Frequently Asked Questions
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I care about the sound only. What do they sound like?
They sound like these examples found on the media page
Why do they cost more than an Indian-made sitar?
Many factors go into the price of a musical instrument: cost of materials, labor, country of origin and cost of living, the reputation of the maker, supply and demand, custom options, and on and on. Considering all of those factors, we have succeeded in making instruments which are very affordable for an American boutique shop, and yet competitive with the more costly and famous Indian makers. For the features that set Carbon Sitars apart see our features page.
Do they stay in tune forever?
No. While all of the tuners we use are more stable than the average sitar, you will still need to check the tuning before practicing or performing (a good habit to have anyways). All stringed musical instruments require tuning. The finest Steinway concert grand piano, which doesn’t even get its strings yanked to extreme pitch bends like a sitar, will require tuning before a major concert. Building quality tuners is only a small fraction of keeping an instrument in tune. Metal strings stretch out, they expand and contract with the temperature, and weaken over time. Trust us; if someone comes along and invents a string which never goes out of tune, we will be the first ones to try them out!
Are they indestructible?
No. Our sitars can survive extreme temperatures, can live through baggage handlers and shippers throwing them around, floods, and more bumps and bruises than a traditional sitar, but if you take a hammer to one or throw it off a building, something is going to break. Treat it with respect, and it will outlive all of us by countless generations. In the event that something genuinely fails without any sign of abuse, we have a limited lifetime warranty to take care of you and your sitar, which should give you peace of mind.
Will you make me something which is not offered in your current models?
Generally, no. However, if it’s a project that is very compelling and with the right budget, anything is possible. Don’t be afraid to ask, but expect to spend at least 3-8 times the average cost for such a project. It’s worth a shot; sometimes we say yes!
Can you make me one which looks and sounds identical to my vintage [famous name] sitar, but out of carbon fiber and also have it function better than the original?
It’s not possible. Our sitars sound like they were made by Carbon Sitars. Hiren Roys sound like they were made by Hiren Roy. If you have a classic instrument which you love and it has the most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard, hold onto it and cherish it forever. Nothing will replace it. Generally when the stakes get this high and the margin of error that narrow on a potential project, we will turn it down. We’re here to build solid and good-sounding sitars for players who can appreciate what carbon fiber can do. We’re not here to replace the work of the masters we admire and who continually inspire us to keep going in our own direction, just as they did.
Why is the wait so long?
Harry builds 98% of the parts in his shop by himself. He has tried to find a balance between giving each and every sitar the attention it deserves, and making them in a reasonable amount of time. There are limits to how many instruments an individual can produce in a year without resorting to mass-manufacturing processes or giving up any and all time for living life outside of instrument building. Life is all about balance, and two years is the balance we’ve found that works for both us and our customers. Any less work and business is difficult to sustain; any more will test the patience of all but the most hardy Zen masters.
But why doesn’t Harry just hire a bunch of assistants to help out and make them quicker?
Many luthiers dream of one day owning an operation where many skilled workers are dutifully working at their benches to crank out quality instruments with their name on it. Some are content to do it all themselves. Harry hasn’t ruled out the possibility of one day expanding, but feels it should happen when the time is right. Harry works towards slow and steady progress on the quality of the sitars and the business, and little else right now. It’s a continuous learning process to discover what works and what doesn’t for all of us.
Do you do endorsement deals i.e., will you give me one for free because I am ______?
No, sorry. Both pros and amateurs alike pay for the instruments. It’s a simple relationship, and simple is good. Think of it another way: if you have never played one of our instruments before, how can you endorse that? Are you merely looking for free gear? What if we send you one for free or at a discount, but you wind up hating it? You would be required to promote us and play it anyways, because you are now employed by Carbon Sitars for a certain amount of time under a legally-binding contract. What if you simply want to use another instrument for a gig or recording, but can’t because of a contract? What if you fail to deliver results to us? That sounds icky. No one would walk away from that situation feeling good. It happens all the time in the industry, and we feel artists should play an instrument because they like it, not because they are paid to do so.
I want to come visit the shop, see how they’re made, and try them out. Can I?
We’ve met so many wonderful people through the years: people who just wanted to see the work for themselves, people who gave fantastic feedback and support, and many customers who have travelled from all over the world to pick up their finished sitars. Like all good things, it eventually came to an end. As much as hanging out and talking about sitars is fun, it ultimately proved too risky to invite the public into a shop full of dangerous tools and materials to do so. For now, only customers who are picking up an instrument can schedule a day to do that. If one day we ever have a showcase or storefront, you will be more than welcome to come hang out, safely away from the sharp objects and dusty environment!
I need help with my DIY project, and there are very few resources to explain how to work on a sitar. Can I pick your brain? It will only take you a minute to help me.
We get these emails more often than you think, and it takes more time to help someone than it seems. It’s nearly impossible to write a short email describing how to do something which might take years of practice and a shop full of specialized tools to do well to someone who has possibly never attempted it before. Look at it this way: if you were a customer who waited a very long time to get a sitar from us and discovered Harry was spending his time helping people with DIY projects instead of building instruments for paying customers, you might be furious. No one would fault you for feeling that way because you paid good money for that same knowledge. We kindly ask that you refrain from contacting us regarding help with third-party instruments and DIY builds. As much as we would love to help each and every person in the sitar world with fixing up an instrument, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to make everyone happy.
Do you do repair work?
While our sitars are covered by a limited-lifetime warranty, we do not service third-party instruments. We recommend taking your third-party sitar to a luthier who specializes in making repairs to Indian stringed musical instruments.
Do you sell parts?
No. Harry used to, but found the time and expense of making and keeping an inventory of extra parts for sale was better spent merely using those parts for his own builds. For every bridge or set of frets sold, it was extra time he would have to spend making more down the road for commissions. Manufacturing and selling standard parts for Fender guitars is a separate business than the luthiers working at their Custom Shop and for good reason: they are building whole guitars for people; not the parts. For a boutique business the problem becomes especially difficult because you are selling the very parts you need right now for the instrument sitting on the bench!
I can’t afford one and/or don’t feel like waiting. Can you tell me the names of some of your competitors who also build good sitars, but faster and cheaper? I’m shopping around and need help.
You will not find another maker of carbon fiber sitars anywhere in the world, let alone one who does it cheaper and faster. We are peerless in that regard; anyone who has tried to do something similar has failed. If you are looking at a traditional sitar as an alternative, be prepared to make a laundry list of compromises. The good makers will also have long wait lists. A nice sounding sitar from a well-known maker can be more expensive, not less. It is impossible to find a traditional sitar made faster and cheaper which has all of the same benefits found on our features page. Ordering a custom sitar from an Indian maker can be a gamble; it doesn’t guarantee that it will sound good and function like it should. It only guarantees it will look like what you described. Any of them can make good instruments and bad instruments. You can roll the dice and who knows, maybe you will win. Depends on how lucky you feel.
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Ordering Process


Talk about your ideas with our sales representative, and receive a quote.


Place a 50% deposit down to secure your place in the build queue.


There is a two-year wait for instruments.


Final design decisions are made, and the instrument is built.


When the instrument is completed remaining payment and shipping will be calculated and invoiced.


Your sitar can be shipped anywhere in the world.
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