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edmando
Dec-23-2004, 9:46am
I'm looking for one of those Srinivas Carnatic 5-string (6 peg!) electric mandolins. Sahmax?
Some folks have mentioned owning one...where did you get it? Anyone selling? Any stores carry them?

thanks

Lee
Dec-23-2004, 11:42am
I found this on a quick search; haven't read it all or explored the links. I never heard of this before.
http://www.carnatica.net/sangeet/mandolin2.htm

delsbrother
Dec-24-2004, 2:08am
I owned one for about 48 hours, though they were the longest 48 hours of my life.* I'm not sure if it was a "real" Shamax, or a copy.. BTW I've seen pictures of Srinivas' mandolin both with and without the "Shamax" emblem affixed to the upper "rhino horn" - who knows if that's really the brand name?

In any case, mine was a mahogany (?) solidbody, set neck, roughly mando-scaled. Horrible bridge (but it came intonated for Srinivas' tuning!). Pretty average to below-average quality, really. Mine had a humbucking pickup in it. I think I have pictures of it somewhere; I've been thinking about just making one that shape myself.

Darrell

*When the package arrived with the Shamax (via UPS) the headstock was snapped off. The seller (off eBay) was very understanding and gave me a full refund, but getting UPS to come back and pick up the damaged merchandise was a nightmare!!

edmando
Dec-24-2004, 10:15am
Thanks for the info. I'd seen the Carnatica.net article before. Darrell, thanks for the info. I've heard these are really poorly made instruments, but Srinivas still plays one, although I'm sure it's tricked-out. Bet it doesn't have a truss rod though. You mention 'roughly mando scaled'-as in it was longer? Would explain how his low C stays in tune.

FYI, there is one store in Chennai (formerly Madras), south India that sells them online:

Saptaswara (http://www.sapthaswara.com/products.asp?id=1)

I've been in the store (2 years ago, before MAS syndrome struck), which is fairly nice, but I emailed them about the mandolin, and they took 3-weeks to get back to me.
I shudder to imagine ordering from them...hence my question does anyone in North America carry them. Apparently, no one does.

If i decide to get one, i'll be sure to review it, and send detailed pics. After I replace the pickup ;)

I hope you all find Mandolins under the tree. I hope mine is a bluestar mandoblaster.

E

delsbrother
Dec-24-2004, 11:12pm
Thanks for the link edmando, but there's NO WAY I'm sending my CC # to India! Did they say how much it would cost to import to the US? (I'm assuming you're in the US)

Here's mine (eBay seller's photo, I couldn't find mine). You can see the carnatic-intonated bridge.. I forgot to mention the tailpiece was a really thin piece of potmetal.. You'd probably want to replace that too. Mine did not have a truss rod, and I got a good look - my peghead was completely severed! The fingerboard felt radiused, and it had HUGE frets.. Interesting how it had six tuners, a six polepiece pickup, but a fingerboard dot at the 10th fret..

I seem to remember it being around 13" in scale, kind of short.. I took measurements, but again, can't find them at the moment. Maybe after the Holidays I'll try to scare them up. I took a tracing before sending it back.

Darrell


ps His brother also plays one; it's kind of cool to see the two of them play together - twin Shamax attack!

edmando
Dec-25-2004, 11:04am
Thanks Darrell,
I decided not to buy one of these. Too many bad reports.

>ps His brother also plays one; it's kind of cool to see the two of them play together - twin Shamax attack!

I've seen Srinivas play many times, both in India and here (Toronto). Last time he played here (w. his bro), a friend was the presenter, and had us 'handling' them-taking them out to lunch etc. Very nice guys. Modest as anything (that drivel on Srinivas' website is definitely not from him). But they do love their cowboy boots. They'd just come from Texas and had bought all-out, country-music-star boots. Two sweet little Hindu guys in big bad boots. Hilarious!

thanks for the info, and Merry Christmas

mrmando
Jul-10-2008, 12:20am
Cowboy boots???

Hope they weren't real leather! Hindu boys wearin' cowhide?

Larry S Sherman
Jul-10-2008, 8:51pm
I bought a couple of these in Chennai (formerly madras) when I was there last year. I actually love mine...my best souvenir from the trip. My buddy has the other, and he likes his too. We're both Srinivas fans, so it is a speacial thrill to have these.

I asked in the store (Saptaswara) if they can ship to the US and they said "No", although the website makes it sound like they can.

A few pics:

Larry S Sherman
Jul-10-2008, 8:52pm
Another pic

Larry S Sherman
Jul-10-2008, 8:54pm
I have a lot of of Indian friends both here and in Chennai, and sometimes think it would be cool to set up a import business for these, but I don't think there's that much demand.

