These drone strings are important to the musical performance. During a normal performance, these strings will periodically be struck to provide a tonic base for the piece. The chikari are especially important in a style of playing known as jhala.
Many sitars have a gourd which is attached to the neck. This is known as tumba. Not all sitars have a tumba.
The absolute furthest string is referred to as the baj tar which literally means "the playing string". Virtually all of the playing is done on this one string.
The tarafdar are the sympathetic strings. They are almost never strummed, yet they vibrate whenever the corresponding note is played on the playing string. They are located underneath the frets, so fretting them to produce a melody is impossible.
This is the neck of the sitar.
These are the frets. These are metal rods which are bent and tied to the neck with fishing line. Although they are held firmly in place, they may be adjusted to correct the pitch. There are two pardas, the Re and the Dha, which require constant adjustment as one moves from rag to rag.
The gulu is a wooden cowl that connects the neck to the resonator. Although it does not command much attention for the casual observer, it is actually one of the most important parts of the instrument. It is a common problem on sitars for this part to be weak, especially where it meets the neck. If this is too weak then the whole instrument goes out of the pitch anytime on meends (bend the note by pulling the string laterally across the fret). This is very annoying and is definitely a mark of inferior workmanship
The chota ghoraj, also known as the taraf ka ghoraj or jawari is a small flat bridge for the simpathetics strings.The highes quality ones are made from antelope horn. However, the high cost of this material makes them very rare. The most common material for fabricating them is camel bone. Camel bone is a very usual material that is used as a common substitute for ivory.
The bada ghoraj also known as jawara or jawari is similar in construction to the chota ghoraj. This is used for the playing strings strings and the drone strings. It is raised to allow the sympathetic strings to pass beneath.
There are several tuning beads on the sitar. These allow minor adjustments in pitch to be made without having to go the large tuning pegs (kunti).
The tabkandi, also known as the tabali is the face plate. It is extremely important in determining the tone of the instrument. If this is too thin, it will produce a loud sound but a very poor sustain. Conversely if it is too thick, it will improve the sustain, but at the cost of a weaker sound. It is very important that this wood be clear and consistent. Any knot-holes are a definite weakness in the instrument.
The kaddu is the resonator. This nothing but gourd. These are extremely delicate and must be protected against shocks at all times.
BY David Courtney