonance chamber.
A sitar can have 18, 19, 20, or 21 strings. Six or seven of the strings are played strings while the others are the sympathetic strings. The sympathetic strings are tuned but not plucked: they only vibrate and hum when the strings nearby are played. The frets of the sitar, also referred to as pardā or thaat, are movable, allowing the instrument to be tuned to a classical raga or scale. The sitar is played with a metallic pick known as mezrab. The played strings are to be plucked individually and tone will be adjusted by the thumb, which remains on the fretboard. To avoid the hands bearing the weight of the instrument (since it is usually heavy), the sitar has to be balanced between the players opposite foot and knee.
It was not until the 1950s that the global music community became interested in sitars. But the instrument had been around since the 13th century. There are still some contentions about who truly invented the instrument but there is no argument against the fact that it has a Delhi Sultanate origin. Many sources have it that the instrument was invented by a man called Amir Khusrow, who was a famous Sufi inventor, poet, and pioneer of Khyal, Tarana and Qawwali, in the Delhi Sultanate. There are contradictory claims that the original instrument was brought from Iran and was only modified to suit the taste of the Delhi Sultanate.
The sitar was quickly accepted and became a part of the Indian culture. It was used traditionally in concerts for royalty and special religious ceremonies. It was introduced to the Global music community majorly through the works of Ravi Shanker, the renowned rock artist. In the 1960s, there was a short-lived fad of using the instrument in western pop music. Bands like The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones and many others used in in a track or more.
There is no doubt that the Sitar is a complicated instrument. Buying such an instrument can be difficult, especially for an individual who is not very familiar with it. At Surf’n’Buy, we care about your shopping experience and want to make it as smooth as possible. In that regard, we are going to review the best sitars on the market right here. We will also discuss other important information you need to buy the best sitar for your musical journey.
Top 3 Sitars
1. Kaayna Musicals Sitar
This is a top-quality sitar that is suitable for professional players who need a portable instrument with all the necessary features for pro-level performance. Like other top-quality sitars, you will find on the market, this is an Indian-made instrument with raw materials sourced from the very region the instrument was invented. It is a handmade instrument that promises 100 percent user satisfaction.
The Kaayna musicals sitar is a Ravi Shankar Style instrument that is widely accepted among players from all parts of the world. It features 7 main playable strings and 12 to 12 sympathetic strings. The design is in generally acceptable among classical Indian players and other professionals around the world.
In terms of design, this instrument is properly made to suit all kinds of players. It is made of the right materials for durability and exceptional sound quality. The body is handmade from Tun Wood which is highly rated for its many outstanding characteristics. The strings, the frets and every other aspect of the instrument are also made with top quality materials (Brass and Bone) that guarantee exceptional sound quality and longevity.
Coming to the aesthetics of this sitar, it is an appealing instrument by all standards. As a handmade instrument, it retains the natural wood color (dark/light) that appeals to most people. It also features an exquisite inlay work and floral design that makes it a lot more appealing. It is the sort of instrument you will be proud to play with on any stage at all.
Coming to the sound quality, this sitar is the right choice when you want to get the perfect sound for Classical Indian Music. Whether you are playing in a traditional Indian ceremony or trying to spice up a contemporary record, the sound quality will always be satisfactory. All you need to do is tune the instrument accordingly and play with the right level of energy.
The Kaayna musicals sitar is a comfortable musical instrument. Considerably, it is a lightweight instrument that will let you perform without undue stress. Since it is a handmade instrument, the weight can vary: it can be anything between 4 kg and 5 kg, which is conveniently perfect. There will be no stress when playing the instrument and it is very easy to carry about. The size is also approximate with most measuring 43 inches.
Thanks to the overall weight and style of this sitar, it is best suited for travel purposes. It is the sort of instrument a touring artist will find very easy to work with. It comes with a carry gig bag that makes transportation a lot easier and safer. The carry bag may be the most notable accessory of this sitar but there is more. It actually comes with everything you need to get started. There is a mezrab to pluck the strings as well as extra strings for replacing worn ones. It also features Pick-Up Easy that makes it very easy and straightforward to connect the instrument to with Guitar Amplifier.
