The Surshringar is a beautiful instrument both visually and sonically. It’s name is derived from the Sanskrit words sur (pitch) and shringar (love). True to its name, it is certainly an instrument for those whole love the beautiful tones of melody.
Although its sound and playing style are dramatically different, the surshringar is often considered a bass sarod. Like the sarod, a surshringar has a fretless stainless steel fingerboard in which the player presses down on the strings with the nail of their finger. Most surshringars have 9 strings (6 played and 3 chikari strings). However, some have tarab (passive resonating) strings while others have some additional fingered strings.
Typically, a surshringar has a wood neck, stainless steel fingerboard, gourd body, and a solid wood top (often tun or teak are used). The bridge is typically made of antler or acetyl (plastic) and resembles the bridge of a sitar, surbahar, or veena. In order to get the “Dhrupad sound”, rich in the cascading overtones characteristic of Indian Classical Music, it is necessary to file the bridge precisely until the javari (the cascading overtones) are as prominent as the player desires them to be. Instruments with a lot of cascading overtones are said to have open javari while those with very few cascading overtones have closed javari.
Only the surshringar, surbarhar, and veena are capable of rendering the low, sustained pitches necessary for Dhrupad. Unlike the other two, the surshringar is also capable of delivering sweet notes that are high in pitch. Of the three, the surshringar has the most played strings making it possible to render beautiful intervals, chords and drones. In addition, due to the fretless stainless steel fingerboard, the surshringar has the capacity to easily emit meend (glissando) that is 2 octaves long.