Early Badge Radha Krishna Sharma #364 Restoration
Updated: Sep 17
This instrument was a mess when we received it. Much of the main gourd had disintegrated from water damage. There were no bridges. The gullu was detached from the tabli and the tabli was detached from the tumba. Two main pegs were missing.
But the neck was arrow-straight and the neck joint was strong -- a perfect candidate for restoration.
The gourd was permeated with white mold. We treated it with full-strength bleach and let it dry completely for two day in direct sunlight.
In our shop, the gourd pieces were soaked in an alcohol-based shellac to remove any remaining moisture and to stiffen and strengthen the pumpkin.
The tumba was then fully rebuilt and the langot cleaned up with a die grinder. The portion of the gourd that was missing was filled with new material.
The tumba was then fully refinished.
New bridges were fabricated, as were two new matching pegs, all made of resin. The jawari material is fortified with polymers, making it very hard, yielding the sound of deer horn.
This sitar has a stunning striker and binding with black penwork on mother of pearl. We added mica to the bridges to complement the black-on-pearl.
We originally had planned to fit this instrument with a Rikhi Ram Gold Medalist replica jawari, but decided instead to replicate a bridge from another RKS of the same era after the structural work was done.
Here is the completed rebuild.
This sitar has a pleasing and unusual sound, much like Budhaditya Mukherjee's current instrument. Very few sitars have this character of sound. It was not what we expected at the start of the rebuild.
Only one Radha Krisha Sharma #364 has ever existed. Three weeks ago, it was destined to be stripped for parts and discarded. It is now good for another 60 years of playing.
This instrument is part of The Registry's Permanent Collection and is not for sale.