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Thread: Indian mandolin

  1. #1
    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Okay...I know that there's controversy about if this is a child's guitar or mandolin (please, let's not go there).

    I may be heading to India in a couple of months and was wondering if anyone knows where I might track down one of these instruments to bring back.



    It seems like it would be reasonable to convert it to five strings and tune it in fifths.

    Anyone know the maker, or where in India to look? I'll be in the South, and might be staying a few weeks to a month.

    Thanks!

    Larry

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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    In many photos Srinivas' has a stick-on logo (much like a car emblem) that reads, "Shamax." It was stuck on the upper treble "bout" - I call it the Rhino horn. But in many other photos, including the ones above, it is missing. I won one of these in an eBay auction awhile back, but it did not have the emblem, nor did it have any other markings. The pickup on mine was also a generic (six polepiece) humbucker. The mandolin arrived in several pieces, and I sent it back. It was NOT a well made instrument.

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    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    I tried googling "Shamax" but came up empty. Thanks for the info!

    Larry

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    I was going to suggest eBay!

    There are small-sized electric guitars available in the US.
    Mandolins:
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Sapthaswara Musicals in Chennai (formerly Madras) makes a very similar instrument. Contact info:

    Sapthaswara Musicals
    165, R.H Road, Opp. Sanskrit College and Anjaneya Temple,
    Mylapore, Madras - 600 004.
    Tel/ Fax : 2499 32 94. Tel : 2499 64 98.
    Email : veenai@sapthaswara.com

    Last time I went to see Srinivas play, there was an Indian fellow attending the show who had just gotten a similar instrument, but I don't know exactly where he got it.

    Singh (Mumbai) and Givson (Kolkata) are other Indian builders of e-mandos, although those are more conventional 8-string instruments. You could also try:

    John Pereira
    Peter Pereira Instruments
    Near St. John the Baptist High School
    Thane West 400 601
    Mumbai, India
    Phone: 91-22-5343314



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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    I think Srinivas has a school there too. If you're in the area you should try to visit - I'm very curious to know how students are taught there.

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    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Wow...great info!

    I'll try to find out exactly where I'll be and if any places mentioned are nearby. Maybe I can arrange something beforehand.

    Glauber-I don't think that I'd be pursuing this if I wasn't going to be in India. But I like having some kind of mandolin mission to accomplish besides just business, although I'm sure there will be plenty to keep me busy there.

    And from what I've heard Southern India in April is really hot and humid...

    Thanks everyone for the help.

    Larry

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    The "Shrinivas Institute of World Musique" is in Chennai, where Srinivas lives. In my cursory Web search I couldn't find anything useful like an address or phone number. It would be cool to visit if you're allowed to. His students all appear to play copies of his instrument, so if they're not getting them from Sapthaswara there must be another source in Chennai.

    Other possibly useful sites:

    http://www.rsjonline.com/music/musicstore.asp
    This is a site focused mostly on rock and pop music, but it does list some more music stores.

    http://www.indiamusicinfo.com/
    Potentially useful, although so far I haven't found any actual listings for shops or builders.

    Srinivas' brother, Rajesh, appears to be the more approachable of the pair. I was supposed to do an interview at the last concert I attended, but the promoter wouldn't let me. Srinivas does do interviews with the Western press (the Toronto and Houston papers both talked to him); I just got stuck with a promoter who didn't understand publicity.



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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    BTW, if you look very carefully at the first photo in this thread (hosted by me, thanks) you'll see that the nut is spaced for 5 strings and the lowest tuner on the bass side of the headstock just isn't being used. Maybe these are made with 3-on-a-strip guitar machines because the makers don't want to bother with individual tuners? I dunno. Point is that you don't have to "convert" the instrument to 5-string. Just drop some superglue in that unused tuner to keep it from rattling. Srinivas uses an open tuning (CGCGC) but you can certainly go straight 5ths if you want.

