Djovari: Giving Greater Life to Your Sitar, continued
5, cont. The slots for the thicker strings can be made with a normal small saw, and those for very thin strings can be made with a knife whose edge has been blunted with a stone or a rough file. Please take care that the slots are sawn deeply enough so that the strings touch the surface of the bridge along their whole length with even pressure. Also beware of sawing into the now curved surface.
6. New bridges usually have longer legs than necessary. The consequence is that the distance between the strings and the frets is also too great, the result being that the Sitarist could not play his instrument at the appropriate speed. Therefore the legs must be shortened so that the distance between the highest fret and the first wire is provisionally reduced to 10 mm.
To determine the correct length of the legs, the first wire (melody string) should be strung so that the Sitarist can measure with a millimeter ruler how much he has to saw away from the legs. Should the legs be too short they must be lengthened by gluing little pieces of soft wood under their feet.
7. Once the bridge is cut to its provisional height the Sitarist should adjust the feet so that the bridge stands at the correct angle.
This is done by stringing the first wire again and by filing the feet in such a way that the string firmly touches the squares 3, 7 and 11 (fig. 3). The correct position is obtained when the string, touched lightly, produces a dull sound, but a harsh and twanging sound when pulled strongly. During this operation the height of the bridge will be diminished from 10 to approximately 9 mm measured again between the highest fret and the melody string (see fig. 7).
8. The wooden plate covering the main gourd of the Sitar is slightly curved. Consequently the bridge cannot stand firmly and will rock. To avoid this the feet of the bridge must now be filed in a transversal form.
After this the feet must be hollowed out a little so that the bridge will stand firmly on its four corners and an optimal transmission
of the frequencies from the strings to the wooden plate is secured. By adjusting the feet in the described manner the bridge will come down to its final height, being around 8 mm, measured between the highest fret and the melody string (see fig. 7).