What about all of those cheap sitars for sale on sites like ebay or amazon?

If you are new to the sitar or are simply in the market for a new one, you have undoubtedly encountered places which sell sitars for very intriguing prices. The old saying, "If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is." definitely applies here. These instruments are often mass-manufactured by companies who specialize in making cheap tourist products for export and absolutely KNOW NOTHING about musical instrument making. These instruments are not intended to be functional; they are really only made to look good enough to sell. Those fancy carvings and penwork etchings act as a sort of "dazzle camouflage," to hide the serious flaws in workmanship that often accompany these instruments. Because the demand for sitars abroad continues to rise, these manufacturers are attempting to profit by cynically selling these instruments to unsuspecting buyers.

If you choose to purchase one of these as your first instrument, expect to be seriously disappointed. They are often barely playable, and will not withstand a regular regimen of practice. These instruments are essentially props and are not made to use.

The overwhelming majority of sitar students have purchased their instruments from well-known makers, and pay an average of 2-3 times the amount these sitars go for to get an instrument that will be both playable and last at least the first few years of playing. Do not be fooled; there is no such thing as a cheap sitar, and despite the appearance that they are available everywhere, they all come from the same few sources and NO ONE ACTUALLY BUYS THEM. Like violin or cello luthiers, the complexity of making a nice sitar takes years of dedication and practice, not to mention the many, many hours that go into making just one, and makers are going to charge exactly what their instruments are worth.

Another old saying is perhaps the wisest: "Buy cheap, buy twice."

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