Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Pygmy Sitar

  1. #1
    Registered User jmp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    335

    Default Pygmy Sitar

    Apologies in advance since this is not a mandolin nor a sitar for that matter. It is however a Bouzouki-sitar hybrid type of instrument and I think it is kind of an interesting animal. It does what it does quite well, which is to let me well-approximate an acoustic sitar sound using mandolin and guitar technique. It is designed closer to a sitar than a typical electric sitar, because only the top two strings are for melody with the rest serving as drone strings. As with a sitar, you can only really play in one "key" using a modal approach and you more or less forget about chords. With a capo I can play in other keys with ensembles, but it sounds best keeping the capo to a few of the lower frets. Unlike a sitar you cannot do a true "meend" or bending to get from one note to another, but with the scalloped fingerboard you can bend about one half step and get the rest of the way with U. Srinivas styled mando techniques. It has a built in piezo pickup which is handy because the instrument is not that loud as a pure acoustic.

    This is serial number 132, crafted in England, received two weeks ago.


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230002.jpg 
Views:	1206 
Size:	110.5 KB 
ID:	94531Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230001-001.jpg 
Views:	475 
Size:	152.4 KB 
ID:	94532

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230010.jpg 
Views:	1898 
Size:	97.3 KB 
ID:	94527Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230009.jpg 
Views:	1315 
Size:	101.6 KB 
ID:	94528Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230008.jpg 
Views:	394 
Size:	127.6 KB 
ID:	94529

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230004.jpg 
Views:	371 
Size:	141.8 KB 
ID:	94530Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230012.jpg 
Views:	400 
Size:	135.2 KB 
ID:	94526

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to jmp For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    University Place, WA (with no university and very little place)
    Posts
    4,063

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Cool! I'd like to hear it.
    Bill

  4. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,954

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Wow, that is really interesting. So I assume you do not play sitar but are quite familiar with the music. Did you have a hand in designing this? At first I thought is was a very small (pygmy) instrument but then I realized that was the name of the maker. Is this your instrument or is this company producing many of these?

    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  5. #4
    Registered User jmp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    335

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Wow, that is really interesting. So I assume you do not play sitar but are quite familiar with the music. Did you have a hand in designing this? At first I thought is was a very small (pygmy) instrument but then I realized that was the name of the maker. Is this your instrument or is this company producing many of these?
    Pygmy Instruments designs and manufactures them. I am not involved with the company in way, other than being a recent customer.

  6. #5
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    7,938

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    I have been interested in these for a while, but never pulled the trigger. The website is linked below. These instruments are clearly the work of the Romanian builder Hora, also marketed as Troubadour in the UK. I have had one of their OMs before. The quality is OK for an economy instrument, but not great. It should be fine for this kind of specialty item, though.

    My guess is the Pygmy designer/marketer has Hora do all the work on this, because the scalloping of the fretboard seems like pretty specialized work. They appear to just adapt an inexpensive, commercially available sitar bridge to it. My guess is that any good luthier or home builder could do the same thing to any octave mandolin or 'zouk without too much trouble.

    Another observation is that this kind of specialty instrument may be something that is "super cool" to mess around with for a couple of weeks, but may be of limited usefulness once the "new" has worn off. I mean, where are you going to play it? At home, to annoy the wife even more than you do now with regular instruments? At church? At a bluegrass jam or Irish session? That being said, I may still go for one, just 'cause!

    http://pygmyinstruments.com/shop/pag...0C&shop_param=

  7. The following members say thank you to John Flynn for this post:

    Astro 

  8. #6
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    943

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    FWIW, from May 2011:

    Email question to builder with response:

    "Customer inquiry:
    --------------
    Subject: country of origin

    Are the Pygmy sitars made in the UK?

    Thanks. "

    --------------

    "Hi Jacob,

    Thanks for your inquiry about the Pygmy Sitar, In answer to your question yes they are made in the UK.

    Regards
    Stuart."

  9. #7
    Registered User rb3868's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    I respectfully disagree. It has a lovely sound that would enhance many styles of music. Purists may hate it, but they need to lighten up anyway. How is it tuned?

  10. #8
    Registered User jmp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    335

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    John,

    Good observations, the one about the wife is particularly uncanny.

  11. The following members say thank you to jmp for this post:

    Astro 

  12. #9
    Registered User jmp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    335

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    It's tuned dAaDadad but I've been tuning the 1st string up to an e to keep closer to OM tuning.

  13. The following members say thank you to jmp for this post:


  14. #10
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    7,938

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
    FWIW, from May 2011:

    Email question to builder with response:

    "Customer inquiry:
    --------------
    Subject: country of origin

    Are the Pygmy sitars made in the UK?

    Thanks. "

    --------------

    "Hi Jacob,

    Thanks for your inquiry about the Pygmy Sitar, In answer to your question yes they are made in the UK.

    Regards
    Stuart."
    Well, I guess I have to take Stuart at his word, but I look at those detailed pictures above and the following characteristics are absolutely identical with a Hora:
    > Slotted headstock with distinctive headstock shape
    > Body shape
    > Zero fret with a particularly fat nut

    Compare those characteristics (not the finish color, of course) with pictures of the Hora bouzouki on their website.

    http://www.hora.ro/irish_bouzouki.html

  15. #11

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Its a bit like a dulcimer?

