Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
rikhyray
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by rikhyray » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:44 pm

heavensdaw wrote:
3dot... wrote:
I watched this guy once live in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton once... What a fantastic trip!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KXYHPXo ... re=related

Hd
wow! what a fantastic performance. Thanks you made my day! That is Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, my Guru, almost, actually more the my father (I was adopted to his Khandan- musicians family) on his sides his 2 sons. Before moving to fusion and electronic production, performing on Sarod was my job. Sarod is technically incredibly difficult (you press the string to the steel fingerboard with your nail), takes ages to get right intonation , 15 years of practice for minimum 8 hours oft 12 and more daily....BTW. what you see toward end of the video is how our classes looked like - repeating what Ustadji played or sung.

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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by heavensdaw » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:12 pm

rikhyray wrote:wow! what a fantastic performance. Thanks you made my day! That is Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, my Guru, almost, actually more the my father (I was adopted to his Khandan- musicians family) on his sides his 2 sons. Before moving to fusion and electronic production, performing on Sarod was my job. Sarod is technically incredibly difficult (you press the string to the steel fingerboard with your nail), takes ages to get right intonation , 15 years of practice for minimum 8 hours oft 12 and more daily....BTW. what you see toward end of the video is how our classes looked like - repeating what Ustadji played or sung.
Wow .. It was your job!! amazing.. I actually prefer the sadod to sitar.. not by a lot though.. Yes it's really difficult to play, I had a few lessons in North London with this incredible woman.. I had too much guitar in me though and found the technique really difficult.. but I still learnt a bit and still to this day open tune and 'indian' out into drone territory!! :D

I'm gonna give your tunes a listen.. I have a feeling I'm gonna dig them! :)

Hd

rikhyray
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by rikhyray » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:08 pm

I am looking for suitable guitar to transform it into kind of Sarod, put the steel plate and add chikaris -rhythm strings. Sarod was not very suitable for any fusion, impossible to play with any other then Indian percussion, the thin top works like a mic. I saw pic on FB of electric (solid body) Sarod prototype played by one of Ustadjis kids, very interesting. It was made by small manufacturer from New Delhi (Rikhi Ram- no relation but we are friends with the family since my childhood) I might get in touch with them, maybe help a bit since years back I worked with Ovation to develop Vajra vina (crossover Saraswati vina/ Ovation) so have some experience. The same company made electric Sitar for Niladri - kind of heavy metal sitarist though he is actually excellent "normal" Sitar player too (his father was no.1 student of Ravi Shankar). The videos feature some of my old buddies with whom we all "created" this so called Indian fusion in 80s and 90s - Tafiq Kureshi, Sivamani , Luis Banks -all from Bombay. Niladri is the next generation, obviously more radical sound wise.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvZgMHQbXEQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5CkigqO7aY

3dot...
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by 3dot... » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:48 pm

rikhy .. (knew you were going to chime in right about now)
weren't you once involved in developing some new instrument?
I seem to remember something like that...
(edit : reading the posts first before replying seems to be the lesson here)
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littlepig
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by littlepig » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:11 pm

3dot... wrote
worth to say about using audio to midi...
this is for monophonic sounds...
there is no polyphonics(chords) in any realtime audio>>midi scheme AFAIK..
I thought that a lot of sitar playing was melodic up and down one string with big bends. So monophonic should be OK

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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by heavensdaw » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:16 pm

rikhyray wrote:I am looking for suitable guitar to transform it into kind of Sarod, put the steel plate and add chikaris -rhythm strings. Sarod was not very suitable for any fusion, impossible to play with any other then Indian percussion, the thin top works like a mic. I saw pic on FB of electric (solid body) Sarod prototype played by one of Ustadjis kids, very interesting. It was made by small manufacturer from New Delhi (Rikhi Ram- no relation but we are friends with the family since my childhood) I might get in touch with them, maybe help a bit since years back I worked with Ovation to develop Vajra vina (crossover Saraswati vina/ Ovation) so have some experience. The same company made electric Sitar for Niladri - kind of heavy metal sitarist though he is actually excellent "normal" Sitar player too (his father was no.1 student of Ravi Shankar). The videos feature some of my old buddies with whom we all "created" this so called Indian fusion in 80s and 90s - Tafiq Kureshi, Sivamani , Luis Banks -all from Bombay. Niladri is the next generation, obviously more radical sound wise.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvZgMHQbXEQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5CkigqO7aY
Wowsa! rikhyray ... You are RICH,, having had that kind of initiation and quality of influences in your life bro!
Niladri certainly has an amazing talent.. I can imagine he created quite a 'storm' when he first emerged on the scene 8O .. I'd love to see some of that live.. I reckon it'd be a fantastic experience!
Regarding the building of such hybrid instruments... I think if I get time over the coming winter, I'd like to have a go and see what I come up with.. I love a bit of DIY, especially with devotion! ;)

