In recent years Ken Zuckerman has made significant contributions to the development of Indiaâ€™s traditional instruments through various innovations and inventions. The innovations include 1) the integration of precision geared tuners into the traditional pegs of the sarod and tanpura, 2) wooden resonators, which have increased the volume and tonal quality of the sarod and 3) a sarod bridge add-on which allows for micro adjustments of the bridge placement.
4) His recent invention, â€œShantiâ€, is the worldâ€™s first mechanical device which automatically plays an acoustic tanpura, giving both musicians and audiences the pure acoustic sound of the tanpura in both practice and performance settings.
1. Geared tuners
Planetary gears (4:1 ratio), implanted into the traditional sarod pegs
Finished pegs inserted into sarod. Special thanks to Daniel Bradley for finding a way to implant these planetary banjo tuners into the traditional sarod pegs and turn this idea into an elegant and superior tuning system!
2. Wooden resonators for the sarod
These resonators, made in different sizes and with a variety of woods, increase the volume and improve the tonal quality of the sarod.
Resonators made from a mixture of Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Pear and Rosewood. Thanks to Markus Schori and Rolf Joray for their contributions during the development and fabrication of these resonators.
This oversize resonator not only combines the unique sound qualities of 3 woods, but also has a brass horn inside to capture the higher frequencies. It increases the volume, bass, mid-range and high frequencies of the sarod! Special thanks to Rolf Joray for his untiring work during the fabrication and fine-tuning this resonator.
3. Sarod bridge micro-adjuster
The exact placement of the sarod bridge is critical to the sound of the instrument. Not only does a slight change in position influence the sound, but changes in temperature and humidity require additional changes in the positioning in order to achieve the optimum tone and clarity. I thought of several possible systems to simplify what had always been a cumbersome process of changing the position of the bridge, but it was Daniel Bradley who came up with the simplest and most effective solution.
Here is a close-up of the tiny screw which has been inserted into a hole drilled into the end pin of the sarod bridge. It is attached to the thread which holds the bridge in place.
Micro bridge adjuster – By using a screw driver, one can easily move the sarod bridge by either tightening (increasing the knots in the connecting thread), or loosening. A beveled point of contact between the screw and the post insures that it holds its position, and also makes it easy to make precise changes in the bridge placement. It works like a charm!
4 â€œShantiâ€, the worldâ€™s first mechanical device which automatically plays an acoustic tanpura, giving both musicians and audiences the pure acoustic sound of the tanpura in both practice and performance settings.
Indiaâ€™s venerable Tanpura – now with a great new twist!
The soothing sound of the Tanpura, Indiaâ€™s ancient stringed accompaniment instrument, provides a rich carpet of sound on which the musicians recreate the age old tradition of ragas and talas. In recent times many musicians have switched to electronic digital drone devices, which attempt to imitate the sound of a real tanpura. Although these devices are compact, convenient and do not require someone to play them, the sound they produce does not measure up to the real tanpura. But now there is an alternative: Shanti, the Automatic Acoustic Tanpura Player.
Now you can have the real sound of the Tanpura whenever and wherever you want.
Designed and manufactured in Switzerland by Ken Zuckerman and a team of european craftsmen. Protected by international patent laws. 2012 Patent Pending #61473718.