the indian santoor
The gallery below contains photos of two traditional Indian Santoors. Thanks go to Nitin Pandit and especially Kamaljeet Ahluwalia whose Santoor were used to create a new custom built Santoor. The second gallery below contains documentation of that process and more shots of the finished version. Click on the first photo to view full screen.
This Santoor is owned and played by Nitin Pandit. It was built by Mela Singh.
Building a 16/15 Indian Santoor
After having built a number of aspects of Indian Santoors, I finally got a commission to build a complete instrument based on a traditional Santoor. You can see photos of that traditional Santoor in the gallery above. I used as a guide (Kamaljeet Ahluwalia's Santoor). She provided a lot of photos and measurements from her instrument as well as information on string gauges and tuning. The instrument I completed accomplished the first three characteristics the customer desired but wasn't quite the sound she was looking for; the level of sustain was excessive. As a result, changes were made to the first version. I replaced the continuous bridges with chessman style individual bridges which can be seen in the rest of the included photos. Information on the completed Santoor and shots of the process of building are available in the gallery below as well as a PDF on Building an Indian Santoor which includes some drawings and a more detailed description of the process. Although not complete, it is far more information than currently available on the web. If there is additional information you'd like to contribute, send me an email.
It had to look like a Santoor with specific traditional dimensions and be comfortable on a lap sitting cross legged with no support from a stand.
It had to have a specific weight, again for comfort on a lap and for travel.
It had to be built elegantly, with care and craftsmanship, as opposed to how Santoors in India are built.
It had to sound like a Santoor (listen to sound samples Kamaljeet created below)
Finished Santoor with Chessman bridges
Comparative Santoor Sound Samples
James Jones Santoor
with continous bridge
Eventually I will have sound samples of the James Jones Santoor with chessman style bridges
Photo Gallery of Building a Santoor (Click on the first photo to view full screen)
Finished second version of a James Jones 16/15 Santoor with chessman style bridges
Glueing up spruce soundboard. A spruce back is done in similar fashion.
Elements of composite pin blocks; three ply maple in center surrounded by poplar to decrease weight.