I'm interested in altering my guitar to give it a more sitar-like sound. I've stumbled upon this video below

and am wondering how dangerous this would be to my guitar. Would it take damage if I find a bridge that barely touches the strings. Are there better ways to approach this? Thanks.

  • 3
    electro-harmonix ravish sitar pedal, if you're willing to plug in.
    – Dave
    May 9 '14 at 14:09
  • There is such a thing as a conventional electric guitar with a sitar-like bridge and sympathetic strings. They first came out in the early 70s; several manufacturers make them today, and many models are affordable. Google "electric sitar". Look for models by Rogue, Italia, Agile, and Jerry Jones.
    – user1044
    May 9 '14 at 21:00
  • I did find the ravish sitar pedal, looks interesting.. And I prefer to stick with my own guitar, but thanks for the recommendations for electric guitar sitars.
    – thank_you
    May 9 '14 at 22:41
  • Line 6 Variax. It'll model anything ;)
    – Kyle
    May 26 '14 at 11:06

Guy seriously detunes his strings with that, so I wouldn't worry too much about the damage with this technique.


You are not going to be able to get the sound you want from your stock acoustic guitar.

There are two particularly important elements that contribute to the sound of a sitar. One is the unique design of the bridge, which creates a buzzing sound, and the other is the presence of many additional sympathetic strings. In order to get this sound from an acoustic guitar, you would have to dramatically rebuild it from inside out. This would not be practical.

There are professional Indian musicians who have done this with a guitar. Here are some pictures I found in a Google search.

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All those extra tuning pegs are for the extra strings that have been added, and the guitar had to be massively reinforced to handle the tension of all those extra strings. Also, these examples are usually played with a bottleneck slide, not fingered like a conventional sitar or guitar.

It would be much more practical for you to spend US $700 or so on an electric sitar guitar, such as the Italia Modena Sitar model. Notice that it has 12 extra sympathetic strings that are not connected to the neck of the guitar (the instrument has 18 strings in all), and that it has the special buzzing sitar-like bridge under the main six strings.

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The best way I've seen to construct a sitar guitar is to buy a cheap used 12 string guitar, even one with the neck slightly twisted, and then super-glue a rectangular piece of bone or plastic to the bone bridge so that the bone piece causes the strings to buzz but not dampen.

If you try this method try to find a cheap used twelve string banjo. Sitar banjos sound awesome!

Trading Musician modified used 12-string guitars and banjos with slightly twisted necks in this way and sold them at their shop, although I've never seen them post one online. You might want to call them to see if they have one or if they'll sell you the bridge piece you need to get the sound.

  • Darn it - I think I may have just posted a duplicate question, but I do talk about the bansitar there.
    – dumbledad
    Nov 2 '14 at 12:35

Try wrapping one or two small (2cm x 2cm ?) bits of aluminium foil around each string, close to the bridge. Make sure the alfoil is loose enough to slide up and down the string but not so loose as to fall off. I came up with this when experimenting with my guitar a few years ago and found that it gave me a very cheap imitation of a sitar's buzz. The approach used in the video you posted is probably better, but this technique is still worth a try.

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