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Thread: Trying to find a fine tuner for strings

  1. #1
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Trying to find a fine tuner for strings

    Howdy all. I have been looking for over a year for a certain style of fine tuner to use on my sitar and rudra veena. I see the more modern looking but smaller counterparts but not one like this configuration. As you can see by the image it is a "wing" design with a center screw. The string goes around the two wings and as you tighten or loosen the screw the pitch changes.

    For the record, the thickest string diameters I am seeking these for are:

    SWG 18 0.048" (1.2192mm)
    SWG 22 0.028" (0.7112mm)
    SWG 24 0.022" (0.5588mm)

    Because of their thickness those common ones I keep seeing, (like the Wittner Suzuki styler violin tuner) are just too small.

    Below is a photograph from my teacher's rudra veena showuing the fine tuner in place. Any help locating these would be wonderful.


  2. #2
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    No, I'm sorry, I've never seen any fine tuners for sitars and rudra veenas around here.
    I've got a couple of cub scout canteens we used instead of tablas,
    souvenirs of outdoor jams, and some residual Ravi Shankar riffs,
    but, no, no finer tuners for you, kind sir.
    But how about a few more photos of your instrument?
    It looks like a beauty.

  3. #3
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Watt View Post
    No, I'm sorry, I've never seen any fine tuners for sitars and rudra veenas around here.
    I've got a couple of cub scout canteens we used instead of tablas,
    souvenirs of outdoor jams, and some residual Ravi Shankar riffs,
    but, no, no finer tuners for you, kind sir.
    But how about a few more photos of your instrument?
    It looks like a beauty.
    Thanks John. That instrument is my teacher's. Mine you can see in the new members thread here:

    http://www.magle.dk/music-forums/110...francisco.html

    These are not made for sitar or veena. These are tuners for Western instruments. Just cannot seem to find that particular configuration.

  4. #4
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    If you're in San Francisco you might get lucky.
    There's been a long tradition of Oriental travellers settling in your area.
    They would have similar instruments hand-made, from the homeland,
    and within their vibrant, now local, community.
    It must be vibrant if I'm watching it on t.v. and in movies.

    Planning and overseeing the construction of a new instrument,
    and it only took over three years?
    I took my guitar apart and threw away the body in 1997,
    and it's taken me this long to invent something playable, and make it look nice.
    So please don't boast about time-lines and value added deliberations.

    While your rudra veena is a beautiful, hand-carved instrument of the best quality,
    and I'm sure it has many soothing and haunting tones waiting to emerge,
    please don't confuse tradition with invention, especially Western and Eastern.
    You need to electrify it, sir.
    Imagine your discomfort, maybe slight shame, enough to endure for all musical time,
    when you are offered a chance to perform onstage but can't plug in.
    Your wife, if she stays with you, and your favorite children, can they withstand it?
    Are they willing to leave with the man who could be seen, but not heard?
    Did some geeky little urban-boy get up with a small-scale offshore and blast you away?
    I'm starting to feel less illustrious myself.
    You'll have to sort out this supply problem yourself.
    I'm going to plug in, quite satisfactorily.

  5. #5
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Boast? Interesting take. 1997? Perhaps if you upped your skill set you could get that guitar finished!

    As far as electrifying goes, you assume much. It is easy enough to mic a rudra veena with a clip on mic inside of one or both gourds. The gourds are where the musical action is.

    BTW - the term "Oriental" is used for objects or geography, not for people. It is rather insulting when applied to people. And to say there are a lot of "Orientals" in SF and thinking that is relevant to me because I have a rudra veena is, to put it nicely, an incorrect generalization. It is like giving guitar nut advice to someone seeking info on fixing a piano, because both guitar and piano are perceived as "Western". Irrelevant.

    But I DO appreciate your taking the time.
    Last edited by Povster; Jul-11-2010 at 07:09.

  6. #6
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Well, Povster! Ouch! I feel some of your devilish heat...
    Boasting about taking a lot of time to build something isn't an unusual take.
    Around here, guys are happy to leave their guitars at Paul Saunders,
    so they can visit and meet other guys who left their guitars there,
    talking about it's been over a year now, or two years,
    hoping their old Martins are aging even more.
    Even though Paul asked me to make his roadside sign, and let me pick my ebony out,
    he still had my neck after six months, and it took me a while to get it.

