Choosing your first Sarod

Right, here we go ! You’re all fired up about learning the sarod, have found a physical or virtual teacher but need to find a sarod. How do you go about it?

Firstly, it’s best to get a sarod to suit your school (gharana) of playing. It’ll be a lot easier on you and your teacher if you get one from the same school. So, get a Shahjahanpur, Maihar or Amjad Ali style sarod. You can find good ones from Kanailal, Dulal and of course the Hemens. Delhi Music Stores (DMS) sell some decent ones.

Strings: What are the string gauges

Unless you are a pro, you need not buy whole coils of strings at this point. Get a few lengths from a shop. In the Ud Amjad Ali Khan sarod, the string gauges are as follows:

Ma String: 00 (double zero) or 000 (triple zero). I’ve been using 00 for a while now

Sa String: No.1

Pa String : No. 3

Kharaj String: Copper No 28/29

Jod Strings: 0 (single zero)

Chikari: 00

Tarab: You can start with 1 as Sa and then go on to 00.

Java (Plectrum)

In the Amjad Ali Style, a smaller plectrum is used. Get a few and then find the one suited to your style.

Case

Unless you buy a ticket for your instrument or fly first class, a sturdy fibre glass case is a must. Most of the ones in India are fairly poor quality and fall apart (especially the wheels). Get a decent one which looks like it’ll last the trip and pack the sarod well with bubble wrap and other packaging. Make sure that there is a gap between the top of the sarod strings and the case.

Do not buy sarods from the internet unless you know who the sellers are. This is of course if you are not interested in having a decorative sarod in your living room….