Around once a week, I will get an enthusiastic email from a player who is very excited about our sitars, asking if we offer endorsement deals. We do not. Alembic, maker of some very nice guitars and basses, has summed up the reason very eloquently:
“The most successful artists can afford to pay for their instruments – but if we gave them endorsement deals the cost of those instruments would have to be recovered from customers who are far less able to afford it.”
We are acutely aware that our sitars are more than ones which can be found all over the Internet. Carbon fiber is an expensive material to work with, and there are many, many hours of work that go into each one. However, keep in mind that our prices are still around what you would pay from one of the finest makers such as Sanjay Sharma at Rikhi Ram. When compared to the $50,000 price tag of a professional quality violin or cello, sitars are a downright bargain, despite taking just as long to make and requiring the same amount of skill.
The sitar market has been depressed by the mass manufacturers who churn out thousands of cheap and/or useless instruments at rock bottom prices, and has driven many families who have been doing it for generations out of business. When you buy from a shop willing to undercut everyone else just to make the sale, it’s another nail in the coffin for the sitar market. It’s bad enough that there are literally a handful of shops left who can even make a playable instrument. Soon, they too could be driven to close their doors forever. If you really love the instrument, support the makers left that are dedicated to this esoteric art and buy a good one from them. You really could make the difference between a maker who can afford their rent, and one who must close the shop.
Quality instruments are made with great care, and always cost more. I’ve never yet found a sitar maker who could provide the finest quality and best service for the lowest price. Something to ponder: for your long-term happiness, which of those three would you be most willing to give up? Quality? Service? Or low price?”