  16. #12
    Registered User neil argonaut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    384

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Thanks a lot, that sounds great; I can't say I've got £350 to spare, but if I do find it somewhere, would love to pick up one of these.

  17. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Okinawa, Japan
    Posts
    625

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flynn View Post
    These instruments are clearly the work of the Romanian builder Hora, also marketed as Troubadour in the UK...

    My guess is the Pygmy designer/marketer has Hora do all the work on this, because the scalloping of the fretboard seems like pretty specialized work. They appear to just adapt an inexpensive, commercially available sitar bridge to it.
    I agree. Regardless of what the seller says, I'm sure these instruments start out as Hora instruments (also sold as Celtic Star). They may well buy them in the white and do the bridge/fretboard and finishing themselves. From the video, they sound pretty good.

    Patrick

  18. #14
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Friday Harbor WA
    Posts
    1,560

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    as for playing it out, I can say from experience that this kind of instrumental sound works great as a solo gig playing background in a restaurant.
    Explore some of my published music here

    —Jim

    BRW 3-point #65 (2009)
    Altman 2-point (2007)
    Portuguese fado cittern (1965)

  19. #15
    Registered User Irénée's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Paris
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar... I am interested by one used !

    I am interested by one used in perfect condition with its hardcase...
    If it is the case thank you to contact me.
    Regards,
    Quote Originally Posted by jmp View Post
    Apologies in advance since this is not a mandolin nor a sitar for that matter. It is however a Bouzouki-sitar hybrid type of instrument and I think it is kind of an interesting animal. It does what it does quite well, which is to let me well-approximate an acoustic sitar sound using mandolin and guitar technique. It is designed closer to a sitar than a typical electric sitar, because only the top two strings are for melody with the rest serving as drone strings. As with a sitar, you can only really play in one "key" using a modal approach and you more or less forget about chords. With a capo I can play in other keys with ensembles, but it sounds best keeping the capo to a few of the lower frets. Unlike a sitar you cannot do a true "meend" or bending to get from one note to another, but with the scalloped fingerboard you can bend about one half step and get the rest of the way with U. Srinivas styled mando techniques. It has a built in piezo pickup which is handy because the instrument is not that loud as a pure acoustic.

    This is serial number 132, crafted in England, received two weeks ago.


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230002.jpg 
Views:	1206 
Size:	110.5 KB 
ID:	94531Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230001-001.jpg 
Views:	475 
Size:	152.4 KB 
ID:	94532

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230010.jpg 
Views:	1898 
Size:	97.3 KB 
ID:	94527Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230009.jpg 
Views:	1315 
Size:	101.6 KB 
ID:	94528Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230008.jpg 
Views:	394 
Size:	127.6 KB 
ID:	94529

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230004.jpg 
Views:	371 
Size:	141.8 KB 
ID:	94530Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PB230012.jpg 
Views:	400 
Size:	135.2 KB 
ID:	94526

  20. #16
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,865
    Blog Entries
    51

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    We know its not a mandolin, but is it a sitar? I don't know enough about the music, but doesn't the sitar need the ability to do quarter tones and the like in order to play sitar music?

    Its a very cool hybrid instrument, but might fall short of what purists of either of its antecedent instruments would want. Needs to be taken for what it is, a cool sound.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  21. #17
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    South West UK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    that is really really interesting...
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Paul Shippey custom "Tone" Octave Mandolin, Paul Shippey "Axe" Bouzouki,
    Phil Davidson A5 "Badgerlin" mandolin, Phil Davidson F5 mandolin,
    Mcilroy Tenor Guitar, Phil Davidson Tenor Mandola
    My band's website

  22. #18
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    South West UK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Get an EHX freeze pedal for it JMP

    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Paul Shippey custom "Tone" Octave Mandolin, Paul Shippey "Axe" Bouzouki,
    Phil Davidson A5 "Badgerlin" mandolin, Phil Davidson F5 mandolin,
    Mcilroy Tenor Guitar, Phil Davidson Tenor Mandola
    My band's website

  23. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Lord of the Badgers For This Useful Post:


  24. #19
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    South West UK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    dammit their website is down
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Paul Shippey custom "Tone" Octave Mandolin, Paul Shippey "Axe" Bouzouki,
    Phil Davidson A5 "Badgerlin" mandolin, Phil Davidson F5 mandolin,
    Mcilroy Tenor Guitar, Phil Davidson Tenor Mandola
    My band's website

  25. #20
    Registered User jmp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    335

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Glad I got one when I did, they seem to be out of business now.

  26. #21

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Anyone know if these are still being made ?

  27. #22
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,817

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Very cool!

    I made a similar instrument out of a travel guitar....thanks for posting yours.

  28. #23

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Hello just wondering if you'd be interested in selling your Pygmy Sitar? If you still own it after all these years. Thanks!

  29. #24
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,954

    Default Re: Pygmy Sitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Mozingtcj View Post
    Hello just wondering if you'd be interested in selling your Pygmy Sitar? If you still own it after all these years. Thanks!
    Good luck to you. The last time the OP posted here was over 3 years ago. And the maker's site is long gone as well. You could have one of the ace luthiers around these parts attempt a similar instrument.

    The first video above is no longer on youtube. The second one was posted in 2010 and the channel does belong to the luthier who made it. Perhaps you can reach him through that channel though I think that video was the last he uploaded over 8 years ago.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •