How to string a Sitar

Tonight I’m showing how to string a sitar.

I cover how to tie a sitar string loop, chalk pegs and the process of tuning.

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New Tough Sitar Taans

Hi, I’m Jeff Starr, a sitar student and filmmaker. Last week my sitar teacher revised one of my existing taans to expand it further.

It’s not super complicated, but he wants me to build up my speed so that I can play my sitar taans at 250 beats per minute (bpm). And, this one started getting really hard at at 175 bpm.

I give all my my Taans nicknames and I call this one “3P.”

Let’s see how fast I can get today!

I took my first sitar lesson on January 27th, 2012.

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Debut sitar performance in NYC

My teacher said that he booked me for a sitar performance in NYC this December!

I am stressing out!  Back in November 2015 I had my first public performance. I was background music for an event at the Pakistan Mission to The United Nations. It was an honor to be invited to play there, but I was REALLY nervous about it.

In tonight’s video I reflect on that performance, where I am now with my training and I show a super old clip from 2012, after I had taken my third sitar lesson.  I’ve come a long way since then!

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How to play Sitar Fast: playing sitar at 200 beats per minute!

Do you want to learn how to play sitar fast?  So do I!

I am working to build up speed as my teacher wants me to play at 200 beats per minute (BPM). Let’s see how fast I can get today!

Here is a video of me practicing one of my Taans for Raga Yaman. I give all my my Taans nicknames and I call this one “Confused #1.”

I took my first sitar lesson on January 27th, 2012.

How To Learn Sitar? Tips from my experience.

Hi, I’m Jeff Starr, a sitar student and filmmaker.

I often get asked how to learn sitar.

So, I made a short video to share my experience as a student and give you my tips and suggestions.  In the end, it’s pretty easy if you do one really important thing.  But, you gotta watch the video to find out what that is.

Should you learn the sitar?  If this is something you have been thinking about then I really think you should do it.  It’s definitely difficult but there are strange moments that can be easy. And once you practice, everything gets easier.  Don’t be afraid to try it out.and if you are wondering if you are too old you are not.

How to play Sitar (with less pain)! AKA: how to tape your fingers.

Playing the sitar is hard and it can be really painful. In this video I’ll demonstrate the method I use to tape my fingers. This helps reduce pain and can be very useful when you have been practicing a lot. Or, if you are just beginning to learn sitar using tape can be helpful while your fingers build up a callous.

Some additional thoughts:
Sorry for the messy room. I figured it was better for me to shoot a video surrounded by my son’s toys than to clean everything up and not have time to make the video.

You don’t want to use tape every time you practice.

I suggest masking tape because it’s very slick on the strings and also because the glue is fairly weak allowing you to take the tape off easily. It also won’t leak glue onto your strings like a fabric athletic tape will.

I changed my shirt halfway into filming so that you can see my hands better. But if you like the shirt I was wearing, you can buy one at My buddy runs that website and is giving his profits back to artists, actors, etc.


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Learning Raga Yaman Alap, Update July 2016

This is a video to document my progress learning the Alap from Raga Yaman.

I think it’s starting to come together a bit better now. Listen to this video from earlier this year, back in in April.

I feel like I’ve made some really good improvements, although I still have a long way to go.

I am playing a Barun Ray (Hiren Roy’s son) sitar. I have been taking sitar lessons since 2012.

Thanks for watching and please feel free to comment.

Audio was recorded in LogicX.

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Thoughts on learning the Sitar after leaving my lesson.

My teacher was extremely generous today and my lesson ran for an extra half hour. We spent that extra time playing Alap and going over super important small details.

It was one of those lessons that makes you feel like you are starting over again! I have so much to learn about the sitar. It’s been an amazing journey for me so far and I am so happy to study and learn this instrument.

Please subscribe on youtube to follow my journey, plus other fun videos!

I bought a Sitar! Ravi Shankar Style

While traveling to visit family I found this used sitar for sale in a local music store. It’s Ravi Shankar style and was made by Hiren Roy. I’ll keep this at my parents house to practice on when I visit family. Now I need to get back home more often!

Sa is tuned to C#.