Last pic:

Larry S Sherman
Jul-10-2008, 8:56pm
Note...I just realized how old the original post was. I wonder if the OP ever got his mando?

jefflester
Jul-10-2008, 10:07pm
Note...I just realized how old the original post was.
Not your fault, Martin's the one that dug it up more than #40 months later. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Thanks for the pics.

mrmando
Jul-10-2008, 10:21pm
larrydata, I dunno, the import thing might be worth doing, depending on the costs and headache. I dug this thread up because I had a fella in Canada asking where he could get one of the instruments. PM me...

delsbrother
Jul-11-2008, 12:11am
This is the first time I noticed this (including when I had one in my hands), so bear with me...

The pickup on these things is aligned so its polepieces lie perfectly under the 5 strings. You know, the five strings that are centered on the fingerboard. So this thing was NEVER designed to be a six string instrument - there's NO WAY you could get six strings to line up with that pickup and still be over the fretboard.

I guess the guys who repro'd it figured, Srinivas' has the spare tuner, better put one on there. Sorry if I'm slow, but I just caught that and find it amusing. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

taboot
Jul-11-2008, 11:26am
I was just noticing that myself, and being a bit surprised by the general level of detail on the instrument, compensated bridge for one. Good on them.

If nothing else, it's another contribution to the mandolin universe that isn't still trying to be a 1919 Gibson F5, not that I have anything against them.

Chrisian

delsbrother
Jul-11-2008, 3:46pm
I don't know if you can see it in the pic of mine, but the bridge there has all kinds of different "compensation" - I thought it was specifically designed for Srinivas' tuning, but who knows? I never tuned it up to find out. The ones in larrydata's pics look much more refined. Did we ever discuss what the stock tuning/gauges were on these things? Larrydata, are you using Srinivas' tuning, or fifths?

Larry S Sherman
Jul-18-2008, 7:41am
I have mine in 5ths...C-G-D-A-E

I wouldn't have the first idea of how to play in an Indian tuning, or how to even begin to try to get those sounds.

BTW: They were tuned like this in the shop in Chennai...they were even in tune. That's more then I can say for some guitar stores around here.

Larry

Spruce
Jul-18-2008, 11:07am
"I guess the guys who repro'd it figured, Srinivas' has the spare tuner, better put one on there. Sorry if I'm slow, but I just caught that and find it amusing."

Well, no different than all the "tribute" guitars that are kicking around these days...
Like this (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/EVH-Eddie-Van-Halen-Frankenstein-Replica-Electric-Guitar?sku=513703)... # http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif

"I bought a couple of these in Chennai (formerly madras) when I was there last year."

Did you get the impression that these things are fairly common in India, Larry?
Or that you got very lucky??

Also, do folks know who Srinivas is in India?
For instance, in the States, if you asked 100 people on the street who Chris Thiele is, one-in-a-hundred might get it.... #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

taboot
Jul-18-2008, 3:11pm
Slightly off topic, but related: Rasika, the organization which most recently brought Srinivas to the US will apparently be doing so again in the spring of next year. Their website says that much, and little else at the moment. Srinivas' own website contains no mention that I can find. He really is a gifted musician, keep an eye out for performances in your area.

Christian

Larry S Sherman
Jul-18-2008, 3:28pm
Did you get the impression that these things are fairly common in India, Larry?
Or that you got very lucky??

Also, do folks know who Srinivas is in India?
For instance, in the States, if you asked 100 people on the street who Chris Thiele is, one-in-a-hundred might get it.... #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
I went to three different music stores before finding the right ones. I went in one where some guy in dark shades was heavy-metal shredding on a japanese guitar like you'd expect in the US.

They carried Srinivas CDs, and did carry an a-style mando with a weird pickup in it but no Sahmax mandos.

The store where I found them was in the Mylapore area next to an amazing temple. I had done some research so I knew what I was doing, but either way I feel like I was lucky.

When I mention Srinivas to my Indian friends most have heard of him, although most don't really listen to "classical" music...they all prefer movie music.

Larry

Spruce
Jul-22-2008, 11:45am
Thanks for that, Larry....

i really need to get over there someday...

mrmando
May-04-2009, 2:42am
Check out the Web site for Tulsi Guitars (http://www.tulsiguitars.110mb.com/mandolin.html) (Madras Musicals), also in Chennai. Proof that there are more choices for Carnatic mando players than the Srinivas clones:

http://www.tulsiguitars.110mb.com/image/mandolin/M3-1.jpg

Larry S Sherman
May-04-2009, 4:58am
Hey, very interesting. I like the blue Les Paul style.

http://www.tulsiguitars.110mb.com/image/mandolin/M2-1.jpg

Maybe I can get one of my Indian friends to to buy me one next time they visit home?

