Hindustani Slide Guitar




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Published on Jun 25, 2019

Norwegian Wood. Paint it Black.

The Hindustani Slide Guitar is a classical instrument of India. I modified a 6-string acoustic guitar modeled on that tradition.

There is very little published, so my work was largely experimental. I had pictures, and I had seen this video of the Godden Music modification of the Weissenborn guitar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtqqM...

I made many trials with strings, and especially doing Jawari on the Ghodi bridge. I would work for weeks and give up. Then return to try again, hoping to find the right combination.

I began with sympathetic strings of .009, and I could get them to buzz just a little with several bridges I had made from Plexiglas. More recently I found an article using .010 and .011 strings, and it made a huge improvement. When I returned to a bone bridge I bought from India, the combination was complete! The instrument came alive!

Six melody strings are tuned GBDgbd, open G in Dobro style. A large, high dobro nut replaced the original guitar nut.

Twelve sympathetic strings are tuned G through F#. I glued a piezo pickup under the Ghodi bridge which balanced nicely with the volume of the melody strings. That single signal goes to a 2-EQ preamp powered by a CR2032 button battery.

Tuning must be precise for melody strings to excite sympathetic strings, and melody notes must be played in tune using the tone bar.

The original guitar bridge was slowly separated from the body by using a hot hair dryer to soften the glue. In its place is an adjustable bridge from an arch-top guitar. Melody strings are now anchored in a short trapeze tailpiece.

ZING! It is beautiful!

- - - -

UPDATE July 15, 2019
Still in search of the perfect sound, I realized that my Slide was tuned in Dobro GBDgbd, whereas most Indian music is C, C#, and D. First, I tried all strings centered around C. Sounded pretty good. A few more sympathetic strings were heard. Then I tuned up to D. I am now re-working the Ghodi bridge alignment to see if I can can all 12 strings to respond.


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