We have tried and experimented with total dedication to take instrument making to new & vast dimensions. This is due to the blessings & guidance from our respected musicians.
Indian instruments belong to a tradition dipped in antiquity. It dates back to the Veena of Saraswati, Bansuri of Krishna and Damru of Shiva, corresponding to modern classifications of musical instruments under string,wind & percussions respectively.
The journey of 'Rikhi Ram Musical Co.' started with founder Late Pt. Rikhi Ram, who was a great musicians and one of the best known musical instrument maker. Pt. Rikhi Ram's father Pt. Gobind Ram was also a musician and had inclinations towards making musical instruments and so manufacturing of musical instruments started in the family 85 years ago. Pt. Rikhi Ram learnt sitar playing from eminent musician Abdul Harim Poonchwala.
Late Pt. Bishan Dass Late Pt. Bishan Dass followed in his father's footsteps and started learning sitar at a very tender age under the guidance and supervision of his father. Later, he became a disciple of world renowed sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar. He also worked in the maintainance cell of A.I.R. During his tenor at A.I.R he got associated with great musicians like Ustad Allauddin Khan, Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pt.Ravi Shankar and many others. From these great Ustads Bishan learnt that the primal value of a good instrument was its tonal quality. They would often discuss these aspects of an instrument and give him useful hints. "This extra interest fired my imagination and aroused in me the urge to produce quality instruments for the maestros" says Late Pt. Bishan Dass.
The transistor sitar was the first of its kind & developed in 1962. During that era, the amplification system was not that advanced & the sitarist was always struggling to get the desired sound as at times the microphones and P.A. system was not up to their satisfaction. My father, a sitarist & maker as well, thought of this trouble shooting & went on to make the first amplified sitar. This sitar had a transistorised amplifier in the main tumba with volume & tone control and on the other end of the sitar an in-built speaker was installed. Therefore the dependence on the microphone, monitor & sound engineer was avoided. Pt. Ravi Shankar, his guru performed on this sitar in the year 1964 at Sapru House in New Delhi & this was a complete Classical Concert. Pt.ji also announced about my father’s creation in his concert. Later Ust. Vilayat Khan also performed on this sitar.
The musical instruments built at Rikhi Ram by Ajay are carefully crafted from raw timber into a master piece, wafting out beautiful & rich sound and tone.
There are many factors involved in building a fine quality musical instrument, starting from the seasoning of wood. The best way of seasoning the wood is the natural process by leaving the wood for seasoning for 3 to 4 years for semi-professional models and average 10 yrs for professional models.
After seasoning the wood the most important aspect we keep in mind is to put in our 3 generations of expertise of workmanship in crafting out the best musical instrument whether the strings, wind or percussion instrument.
Among the string instruments, the sitar is the most complex & popular instrument. We were the first ones to categorize & standardize the sitar models according to the specifications decided along with the great maestros. Earlier Pt. Ravi Shankar style sitar and Ustad Vilayat Khan style sitars were the two styles made by us. Now recently we have standardized & started making Pt. Nikhil Banerjee and Ustad Shahid Parvez style sitars also.
The body structure of sitar & other string instruments is made according to a carefully designed measurement as per different styles. The measurements are very important & the seasoning of the wood goes hand in hand to produce a good tonal sound instrument.