Would you buy a bansuri for Rs. 10,000?

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Do you think exorbitantly priced bansuri-s made by some famous people are worth the money?

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Would you buy a bansuri for Rs. 10,000?

Postby manu » Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:48 pm

Some people sell bansuri-s at exorbitant prices. I've always wondered if there is any real difference in a bansuri made by someone who has a big name and one made by a good artist who is not that famous. What are your views on this?
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Postby Nikolay » Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:16 pm

It depends. For example, when I first bought my acoustic guitar, the price ranges were 100-5000 $. I decided to give 300$ for it. At this stage, I was not able to see the difference between diferent Guitars. But now when I am used to play my Guitar I can see the big difference between a guitar for 100$ and such for 5000$.

So, for me it is stupid to buy the most expensive instrument if you have never played such. But when you are professional player then It is not so stupid decision. But this is of course, if the price corresponds to the quality.

The Guitar is complicated instruments build from different parts. So it is normal for the price to be in such big ranges. And it depends mostly of the materials. But the Bansuri is very simple instrument and I think it is not normal to have so big price oscillations. But of course, I can not judge before I am able to compare the bansuris of the different makers.
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Postby bodhialok » Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:19 pm

I agree with Nikolay. I started with 200$ guitar and after couple of years, bought a much more expensive Fender Strat. And I am still eyeing some more fancy guitars. Sky is the limit!!!

Still I voted no. Though I may change my mind in future after couple years of playing.. :wink:
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Postby manu » Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:27 am

I think making a bansuri is an art in itself and it all depends on the craftsman's skill and experience. A bansuri is not made in a factory; so just because it is highly priced does not imply it is a good instrument.
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Postby talasiga » Wed May 23, 2007 8:59 pm

We should remember that bansuri has its origins as a folk instrument,
an instrument made from a natural material easily procured
and accessible to all including the so called lowliest.

A good bansuri will be in tune with itself, will have a clean cork and will have nicely cut tone holes and mouth holes, be treated with appropriate oil/s in its making and will be tied with string at the ends to protect it from cracking. None of this should involve that much in expenditure for the maker. A professional bansuri should be in concert pitch and the current universal standard since about 1970 is A440 hertz. Thats not difficult either for a skilled maker. But the cost is not just about material it is about rewarding expertise and supporting the maker by paying for his or her time.

So what is 10,000 rupees - thats about $300 australian or US$250 roughly, isn't it? i Is that expensive for an E Sa bansuri ? Only yesterday I spent $300 on a new starter motor for my car and this is only going to last me 4 years. $300 is not too much money in Australia for a large, clean, well made, well tuned flute. (I do get worried though when a small C# bansuri can cost $165.)

However, what is reasonable by overseas standards may not be reasonable by Indian standards. I think it is the fad and fashion for bansuri in the West that has caused this price hike (even though I am not complaining about the price). I say fad because most in the West seem obsessed by the idea that bansuri = the style of just one player they have heard and want to imitate that player clonelike and just about every famous bansuri maker claims to make flutes for that player.

I would like to think that the high price of bansuris these days
is a strategy to put people off becoming bansuri players on whimsy.
Of course, imagining such things makes me feel happier about the world. We all need our little fantasies, don't we?

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Postby jalaj » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:39 pm

Bansuri is a simple yet such a celestial instrument and as i know it is really celestial as this is the instrument which remains always in our beloved lord krshna's hands then also i have seen local bansuri maker with a bit of experience can make a equally good bansuri so price is unreasonable they want to exploit the westerners(they also want to be looted thats why they pay so heavy price) with them us Indians also.
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I Don't think so

Postby Mohammed » Fri May 16, 2008 12:05 pm

First of all, I am dissapointed with some of the comments on this thread...they seem a touch prejudiced (with regard to "westerners")

Now, whether a Bansuri is worth 10,000 rs or not- I do not think so.

Fundamentally, all a decent bansuri needs to do is be in tune (the details were elaborated upon earlier). If you will notice, most of the bansuri players on the street are using very badly made ones (in comparsion to the ones used by Pandits), and yet it sounds beautiful.