Hd

3dot...
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by 3dot... » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:24 pm

littlepig wrote:3dot... wrote
worth to say about using audio to midi...
this is for monophonic sounds...
there is no polyphonics(chords) in any realtime audio>>midi scheme AFAIK..
I thought that a lot of sitar playing was melodic up and down one string with big bends. So monophonic should be OK
yep...just sayin.. polyphonic input messes with the detection...
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rikhyray
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by rikhyray » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:46 pm

I wanted to have something more Indian than Shakti guitar of McLaughlin that I was playing at that time. Saraswati Vina is fantastic instrument but really huge, you have to book extra passenger seat for it, does not matter you travel by air or train. We used the Ovation Adamas as base and also idea from Sarod (extremely thin top) which brings lots of volume - Sarod is at least twice louder then Sitar. Instead of thin goat skin we used Ovation technology - thin birch sandwiched in carbon. The rest - scalloped fingerboard, much wider then standard Ovation and stringing comes from Vina. Another tech add on was getting gearless Steinberger tuners, with their 1:40 ratio handle much better extreme pulling ( had to get those myself since Steinberg belongs to Gibson, Ovation biggest competitor).
I know many people here ordering sitar/guitars etc but I am bit sceptical about it because it is more about how you play, which goes back to what you hear, your mind, musical experience. I used that Vajra Vina in many recordings in south Indian studios and no one could recognise it is not the Saraswati Vina. However there was interesting event while producing album of Vikku Vinayakram and his musicians family. I played some solos there, very much Vina style and when I got to control room the veteran engineer (he did not know me, anything about me) said "oh , that sounded like Amjad Ali Khan" - the artist from the other video and my Guru. I found it fascinating, played instrument with totally different sound, left and right hand technique, music of different culture, even intonation, yet someone heared rather accurately where I come from - the phrasing, the rhythmic flow which is mainly right hand that I owe to my Gurus corrections.
So back to OP it is more about hearing, listening to, learning, getting the sound in your head, the technical part - modifying instrument or using fx, hardware or software will follow, you will find the sound you want one way or the other. Just play along , jam try to pickup the essence of what you like in someones sound then find your way. There is more of Sitar mood, flavour in guitar of Door`s The End then in badly played, out of tune actual sitar in Fugees Killing me softly ( hearing which gives me intestinal cramps). You have to figure out what exactly appeals to you in that sound that you like and follow that.

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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by spookydirt » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:47 pm

I tend to use this which is cheap and sounds good (probably better than messing about with your guitar), tho you wont get the mad bends with it:

http://www.manytone.com/productinfo_sitar.php

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Meef Chaloin
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by Meef Chaloin » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:32 pm

As a sitarist and ex-guitarist I have to say that you will not be able to make a guitar sound like a sitar. Maybe to some people you can achieve something vaguely similar or passable but I wouldn't say so. There are so many aspects of a sitar that cannot really be emulated with a guitar, from the bridge, the sympathetics, the other main strings which also act as sympathetics when not being played, the metal mizrab (pick on the finger).

The tuning is a major issue as well. The sitar isn't tuned in the same way as a guitar, it uses Just Intonation which you cannot emulate on a guitar due to the fixed frets (I believe someone made a guitar with each fret/note moveable though).

Another major aspect is the way a sitar is played. This is probably the biggest difference between a sitar and a guitar, and is probably the most important thing if you want to emulate a sitar. Watch any professional sitarist on youtube (Shahid Parvez, Imrat Khan etc, not so much Ravi Shankar because his school of learning is different and he plays in a much more rhythmical way than most) and notice how much they bend the main string to create melodies. This is the key to sitar (and pretty much all Indian music), the glide from note to note rather than fixed jumps is itself an emulation of the way singers voice phrases. You will also notice the use of notes inbetween the notes, tiny variations which contribute to the feeling of the phrases.

Although this last part is the most important in achieving the sound of a sitar, it is probably the easiest thing to emulate (rather than the drones, the bridge etc). Try tuning the guitar down a semitone or two and using a lot of bends the way that the professional sitarists do. This will make a big difference, if you play a sitar without bends it sounds boring and not that different to a guitar. Don't do too much vibrato, good sitarists don't do this (sometimes a little bit can be applied to a meend, a string bend, but it is slower than most guitarists would do).

You could also look in to ragas and the 'rules' that they use. Yaman, for example, misses out the 1st and 5th on scale ascent but includes them on the way down. This creates phrases that are characteristic of that raga. Some ragas have no such rules (at least no difference up or down).

