Shipping versus visting Asheville

Hello everyone,

With the ever-increasing costs of shipping large and bulky items such as musical instruments, I often get asked by customers if they can visit Carbon Sitars in person to pick up their instruments. To this, I say absolutely! I love having visitors, and many actually wind up staying with us at the house/shop, where we will spend a couple days making tweaks and/or sightseeing. In fact, depending on where you live in the world, it can actually be cheaper to buy round-trip airfare and spend a few days in beautiful Asheville, NC than it is to box the sitar up and ship it by itself. So, if you are interested in seeing some behind-the-scenes stuff while turning your particular project into more of a special experience, do let me know. I love meeting each and every one of you!

– Harry

Where have I been?

Hey guys,

So, obviously I have not been posting on here. There’s a good reason; I bought a house! The entire downstairs square footage has now become Carbon Sitars’ workshop. It’s literally four times bigger than where I was working previously. The opportunity presented itself, and so my wife and I took the plunge. While it was an enormous amount of work which set back all of my projects, it has already paid off in the quality, capacity, and efficiency in which I can work. I love it, and am now rushing to get everything back on track.


There have been a few projects completed, one of which I have added to the sitar galleries: a custom electric sitar which features some reclaimed mahogany I stumbled upon a few months ago:



So, I shall promise to commit to updating the feed more often soon, as I have many more things to share with you all. I hope to hear from you soon!


The Insular Sitar

This is a longer-term project, and will take many months and hundreds of hours to complete. This sitar was commissioned to have a look similar to the Insular style of illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages, more specifically, the Book of Kells:



I was more than happy to oblige. I have always been fascinated by this style of art, and the chance to combine it with my passion was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Right now, I am in the layout phase, deciding where everything will go:



With these kind of projects, I’ve found that it’s easier to plan this part of it on paper rather than a computer. Because the majority of the sitar will be hand painted, it really comes quite naturally to plan it out with good ‘ole pencil and paper. In researching the style, I found that the monks would often carefully plan out the design on a wax tablet, making a bigger version which would then be copied meticulously onto the vellum at a sometimes minuscule scale. While the finished products have a sort of twisting and organic quality to them, most were laid out and measured using sophisticated geometric concepts.

After I have completed the basic layout, I will do a test run on a wooden top I have carved out, just for this purpose. I will use it to test the final design, as well as the paints. Gouache will be used for the illuminated parts, along with 24k gold paint. The wood underneath will be visible in parts, which will be clear coated before the paint is applied. This will give the effect that the designs are floating above the surface, and make it more luminous looking.

I will post more blog entries as this progresses. As this will take as long, if not longer than a real illuminated page, you will get to see a very slow progression towards the finished sitar over the next few months.

Interesting fact of the day

Fact: market research shows that buyers of cheap musical instruments actually spend more than the average player because of repairs and replacement instruments. They are actually more likely to continue buying cheap models, resulting in a vicious cycle. They can sometimes own two or three times as many instruments over their lifetime as players who acquire a satisfactory quality instrument.

The old saying, “Buying cheap is expensive” definitely holds up.