- The Kaayna musicals sitar is made with the best possible material. The body is made with high-quality Tun wood and the other parts are made of the right quality of brass and bone for superb sound quality and durability.
- This is also a good-looking sitar. It is a handmade instrument that retains the natural wood color with exquisite inlay work and floral design that will appeal to anyone including players and their audience.
- The sound quality of the instrument is top-notch. All thanks to the raw materials and the quality of the design, you will get the perfect melody once the instrument is properly tuned.
- The instrument is optimized for travel purpose. It will be a valuable asset to the performer who is on a tour. It is appealing, lightweight, and comes with a carry gig bag that looks great too. It is easy to transport it safely.
- Performing with the Kaayna musicals sitar can be a lot more comfortable than performing with other sitars. Asides from the fact that it is lightweight, the instrument can be connected to a Guitar amplifier with easy, thanks to the Easy Pick-Up feature.
- There is no tuning guide in the package. This means that it can be a little difficult for an inexperienced player or student to get started with the instrument.
- There is no warranty information, which is bad for an instrument in this price range.
The Kaayna musicals sitar is unarguably a good instrument. It is made in India with Tun Wood and other high-quality materials that guarantee exceptional sound quality and durability. The design and overall appearance of this instrument are also satisfactory, making it an ideal instrument for all levels of performers. A generally lightweight instrument, the sitar is perfect for travel purposes and comes with a quality gig bag. It is a good instrument for performers of all skill levels but most suited for experienced players.
2. Persian Sitar
The Persian Sitar is the ideal sitar for a beginner. It is a good quality instrument that has the important features to make your experience with the sitar great at the beginning stage. It is made with good materials and the design is great for an instrument in its level. It also comes in a package that can best be described as affordable and super-valuable.
Looking at this instrument, it is clear to see that it is an entry-level sitar. There is no significant information about the type of wood the body is made from but it is clear that the quality is okay for an entry-level string instrument. From the musicshop website, it is stated that the body can be made of either walnut or mulberry. The other components are also made of brass and bone, which are the ideal materials for all kinds of sitars.
The build quality of this instrument is satisfactory. It is a standard Persian Sitar that looks good and feels comfortable to play with. The bowl length is about 25 cm while the bowl width is 15 cm. The neck size is 60 cm. The total weight of the instrument is approximately 350 gr. This is quite light when compared to other instruments. It feels comfortable and easy to play, which is an important characteristic of entry-level musical instruments.
When it comes to sound performance, this instrument is just good for its class. It may not give the sort of sound quality you will get from pro-level sitars but the sound quality is good enough for learning the instrument. It is not the sort of instrument you will take to the big stage but serves exceptionally well in music schools. It is also a reliable practice instrument for experienced players who do not want to use their favorite sitars during practice or in some places.
As a true entry-level instrument, this Persian Sitar is very affordable. The sellers are too sure that their price is the cheapest on the market that they challenge prospective buyers to let them know whenever they find a better price with the link of the product. It is the most affordable instrument on this list. Any individual interested in learning the instrument can easily buy this piece and start the journey as soon as possible.
In addition to having an attractive price, this entry-level sitar comes in a valuable package that contains almost everything you need to get started. It comes with extra strings, a metal pick (mezrab), Kharat, Fret, Metro tuner, a CD for learning the instrument and twist string. Even with all these accessories, the price of the package is still among the cheapest you can find for a sitar.
- This is a well-designed musical instrument. It is small and lightweight in a manner that makes it easy for individuals who are new to the instrument to handle it with ease and learn how to play without much fuss or stress.
- The quality of this instrument is quite satisfactory. Though it is an entry-level instrument, it is made with good materials and constructed in a manner that guarantees durability.
- The Persian Sitar is one of the most affordable models on the market. The price is attractive in a manner that anyone at all who is interested in the instrument can grab it without any financial stress.
- Like other valuable musical instruments, this sitar comes with an array of accessories. A great option for beginners, this package has everything you will need to get started and learn how to play the Sitar, including a CD with lessons.
- The sound quality of the instrument is average. It is not an instrument you can rely on for even the smallest concerts.
- This is one of the smallest sitars you can find on the market. If you are accustomed to normal-sized sitars, it can be very difficult to enjoy playing with this model.
