The Sarod

The Sarod is a stringed instrument used in Hindustani (North Indian) Classical Music.  For a more detailed description of the sarod and its variants, you should refer to the sarod entry on Wikipedia, to which I have occasionally contributed.

The sarod is played in many styles, and I essentially follow the Ustad Amjad Ali Khan school of sarod playing. This style is the most recent of all the prevalent styles.

One of the best descriptions of the sarod is that it is an instrument with liquid sounds – due to the resonance of the instrument, the sound lingers as the instrument is played. The notes have a historical component from previous notes played and together, they form a wholesome sound.

I feel that some raagas come into their own on the sarod e.g  popular 5 noted (pentatonic) raagas such as Malkauns, Hamsadhwani, Durga, Kalavati and Bhopali as common examples. The sarod also does well in terms of serious raagas such as Darbari Kanada and Marwa, although the latter is not commonly heard on this instrument.

The instrument requires the tip of the nail to be used to press the string against the fretboard, so the nails must be filed every now and then to level out the grooves cut into the nail by the steel strings.

The best sarods are made by Hemen & Co in Rashbehari Avenue in Kolkata (Calcutta), India. Most professionals use sarods made by him. The skin needs to be replaced every so often when it sags – this is done by an expert repairer.

13 thoughts on “The Sarod

  1. Hello. Do you give online lessons via Skype? If so, what do you charge? If not, do you know of any other online source for instruction? Also I was thinking of getting your book but it is really very expensive for being so short and it seems like it has some pretty basic information about classical music in general. Why so pricy? I guess it is pretty much the only book out there for sarod.



  2. How do I find someone to replace the skin?
    Mine is sagging, and unlike a banjo, I can’t find anyone in Colorado USA to replace it
    Is this something I can do myself?

    1. You can try sarod teachers in California -I’m not aware of any in Colorado. ..otherwise you can attempt getting a skin from India and trying yourself….but you really need to be confident re the technique..

    2. Hi My Name is Harshal,
      I live in Rajkot, gujarat, India. I can change sarod skin with proper fitting and repair any of the parts which damage, you can contact me on or you can call me directly at my mobile at indian standard time like 9 to 9. my mobile number is 8000164264, it is on watts app also.
      Sorry, i have only this email id working, since i was in london. but now I am in rajkot city. Any kind of troubleshoot you require, we can support you fast and reliable.
      We have also parts of sarod like rose pegs, original roselu german string etc.

  3. Love your informative web site. Quick question, a price of wood was chipped off the sarod. If I super glue back together will it be a problem? I also noticed the goat skin material is discolored and dirty, is there anything I can use to clean it? I’m in California

    Thank you

  4. Hi Bryan, depends on where the wood has chipped off from, but if it’s the main body, then should be ok to glue it back. Re: skin, that needs replacement after a few years at the most – find a sarod teacher in California who can do this for you. The alternatives are to go to India or attempt it yourself, if you’re very confident.

  5. Can you tell me where we should order a Sarod from? My son got me one for Christmas and When we received it it was split in half. The wood near the pegs at the top of the Sarod is broken beyond repair.
    I live in Texas and my son wants to get another one from the same company… (I’m not very happy with that idea!)
    Also it came with plastic picks!
    He ordered it from Etsy.

    1. Sorry to hear about the sarod from Etsy
      Good sarods will need to be ordered from India. If your son is still interested, I can recommend a few names.

      A good sarod will take 1-2 months to make and ship to the US.

      1. Dear Rahul,
        Thanks for the great blog. I want to learn sarod and am looking for from wher i can buy one can you please give some suggestions.
        Thank you.

        1. Hi Ishwar I play sarods from the following manufacturers in Kolkata so can recommend them

          1. Hemen and Co
          2. Naba Kumar Kanji

          A good sarod takes a few months to make. Ready made ( lower quality) ones are also available on the internet but beware of the quality

      2. Dear Rahul,
        Thanks for the great blog. I want to learn sarod and am looking for from wher i can buy one can you please give some suggestions about where to buy them.
        Thank you.

  6. Dear Rahul,
    i would like to know if there is an meaning of Sarod as a name. And where it is came from and how they invent it from as a name?
    Like ”Sar” meaning says ”The form of God”. Od Means “star” in Mongolian. That i found from internet.
    All the Bests
    Thank you.

    1. As far as I know it is derived from the Arabic word Sarood which means music. There are other theories around its origin though

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