I would not spend 10,000. I would not recommend anyone spend more than 2,000 rs on a bansuri. I have collected bansuris from 3 different renowned makers, several from small shops, and a few from countries such as Bangladesh. In all honesty, apart from the looks, there is not much difference. The sound is more or less the same. As I said- it is the skill of the player that is the main factor- I have been playing for quite a few years now.

The only time I would buy a 10,000 rs bansuri is if I have been playing for several years, and develop such expertise that playing that bansuri feels exceptional. If Pandit Hariprasad wishes to spend 10,000 rs on a bansuri, no one in their right mind will object, given that he is an expert.

I think the comparion with the guitar is both appropriate and inappropriate. It is appropriate because there is a lot of consumerism and brand consiousness with guitars- Ibanez, Gibson etc. When I know for a fact that there are several other guitars of higher quality in different brands (in a given price range, say 2000 or 3000 dollars). It seems that is where the Bansuri world is headed- with an obsession with bansuris made by Dhotre, or Gujar, or Thakur, or even Ram Ashish (this is by no means an exaustive list). I mean no disrespect to the bansuri crafters, but I wonder if the people who purchase them are all skilled enough to extract the expertise of the well crafted bansuris?

Secondly, the guitar comparison is INappropriate because a bansuri and a guitar are very different instruments. There is little difference between a "decent" bansuri (that is playable and the notes distinguishable) and an excellent one; while there is a gulf of difference between a "decent" guitar and an excellent one- just like with the violin, piano, etc. This is probably because they are more complex instruments.

I want to conclude on a positive note: having suffered from the same consumerist obsession myself, and having spent over 500 dollars on various "designer" bansuris, I would warn everybody: develop your skill first. ANY decent bansuri will do, even a 200rs one in a shop, in fact my favorite bansuri cost about 125rs when I bought it. For thousands of years we have lived without designer bansuris, and made beautiful music, I presume we can continue to do so as long as we remember to stress on the depth of our talents not the beauty of our instruments.
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Re: Would you buy a bansuri for Rs. 10,000?

Postby craigaio » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:45 pm

I have tried a lot of bansuris - both cheap and professional ones and I have to say I can easily tell the difference between an expensive and a cheap one.

Recently I went to a shop in London that sells cheap bansuris, I picked them up and played them and cringed because they sounded so bad and terribly out of tune.
You can sometimes find ones that are not bad and that do play reasonably well and in tune though, but if you are a beginner I would recommend getting an expert to go with you who can select a good flute for you. If a flute is out of tune, your ear will get used to playing out of tune!

I think some makers charge too much for their flutes such as Anubodh who is very very overpriced and in my opinion his flutes are no better than the professional makers that sell flutes at half of the price he charges.

Harsh Wardhan also charges a lot for his flutes - too much in my opinion - however the price for his larger flutes is more justified that those from Anubodh. Harsh Wardhan's flutes are beautifully made and the bamboo seems to be unique and has a unique sound - in my opinion.
Having said that, I don't like his smaller flutes as much - just the larger ones.

In conclusion, I would say that some of those prices flute makers charge are not justified - like Anubodh's. On the other hand, Anubodh lives in the USA where cost of living is higher, so he must have higher prices in order to make a living from his work. Harsh Wardhan on the other hand is probably just greedy, charging similar prices to Anubodh but enjoying the lower cost of living in India.

I must say that I would have bought the majority of my flutes from Harsh Wardhan if his prices were lower, so in many respects, I imagine Harsh Wardhan loses a lot of business for his prices - if he lowered them just a little he would have more business. So for now, his flutes are a luxury!

I think it is worth spending more money for a professional flute without a doubt, even if you are a beginner (why tune your ears to a flute that is out of tune?)
I respect makers for their hard work and expertise, but I think a handful of makers charge too much - forgetting that after all, as beautiful as the instrument may be, it is just a piece of bamboo!
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