    I have actually sold Emando.com strings to a guy in Chennai (Suraj Kumar) who has taken up the Carnatic mandolin. I'm not sure if he is one of Srinivas' pupils or not, but he has an interesting blog on which he talks about his instrument and posts some recordings he has made. In fact, in this post he reveals that he bought his mandolin from a guy who used to build for Srinivas, and he gives the builder's phone number and e-mail address!

    According to Suraj, this builder takes about 4 weeks to fill an order. So if you find out that you'll be in Chennai, you could order a custom-built instrument in advance. Cool, eh?



    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson • Rigel • Thormahlen • Andersen • Old Wave • Bacorn • Yanuziello • Fender • National • Gibson • Franke • Fuchs • Aceto • Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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    Quote Originally Posted by (LARRYDATA @ Jan. 05 2007, 05:42)
    Glauber-I don't think that I'd be pursuing this if I wasn't going to be in India. But I like having some kind of mandolin mission to accomplish besides just business, although I'm sure there will be plenty to keep me busy there.
    Larry, it sounds like a fun idea for a quest. Take some pictures, if you can!
    Mandolins:
    Mid-mo M11 (#1855)
    Ovation MM68 (#490231)
    New flute CD:
    Wellsprings 2: Joyful!

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    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's an amazing out-of-the-blue opportunity. The camera is coming for sure.

    Now only if they would send me to Brasil....

    Larry

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    If they send you to Brazil in 2 weeks, you'll meet me there!

    I'm plotting getting one of the cheaper Giannini bandolins to play when i'm there. If my brother can't find one, it'll be flute time (which wouldn't be bad either, i need some flute time).
    Mandolins:
    Mid-mo M11 (#1855)
    Ovation MM68 (#490231)
    New flute CD:
    Wellsprings 2: Joyful!

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    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    I was wondering if you had taken your trip yet (I remember an earlier post). Have a great time! Maybe you can find a nice Caviquino?

    I thought that Will Patton was going there too sometime soon with Estrela do Norte. I'd love to see him playing with the locals.

    Also, Marilyn Mair is going in February for 3 months. Here's what she said in her latest email newsletter: "BRASIL ~ I'm going soon & staying long. Here's a
    request for any of you who live in Brasil, have any
    contacts in Brasil that I could meet, know anything
    about Brasil that I should know, etc., to please
    email me. I'm leaving at the end of February, and
    will be based in Rio for 3 months so there'll be
    lots of opportunity to travel & meet people- the
    greatest joy of travel. I don't know nearly enough
    people there yet, so any help is truly appreciated-
    thanks!


    If you can find a source for "Vocabulαrio do Choro: Estudos & Composiηυes" while your there please post it. It looks like an interesting book. Here's a description: "Among the genres that make up the Brazilian instrumental tradition, choro, or chorinho, demonstrates the greatest strength for creative transformation. In Portuguese and English, the author highlights rhythmic, harmonic and melodic aspects of the choro. The approximately 200 exercises are melodic fragments, originated in scales, arpeggios,...

    It's okay to highjack my own thread...right?

    Larry

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    We were going on July 2006 but had to postpone to January 2007. Do you know the publisher or author for the Vocabulαrio do Choro?
    Mandolins:
    Mid-mo M11 (#1855)
    Ovation MM68 (#490231)
    New flute CD:
    Wellsprings 2: Joyful!

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    I recall a classical indian string instrument with a smooth metal surface on the 'fretboard'.
    it was a lot longer scale , but it, metal fretless neck face, would , perhaps be an interesting way to get at quarter tones of non western scales .
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (glauber @ Jan. 06 2007, 01:48)
    Do you know the publisher or author for the Vocabulαrio do Choro?
    The author is Mario Sιve, who I have seen listed as both a choro sax and flute player, but seems most famous as a sax player. There is a bilingual edition (Portuguese/English). The book came out in 1999, published by Lumiar (Almir Chediak). He has written other books as well.



    More info on his band here.

    Larry

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    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Here he is on the flute...

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    Cool, that looks like a piccolo.

    Almir Chediak published a buzillion good music books before dying tragically in 2003. He was a guitar player.