Try different tunings as well. For example you could tune the lowest two strings to E (or whatever tonic you're going for), play the main melody on the 4th and use the other three tuned to the tonic and the 5th. Using the notes I tune my sitar to you could try the equivalent of this (I tune to C# so adapt it to E or whatever):

E - C# (low Sa)
A - C# (low Sa
D - F# (Ma) - main playing string)
G - G# (Pa) or F (Ga)
B - C# (high Sa)
E - C# (high Sa)

Sa is the tonic, Ga is the third, Ma is the 4th, Pa is the 5th.

With this tuning you can have the low bass strings as a drone, and the high strings as the chikari (the top strings on the sitar, you will see sitarists use these as an accent, it's the *ching* sound). You could swap the D and G string tuning around, depeding on how it sounds.

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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by DoobieBrother69 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:15 am

I have been messing with trying to get close to a sitar-ish sound with my bass guitar (6-string) through Ableton and am getting a little closer.
I run it through my GT-10B bass fx processor using the "Slim Sitar - Bass" patch which, by itself is not even close, but it helps with the attack & sustain and reverb.
In Ableton, I add "Simple Delay" and then add "Intimate & Colorful" (from "Tone and Color" in Audio Effect Rack) right behind it.
It was this morning, after staying up all night, so I only got to a basic place with dialing in the sound (it has a LONG ways to go), as I was exhausted and a bit punchy.
I made a quick audio-only vid and put it up on youtube:

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

As I said, it's only a first attempt at approximating the sounds, and my playing is not even close to where it needs to be for such a beautiful instrument, so I beg your forgiveness beforehand for the sloppy playing.
With more experimenting, I will get it closer and closer, though I know it will never be a perfect.
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by heavensdaw » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:49 pm

There is some amount of knowledge in this here thread... I hope the OP is taking it all in! :)

Here is where my 'dreaming' has taken me this morning.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYv4bit7 ... re=related

And DoobieBrother69 sitar bass? not something I usually associate with sitar, yet sounding pretty good, but needs more bending/drifting to the note.. maybe detuning it down will help some?

Hd

rikhyray
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by rikhyray » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:34 pm

Interesting indeed, but:
1. I wouldnt bother that much about sympathetic strings (which are just old school FX unit) too much work in concept, making it work and then hell if you want to use it on stage- this part I would rather emulate with electronics. The bottom line you want THAT Sarod sound - get real Sarod.
2. I would choose Dobro type as base, you can hear in the sound of the Youtube, just fretless guitar with metal fingerboard - nothing of typical Sarod instant attack (the thin membrane making it so percussive) and on other hand it is the most common that people who hear Sarod first time ever ask "is that Dobro?"

heavensdaw
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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by heavensdaw » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:51 pm

rikhyray wrote:Interesting indeed, but:
1. I wouldnt bother that much about sympathetic strings (which are just old school FX unit) too much work in concept, making it work and then hell if you want to use it on stage- this part I would rather emulate with electronics. The bottom line you want THAT Sarod sound - get real Sarod.
2. I would choose Dobro type as base, you can hear in the sound of the Youtube, just fretless guitar with metal fingerboard - nothing of typical Sarod instant attack (the thin membrane making it so percussive) and on other hand it is the most common that people who hear Sarod first time ever ask "is that Dobro?"
yes the Dobro guitar is certainly the guitar naturally 'closest' to the sarod.. Is there a 12 string Dobro?
Also what you say is of course the best solution IF you want an exact sound.. is to get the 'real' instrument.. however I do get off on these diy homemade projects.. they bring something 'new' to the table..

Sorry to bombard the thread with youtube clips,, but this is compelling and gives such a great insight to indian melody, rhythm and resonance..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqaQ0BeJ ... re=related

now...back to finishing off restringing my acoustic guitar with some extra light strings.. and get into some experimental tunings! ;)

Hd

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Re: Guitar through ableton- anybody emulated a sitar before?

Post by DoobieBrother69 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:27 pm

heavensdaw wrote:There is some amount of knowledge in this here thread... I hope the OP is taking it all in! :)

Here is where my 'dreaming' has taken me this morning.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYv4bit7 ... re=related

And DoobieBrother69 sitar bass? not something I usually associate with sitar, yet sounding pretty good, but needs more bending/drifting to the note.. maybe detuning it down will help some?

Hd
I'll be working on dialing in the sound, well, a closer approximation of a sitar.
I know it will never be the same as a true sitar, as it's been an instrument whose sounds I've been more & more interested in emulating. (living in a small apartment, so a real one is out of the question for a few more years).
The limited bends are from playing it on the C string and having to push up. The C string is only .045", so don't want to snap it.
Will be trying a 24+ pitchbend through the GT-10B to bring my bass up into a normal guitar's tonal range to see what it sounds like later today and tweak it in Ableton in as many ways as possible.
Will be able to use D or G string after shifting the pitch up, and will allow me to pull the strings faster & harder to get it closer to sounding correct.
Anyways, I'm glad I came across this thread!
Life is too awesome, and I have no time in to waste on dipshits, malcontents and people with no sense of humor.

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