2016 Edward Powell Wood-Body Sarod

Edward Powell is a builder of odd ethno-axe instruments, focusing on modernized adaptations of Indian folk instruments. This one is a take on his usual "wood-bodied" (or, rather, wood-soundboard) sarod with a mix of Weissenborn-ish Hawaiian guitar features in the body and, thankee-gods, full geared tuners for all of the drone strings to boot. He built it to include two nuts -- one lower for "fretted" fingering and one higher for "slide" playing in the Hawaiian or Hindustani fashion (see: mohan veena). The videos above give a rudimentary idea of both, though there's a video of the maker playing it in a more-traditional fashion here.

All I did was set it up a little, add some small silver position stickers to the edge of the fingerboard (they're removable), and retune it. The owner/consignor had it tuned-up to D and it uses what look like sitar strings. The "playing" strings are in a pattern of 1-1-1-2 low to high and I have it tuned D-F#-A-D at the moment, though I think something more like C-G-C-G or D-A-D-A would be closer to traditional voicings. There are a pair of high "banjo-style" drones to the edge of these strings tuned to a high D. Below that are the drones that run on the secondary "sitar-style" bridge. They were previously tuned to all sorts of flats and sharps for sympathetic use, but I retuned them to the notes of the D-major scale ascending instead and it seems to harmonize a lot better that way.

Annnyhow, it's ready to go and sounds/plays well in either variant. One has to be pretty careful with the bar if played in Hawaiian position, however, as the shafts from the drone tuners are high enough to get knocked by the bar or hand with vigorous playing.

Repairs included: setup, minor adjustments.

Made by: Edward Powell

Model: wood-body sarod

Top wood: solid cedar

Back & sides wood: solid mahogany

Bridge: ebony

Fretboard: metal

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret: N/A (adjustable)
String gauges: sitar strings

Neck shape: flattened/round-corners wedge

Board radius: flat

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: N/A

Scale length: 25 1/4"

Nut width: 2"

Body length: 28 1/2"

Body width: 13"

Body depth: 4"

Weight: 4 lb 12 oz

Condition notes: it's essentially new save that there's a little finish blem (from heat/gigbag?) on the center of the back. It's not obvious.

It comes with: a gigbag and some extra sitar strings and an extra bridge. Currently it's setup with the low nut and the high nut's in the case.


McComber said…
Jake! This is an instrument to travel forward or backward in time with - It is lovely! Yet another instrument to long for...