I'm trying to play the acoustic guitar in the classical Indian style which involves a lot of string bending to go up 1-4 semitones. My question is whether there's a difference in string tension that makes it easier to do on sitar/veena so that I don't injure my left hand mimicking that on the guitar. I've never played those instruments but they have more depressed frets and seem to be more easy to pull the string on.

My tuning is B-E-B-E-B-E and I'm using steel-stringed guitars.

1 Answer 1


Sitars do have lower string tension, and can commonly bend a whole fifth, 7 semitones. They're also designed so you can bend multiple strings at once.

Guitar strings only allow for bends of 2 or 3 semitones in most positions.

The larger sitar bends can be mimicked on guitar by sliding up and down the fretboard.

Check out John McLaughlin's solos on this recording, playing a custom steel string with scalloped frets and sympathetic strings:

See this article for more suggestions on playing Indian styles on guitar: https://www.musicradar.com/how-to/how-to-integrate-indian-music-techniques-in-your-guitar-playing

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.