Larry

Spruce
May-07-2009, 12:11pm
Check out the Web site for Tulsi Guitars (http://www.tulsiguitars.110mb.com/mandolin.html) (Madras Musicals), also in Chennai. Proof that there are more choices for Carnatic mando players than the Srinivas clones:




Wow...

Anyone contacted them about sending a few instruments over here??

Group buy, anyone?? ;)

delsbrother
May-07-2009, 4:14pm
Buried somewhere in my "shop" are dimensions and tracings taken from the Srinivator I once had... I had thought about making a small production run as my final project for the MI Guitar Craft Course. (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showpost.php?p=657646&postcount=40) Those plans have subsequently been shelved... Would there have been a market for such a thing?

mrmando
May-08-2009, 2:27am
Anyone contacted them about sending a few instruments over here??

I haven't spoken with Tulsi but I have been in touch with a couple of his local customers. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on an instrument or two. His phone numbers are right there on the Web site.

Anyone planning a trip to Chennai?

diptanshu
May-14-2009, 1:10am
there is no doubt about how brilliant srinivas is, in playing his style of mandolin, its quite unique and he is a real innovator. here in india, he is very popular in south india and many places across the globe but sadly we dont get to hear much of him in north india... perhaps because south india and north indian classical are quite different sounding. i am from kolkata (north) and have never seen or played the srinvas model. snehaish mozumder, (i am cureently learing with him), plays north indian classical style and has made is own designs of the mandola. i have one of them and its good for this style of music. u cant react to finishing and wood work for the price u get it for.

i think the mandolin and guitar makers in india are still not making instruments that meet world standards. but they are made for a particular style/sound. and it works.
two reason, one is the price in kept at bare minimum. and secondly the mandolin is not an indian instruments. i am sure u wont get good tablas and sitars and dotaras in the US or Germany.

mrmando
May-14-2009, 1:48am
Good tablas maybe. I see sitars and sarods here and there but I don't know how good they are.

varun19r
Dec-17-2016, 12:31am
Could you tune it comfortably in 5ths? I've heard that their bridge is intonated to suit Indian open tuning. How much did you pay for it? How much would a low end version cost?

varun19r
Dec-21-2016, 5:41am
Was it difficult to tune to fifths??

Larry S Sherman
Dec-21-2016, 8:12am
Was it difficult to tune to fifths??

Mine was tuned in fifths when I bought it. No issues there.

I do think it would benefit from different wiring, shielding, and perhaps a better pickup...but I'm keeping it as is. I have my Schwab 5-string dialed in for when I want to play electric.

When I was in Chennai about a year or so ago I met with Aravind Bhargav (https://www.facebook.com/Mandolinaravindbhargav) and he let me know that professionals like him get their mandolins from a specialized builder with a very long waiting list. I believe that these are not commercially available.

I think the pro instruments have a much higher build quality, but the electronics still could also benefit from updating. I brought Aravind a blade pickup that is much cheaper in the US and he had it installed on his. I haven't played one myself.

Larry

- - - Updated - - -


How much did you pay for it? How much would a low end version cost?

Mine was incredibly inexpensive...like $90.

Larry

varun19r
Dec-26-2016, 7:42am
Woah, that is totally cheap for a solid back electric mandolin. If I get it at nearly that price, I'll buy a good acoustic one too. I had contacted a mandolin player from Bangalore (my city) who plays a Tulsi. He had told me that they do ship to Bangalore if a request is made.

When did you buy it? Did it come with a single-coil pickup?

varun19r
Dec-26-2016, 7:48am
Oh, I went through another thread of yours and came to know that it was purchased way back in 2007. The price might have been doubled by now. But I'm okay with it, as long as it's of good quality.

Regards
Varun

meshwar
Dec-04-2017, 8:56pm
Oh, I went through another thread of yours and came to know that it was purchased way back in 2007. The price might have been doubled by now. But I'm okay with it, as long as it's of good quality.

Regards
Varun


Varun - did you order one? I planning to order.

meshwar
Dec-04-2017, 8:58pm
Larry - I'm a huge fan of Aravind Bhargav; happy to read your note above

Any new update on these 5 stringed Mandolins from Tulsi? Do they ship?

The shape is unique and would they have a hard case to suit them?

Any info would be great - many thanks

Madhu