The Persian Sitar is considered the best sitar for beginners for so many reasons. For a start, it is a little instrument that is beautifully designed in a manner that makes it easy for beginners to play: it is compact and lightweight. This is also one of the most affordable sitars out there; students and music novices can buy them without breaking a sweat. The instrument also comes in a valuable package that contains all the accessories the beginner will need to get started including a CD on how to play the sitar. It may be a little instrument but owning it is a giant step for a novice who truly desire to learn to play the sitar.
3. Maharaja Musicals Electric Sitar
It will be strange to compile a list of the best sitars in the world without featuring the Maharaja Musicals Electric Sitar. This is one of the most popular sitars in the world. It is a Kharaj Pancham Style sitar that is made for the serious instrumentalist. It has a ¼ inches jack with 7 main strings and 13 sympathetic strings. While the main strings are tuned with guitar style pegs, the sympathetic strings are tuned with traditional sitar pegs. This makes tuning and playing the instrument easier and more fun.
By all standards, this is an incredible instrument that is made for professional players. It is made with the best materials and showcases exceptional craftsmanship. The body is handcrafted from Tun wood and features an exquisite celluloid inlay work. The bridge is made from robust camel bone. The strings are made of high-quality brass to complete the essential parts. This winning combination of materials does not only guarantee excellent sound quality but durability too. In terms of aesthetic, this is an excellent instrument you will be proud to display on any stage. The exquisite inlay work with floral carving is outstanding. The color too is something to behold; a natural wood color that is properly enhanced by the carving.
In terms of sound quality, this is a reliable instrument you can play anywhere. Once the strings are properly tuned, you can enjoy excellent melodies from the sitar. This sitar features a single wooden toomba that helps in producing a warm, rich and great sound. It also comes with a Piezo pickup that improves precision and helps to ensure that your band has the rich electric sound that can make all the difference.
Another thing you will love about the Maharaja Musicals Electric Sitar is the price. Though it has so many incredible features, this is an affordable sitar that will suit most people. This is one of the reasons it is so popular. It comes in a package that includes the electric sitar, black color Mezrabs, extra set of strings, and padded gig bag. This is a lot of value and most professional players are happy to lay their hands on the package.
- This is a professional-grade sitar that has become very popular for its quality. A Kharaj Pancham Style sitar that is handcrafted in India from Tun wood and completed with other high-quality materials, this is an excellent electric instrument.
- The Maharaja Musicals Electric Sitaris an affordable string instrument. Considering the quality of construction and the number of features it offers, it is surprising that the sitar sells at its price range and this is one of the reasons it is so popular.
- This is an aesthetically appealing instrument that you will be proud to display on any stage at all. It feels good to play with an instrument your audience will admire.
- The Maharaja Musicals Electric Sitarcomes in a valuable package that includes most things you will need to get started. There is a padded gig bag to make transportation of the instrument easier and safer.
- Just like other handmade instruments, there are possibilities of your Maharaja Musicals Electric Sitar arriving with minor scratches or chips. Major issues should be reported to the sellers as soon as possible.
- Extreme temperature condition can make the instrument to go out of tune. You are to air it often and keep away from extremely hot or damp area.
The Maharaja Musicals Electric Sitaris unarguably one of the best sitars you can find on the market. In terms of quality, it is a top instrument made with the right materials by some of the best craftsmen in the industry. It is an aesthetically appealing instrument that produces great sound. It is ideal for professional use on any stage at all. Unlike most pro-grade musical instrument, this sitar is affordable. It may not be the cheapest on the market but the price is so reasonable that any serious player will jump at the offer. It also comes in a package that contains all you will need to get started including a padded gig bag for easy and safe transportation.
Types of Sitars
To buy the best sitar you have to know exactly what you are looking for. This means you need to understand the different types of sitars and their distinguishing characteristics. Here are the major types of sitars you need to know about:
The Ravi Shankar Style Sitars
Named after the renewed sitarist, Ravi Shankar, these sitars feature 4 melody strings, three drone strings, and 13 sympathetic strings. They also feature additional sound box and are lavishly decorated. They are also called Kharaj-panchem sitars are RV for short.