    Mario Seve is a member of Nσ em Pingo D'Αgua, one of the best instrumental bands in Brazil (i know this is saying a lot). Their mandolin player is Rodrigo Lessa. The name means "to tie a waterdrop in a knot"; in Brazil this means to have uncommon ability (or to over-complicate things).

    I'll look for it.

    Lumiar site shows the book but has Internet ordering in Portuguese only. The book costs R$44, so about US$20.

    Found it here (Luso-Brazilian Books). I haven't bought from these guys yet, but they were well recommended. This is $26 but it's the English/Portuguese bilingual version. Go for it! [Caveat: see below]





    Mandolins:
    Mid-mo M11 (#1855)
    Ovation MM68 (#490231)
    New flute CD:
    Wellsprings 2: Joyful!

  19. #19
    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (glauber @ Jan. 06 2007, 11:04)
    Found it here (Luso-Brazilian Books). I haven't bought from these guys yet, but they were well recommended. This is $26 but it's the English/Portuguese bilingual version. Go for it!

    They may have been highly recommended at one time, but I specifically have had a terrible time with them. My Choro book order (which included Vocabulαrio do Choro) still hasn't shipped, and I ordered it in July 2006.

    After my first inquiry on my order they snapped at me that it takes time to get books from Brazil, so I was patient. Then upon later inquiries I got lines like "it will ship in the next 2 weeks", then "we cleared up an issue with the supplier", "will ship next week", ...blah blah blah.

    It seems to me that they have a catalog of books but no inventory. Look at their inventory for the items and everything is "-5" or "-3". They no longer respond to my emails, order updates, and have never been there when I have called. I recommend that everyone stay away from them.

    I'm placing an order soon with these guys, who seem to have a similar catalog but with real-time inventory.

    Larry

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    OK, i'll take the Luso-Brazilian people out of my links... I've ordered from the other site you mention (Brasmus), and it took forever (6 weeks?), but arrived. I think they used surface mail.
    Mandolins:
    Mid-mo M11 (#1855)
    Ovation MM68 (#490231)
    New flute CD:
    Wellsprings 2: Joyful!

  21. #21
    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Ted made a funny comment about LusoBraz in an older thread...

    "...I've picked them up from Lusobraz.com, but the wait from the latter is painfully slow. I think they come by rowboat or carrier pigeon."

    Larry

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    More Web-searching on U Srinivas turned up what purports to be contact information:

    Padmashri U Shrinivas
    Maruthi Nilayam
    12-A Venkateswara Street
    Dhanalakshmi Colony
    Vadapalani, Chennai 600026
    INDIA
    Tel : +91 44 2362 2696, 2362 1421
    Fax : +91 44 2362 1421
    Email : ramanaa@mandolinshrinivas.org
    Website:www.mandolinshrinivas.org
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson • Rigel • Thormahlen • Andersen • Old Wave • Bacorn • Yanuziello • Fender • National • Gibson • Franke • Fuchs • Aceto • Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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    Default Re: Indian mandolin

    I am new to this forum and have been looking at threads to see if I can use the Gold Tone 5 string electric mandolin GME 5 to play the carnatic music ?

  24. #24
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    It might work. The main issue is tuning. I don't know the correct Carnatic terms, but in Western terms the tuning is CGCGC. Srinivas uses a small bowl of vegetable oil to lubricate the fingertips on his left hand when he's playing ... it helps him execute the gamakas cleanly.

    It appears to me that the fretboard on Srinivas' instrument is just a little wider than usual. I don't know how the width of the GoldTone fretboard would compare.

    We have one Cafe member, Aravind Bhargav, who is a student of Srinivas and might be able to give you some more advice.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson • Rigel • Thormahlen • Andersen • Old Wave • Bacorn • Yanuziello • Fender • National • Gibson • Franke • Fuchs • Aceto • Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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    Default Re: Indian mandolin

    Thank You. I called the dealer in chennai India who makes the Tulsi mandolin that most of the carnatic musicians play with. Not sure about the quality of the instrument. It costs around $100 usd with an additional $100 for shipping. I will wait for Aravind Bhargav to offer some advice.

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