    I'm actually dismayed to see what you're typing about my use of the word Oriental.
    I wouldn't want anyone to be offended, or even a little chagrined.
    My first pictures of my new guitar used satin embroidery from Japan as a backdrop.
    I use Oriental as a catch-all phrase, instead of stereotyping Chinese, Japanese or Korean.
    And if you're from The Orient, you're Oriental.
    Forget eastern and western, unless you want to get into the norths and the souths too.

    This recommendation comes from association with Oriental instruments,
    seeing similar pieces as you seek, and thinking about it now,
    you might convert tension adjusters from small, antique snare drums.
    I'm thinking of what they had back in George Washington's time.
    Breaking into a museum for parts shouldn't abrogate your sensibilities,
    and that's my Scottish Highland perspective coming at you.

    When I was thinking use pickups, I wasn't thinking you're always sitting down.
    You don't need to mike it for portability,
    unless you want to be the rudest and most venal rudra veena player alive.
    See if that gets you a modern invitation to gig at The Golden Temple.

    How's this for a culture mash? http://tinyurl.com/polkarush
    Last edited by John Watt; Jul-11-2010 at 11:32.

  7. #7
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    , John

    Just replace "Oriental" with "Asian". For example, my instruments are "South Asian". Your bases will then be covered.

    The rudra veena is always played sitting down. At about 62" long and 15" deep it is damned hard to put a strap on it and strut about.

    Here's a sort vid of one being played:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8a_LgWG4Hw

    Check out the 2 minute mark for the right hand action. Picks on index and middle finger and little finger fingernail used for the rhythm strings. Pulling 5-6 pitches across one fret is not at all uncommon.

  8. #8
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Povster! You're not going to help me expand my global descriptives any.
    I'm still not sure what The Middle East is, and I'll never know where the Himalayas reach.
    And while it's easy to access the Ganjes as it flows into The Bay of Bengal,
    who can know this mighty river in its natural source, and pure existence?
    What exists for some is lost for many.

    This video is very interesting, superb, yet shrewd, playing.
    It sounds like an evocation, the consistent pitch of the jangling, droning strings,
    like the shimmering on the water, or the tingling of cold on your skin, from the deep water.
    And those bassy sounds, sounding ancient, alerting our minds to evolutionary precedents,
    sounding like marine mammals, stately, yet moving and vibrating around our world.
    A stentorian voice. Beautiful!

    Seeing the size of this rudra veena, now I'm typing forget antique drum parts.
    Have you ever seen a Lee Valley tool catalogue?
    And uh... you should consider standing up and moving onstage.
    Who else can push two big.. uh.. gourds at you, maybe give you a stereo smackdown?
    What kinds of sounds would it make, rubbing the gourds themselves,
    if you were using high volume?
    And while the green cloth for gourd protection, or arm positioning, looks okay,
    I recommend a Sham-Wow, a pale blue one. It's a better absorbent.
    Polishing, or rubbing them up, could be an important part of your stage presence.

    Maybe I should go before you absorb too much of this.
    I might be wrong with my musical assessment.
    Maybe he's lowing with Brahmans, illustrating some lines from The Bhagavad-Gita.
    Either that, or it sounds like when those elephants go the beach beside the ocean,
    calling back and forth with whales that approach the shore, an annual thing.
    I've got to make it to India.
    If you notice, for "Open Strings", on acoustic, I start droning four strings, playing the A.
    www.johnwatt.ca
    I'm not joking about residual Ravi Shankar riffs, or our marine mammal evolution.

  9. #9
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    If you are an adult beginner, you have my blessing to install fine tuners on all four strings! I'd also do this for teenagers still learning to tune, with a 3/4 or full violin. The advantages in being able to accurately tune your violin outweigh any disadvantages.


    Last edited by Krummhorn; Jul-28-2010 at 17:00. Reason: Promotional url removed (see TOS)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by topfer View Post
    If you are an adult beginner, you have my blessing to install fine tuners on all four strings! I'd also do this for teenagers still learning to tune, with a 3/4 or full violin. The advantages in being able to accurately tune your violin outweigh any disadvantages.


