What is Sarod and what does it play – melody drone or rhythm?
Sarod is a stringed instrument from India with 18-19 strings. It plays melody – not melody drone, with rhythm which is provided by Tabla.
I want to learn Sarod. Therefore want to buy one – please advice.
If you are planning to take Sarod seriously, do get some basic training in Indian classical music – ragas and tala before attempting the Sarod. Next, you need to get some plectrums with the Sarod. Sarod won’t be of much use by itself. While you are ordering Sarod, get a few pairs of spare strings – learn to understand which gauges to get.
If you are skeptical to ordering the instrument like Sarod online, the best option would be to go to a shop and try it, then send the details to your website mentioning the model and picture if possible. This will help you get the best deal. These days you can find everything online & musical instrument shops are a serious and flourishing business.
What’s better – Sarod made of Tun or Teak?
You have to know what style of Sarod you want. Different Gharanas have different sarod preferences. Different types of wood preferred by different gharanas, like teak versus tun. Be clear about which one are you looking for. If its teak, is there a reason you are looking for teak in particular? Why do you think Tun will not serve the purpose?. Quality teak is rare and can be more of a chore to work with given the hardness of the wood. Besides teak being the more expensive of the two it is also heavier. So if you are a beginner toon would be a better choice and if you are a seasoned performer, and can afford the cost – go for teak.
Things to check before buying Sarod…
Examine your sarod carefully from various angles. Ensure the plate is not rippled and does not have bumps and low spots. Give a good look at the skin too. The Sarod skin should be quite thin. Actually there is no confirmed way to find this out – except that thick skin will be opaque and thin skin will look translucent. You can even tap it like a drum & listen to the tone. One of the more popular ways to buying Sarod is that the buyer strums the strings & compares sounds.
When you are buying Sarod – have a look at the nut and bridge to check whether they are properly designed or not.
Good quality will be reflected in the general finish of the Sarod and its tonal quality. Remember one important point – that a sarod with an excellent tonal output and a bad plate is useless because it will have dead spots. And just the opposite also holds as much true – a great looking plate and overall finish may reflect top class craftsmanship but the Sarod may sound flat and unmelodious.