So I’m chillin at the Office of the Journal of Law and Medicine at Michigan State University. Oh man, am I hardcore? Hardly… I’m just taggin along with my buddy Dhru while he gets some work done… We drove up here last night, with my sitar in my lap the way in, cause he was moving a bunch of stuff up here in the back seat. That was an uncomfortable ride. But it’s all good, my friends. Cause tonight i’m heading up to Troy, MI to check out a classical sarod concert, then hopefully finding somewhere to crash out there so I can hook up with my guruji tomorrow morning for a sitar lesson. It’s on.
I’ve been the lab hardcore with my sitar lately, I’ve been practicing the hell out of this latest composition he gave me. It’s a slower composition in the same raag I’ve been working on, yaman kalyan. But there are a ton of meends (bending the string to hit another note) hardcore that I’m still getting my hands and my ears used to doing. That’s been one of the hardest parts with learning the sitar as compared to what I already know on guitar and bass. On guitar, for any note you’ll need to hit, there’s a fret wedged in the fretboard that never moves. Just slam your finger behind the fret, and as long as the strings are in tune, you’ve hit the right note. So whereas on guitar, the only things you really need to tune are your string, on sitar there are three places you need to tune:
- tune the strings
- tune the movable frets to make sure they’re in the right position
- tune the bending of the string while you’re playing (meend) to make sure you hit the right note.
That third one is the one that’s gonna take me some time to get totally right. On guitar, you can bend a string a half step up, MAYBE a whole step. On sitar, for each fret you play, you need to know where to hit a half step, whole step, 1 1/2 step… all the way up to three whole steps in some cases. CRAZY, my hands and my ears have never had to do that in all the years I’ve been making music. Ever. That alone’s gonna take some time and work in the lab. But dude, as I start getting it, it sounds sooooo sweeeeeeet. Just over the past month I can see myself getting closer to hitting the spot on a bend before I even pluck the string. That’s sweeeeeeet.
Anyway, otherwise just chillin. I might hook up with a friend of Dhru’s, Jazz, that I made when I was helping D out with the stage setup for the bhangra competition he took a team up to in January. I’m gonna try to hook up with that kid Ajit, too. Every time I come up to Michigan to get a sitar lesson, we’ve been trying to hook up but he’s always out of town the weekend I end up coming up. He’s helping organize the concert tonight, so he’s defenitely in town! Hopefully we’ll have a chance to catch up, too. And of course chillin with Dhru’s always good. He’s always motivating in that he reminds me what my ultimate goals are with all the music stuff I’m doing. Its easy to just stay in the mode of workin on shit, and losing track of the ultimate goals sometimes. A good reminder/kick in the ass is always a good thing.