    I am not sure about the "adult beginner" concept you bring up. Have been studying this music since 1973, so guess I am an adult. And perhaps not a beginner.

    Being able to accurately tune one of these instruments is a moot point. This instrument, along with sitar and surbahar, allow you (actually require you) to slide across the fret 5 or more full tones. To repeat, that is five or more full tones. So we have a steel or phosphor/bronze string that initially was in perfect tune. A few 3, 4 or 5+ note slides across a fret will, I guarantee, flatten the string a bit. It has nothing to do with how perfectly in tune the string was to begin with.

    SO, one has two options during a performance - either tune with the peg which is very much overkill and, with the rudra vin, may well require you to remove it from your shoulder, put it down, and tune that way - a big NO. Or, for some microtonal tuning, you can use a fine tuner.

    In the Indian instruments the fine tuners are standard equipment. Usually a bone bead one can slide up and down a bit to control the tuning without interrupting the performance. These beads are located either between the nut and the peg above or between the bridge and the langot (tailpiece) below.

    With the rudra vin, the instrument is quite large and even with the tuning beads (rather large ones) it can be a chore to reach blindly above your head to them and adjust while maintaining at least a modicum of continuity. (I have two different sizes of there beads that lay 2 on the left and two on the right side of the headstock. The two sizes help me identify which are which without looking).

    Hence the quest for this style of fine tuners that will be more readily accessible and allow for the precise micro-tuning without reaching over my head to perform.

    And I HAVE to ask - for the time I have been here I have seen sarcasm with this topic. I really do not get it.
    Last edited by Povster; Aug-02-2010 at 11:16.

  11. #11
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Oh - still seeking those fine tuners if anyone recognizes them.

  12. #12
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Povster! I hope your reference to seeing sarcasm with this topic isn't a reflection on my replies to you. My inability to use the proper words for your rudra veena might help me come across as being less than worthy of discussing your instrument. I was hoping my enthusiasm would show through. And after reading your newest and most complete description of your rudra veena and how you expect to work with it, I can further see the precision it demands.

    The picture of a fine tuner that you initially showed still brings things to mind,
    even if my first thoughts didn't seem worth pursuing.
    Now I'm thinking how some old banjos had tuners built into the rims,
    where you could take a section and file it down for yourself,
    maybe pull out the metal plate and start hammering it, stamping it a little,
    and engrave it with "povster".
    When you first play I'm sure there's going to be an elaborate ceremony with many invitations.
    I would think someone from The Niagara Peninsula would be welcome there,
    coming from a place where gourds can grow from 800 to 1,200 pounds,
    and the best shaman rattles are made from tortoise shells and gourds.
    But be careful who is tuning who. More than just notes can be evoked.

    I do sympathize with your predicament, a lone rudra veena in L.A..
    It's such a sympathetic and environmental crowd, and a very creative one.
    I heard there's a new movement to find those large, hollow, ocean fishing net floaters,
    making "rudra boomers" with new, kelp string technology for deep marine mammal bass.
    Last edited by John Watt; Aug-03-2010 at 08:17.

  13. #13
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Povster! I sure hope you see this some time. I redeemed myself.
    I wasn't happy it came down to my credibility, or making sense with you.
    Sure, I'm happy to play around with it when I'm typing, working on my comedy routine,
    but I don't want you to be disappointed in me.

    So guess what I did? My capacity for uploading pictures was full,
    so I started visiting when I could to bump up my post count to post more photos.
    Then I got lucky when this article came out, thinking perfect for you.
    So please, appreciate my respect for you and my affectionate humour,
    and if I can riff off the D.J. being there, getting flippant wit'it.

    Please notice that The Star, the biggest newspaper in Canada, considers this "classical".
    And look at Gurpreet Chana! Look at his hands!

    Thinking of your native descent, a very, very decorative society,
    I'm adding another photo from a long distance bike-hike, just for you.
    It's not a view of The Indian Ocean, looking across Nickel Beach to Lake Erie,
    but it's an overcast, moody scene of something you don't expect to see,
    another thing that illustrates the global mix of you and me.
    I hope it inspires you too.
    Last edited by John Watt; Aug-26-2010 at 10:01.

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