A traditional Surbahar
is essentially a bass sitar. It is substantially larger and is tuned
anywhere from four steps to an octave lower than a regular sitar.
This Surbahar is half-sized, so I call it the Surba-Half. It plays
just like a sitar, and because of the shorter neck, it's tuned like
a sitar as well. It is about 3/4 the size of a normal sitar. A pickup
has been added so it can be amplified. The tiger profile carving
on the bottom gourd is a knee-rest, so the instrument can be played
while sitting in a chair, as opposed to the traditional crossed-legged
style, in which the player sits on the floor.
Close-up of the carving on the headstock
Another view showing the double-tumba
or extra gourd resonator, which naturally amplifies the sound