Miraj Sitar 1969 Badge
This hand etched label led me to Miraj and with no difficulty, right to the actual shop where the sitar was made. The name is of the Grandfather who has since passed away. The title 'Haji' is given within the Muslim faith to denote having made a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Miraj Sitar 1969 Headstock
Seen here is my first attempt at carving pegs back in 1970. The original pegs had been broken so I carved this set from tanpura pegs and based the design from a 1964 Hemen Sarod. The wood panel on the right is a replacement with the trim reset. The frets are also replacements made from a six foot brass rod I cut and bent. Quite a learning experience !
Miraj Sitar 1969 Neck and Pegs
These pegs were originally black and without the inlay piece. I added two more pegs for a full complement of thirteen. The frets came from a six foot brass rod I picked up in a hardware store. Once cut and bent, they have served very well. The fishline (20 lb. test) used to tie the frets to the neck has worked flawlessly for over thirty years.
Miraj Sitar 1969 Neck Plate
I fell in love with the peacocks on this neck plate. The overall design is really lovely. Originally, the flanking strips were smooth rosewood. I carved and installed these bone pieces in 1972.
Miraj Sitar 1969 Tabli Carving
In 1970,on one of countless trips to the neighborhood Goodwill shop, I found a wooden serving tray for fifty cents. I recognized the wood as being exactly the same as the wood on the sitar. After many hours of carving, I came up with this floral design which I applied to the tabli. The original white plastic trim now replaced with this carving, transformed the appearance of the instrument.
Miraj Sitar 1969 Tumba Carving
Here is a typical carved design for this level of sitar. The refinishing consists of brown laquer on the gourd with a compete covering of clear gloss varathane. I decided on this industrial strength coating since I was playing in clubs and travelling a lot back in the 1970's. A smoke resistant and easily cleanable finish was necessary.
Miraj Sitar 1969 Tumba Side View
A noteable feature on Miraj sitars are the gourds. They are grown locally and are considered the best in India. The shape on this particular gourd is very round and filled out even at the tailpost where often gourds are sunken in. The gulu (flared wood piece that connects the neck to the gourd) is a little larger than usually seen.