Vilayat Khan Style Sitars
These are sitars that feature 2 melody strings, 4 drone strings, and 11 – 13 sympathetic strings. They are slightly smaller than the RV style sitars and have no upper sound box. In place of bass strings, Vilayat Khan Style sitars are constructed with an additional rhythmic accompaniment string that produces a fuller sound. They are less decorated than RV sitars. This types of sitars are also called Gandhara-pancham sitars.
What is the Difference between Sarod, Veena and Sitar?
Many musical instruments look alike. Unless you are a serious instrumentalist who has deep knowledge of instruments, telling the difference between these instruments can be very hard. There are other string instruments that look like the sitar and it is important you learn the difference and how you can differentiate between them. Some of the string instruments of Indian/Hindustani origin that bear a close resemblance to the sitar are sarod and Veena. We will discuss the difference between these instruments to give you a clearer understanding of what you need.
Between the sarod and the sitar, the major difference is in the presence and absence of frets. While both are Indian classical string instruments, the sitar has a gourd as its resonating chamber and movable frets that are used for tuning the instrument to obtain the desired sound quality. The sanrod, on the other hand, is a fretless string instrument. There is a remarkable difference in the type of sounds produced by sarods and sitars too. While sarods are known for deep, weighty, introspective sounds, sitars are known for sweet, overtone-rich sounds.
There is also a remarkable difference between the veena and sitar. While the veena can simply be described as a stringed Indian musical instrument, the sitar is a plucked stringed instrument used in classical Indian music. While the sitar has a gourd resonating chamber, the veena doesn’t have any. Also, while sitars usually have between 19 – 21 strings, the veena has just 7 strings. There are no sympathetic strings in veenas as we find in sitars.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Sitar
Knowing the different types of sitars and understanding the difference between the instrument and similar Indian stringed instrument is not enough to help you buy the one that will suit your need. It is important that you understand the factors that will significantly influence the performance of the instrument. Here, we will briefly discuss some of the most important factors you must consider when buying a sitar:
Your Skill Level
Are you a novice hoping to learn the sitar or are you an expert looking for a reliable sitar for real gigs? This is an important question to answer before setting out to buy a sitar. Like other musical instruments, sitars are not all made equal. Some are made for beginners and others are made for professional players. It is important that you buy the type that suits your skill levels. There is no need to invest in a pro-level instrument when you are just a student. If, on the other hand, you are a professional player who needs an instrument for major concerts, it is recommended that you buy quality sitars that will give you what you want in terms of sound quality and other desirable characteristics.
It is also important that you consider the material any instrument is made of before buying it. Top-quality sitars are handcrafted from wood. Tun wood is the material of choice for the body and bone and brass are used for the frets and strings. Make sure you check to see that the instrument you are about to buy is made of the right quality of material.
The Sound Quality
The quality of sound you will get from your sitar is also very important. If you are a beginner, you can learn with an average instrument but once you are performing to an audience, you need an instrument that performs exceptionally well in terms of sound quality.
The price is another important factor you should never overlook. Indeed, quality sitars are never cheap but you can find affordable products when you search properly. Beginners can buy budget sitars and upgrade to better once when they master the instrument.
Sitars, like other musical instruments, should come with accessories. The accessories included in the package you buy will determine how valuable the instrument will be to you. It is always better to buy a sitar that comes in a package that has everything you need to get started.
Sitars are highly regarded in classical Indian music. Though it has not gained major global acceptance, it is still considered an excellent instrument by most musicians. Just like other musical instruments, shopping for a sitar can be a difficult experience. Considering that the best ones are handcrafted, it is often hard for many people to decide on the right one to buy at any moment. This is why we are here to help.
From our extensive research and trials, the Kaayna Musicals Sitaris one of the best models for professional players. The Maharaja Musicals Electric Sitaris also very popular among professional players due to its many features and affordability. If you are a beginner, however, you will find the Persian Sitarreviewed here very valuable.
At Surf’n’Buy, we strongly believe that online shopping shouldn’t be too hard. This is why we have gone through the troubles of compiling this buying guide. In addition to reviewing the best sitars you can buy right now, we have provided other information we feel you need. We sincerely hope this piece will help to make your experience with sitars smoother and more enjoyable.