Through the eyes of the average North American, the Mohan Veena appears to look like a modified acoustic guitar with a generous sprinkling of the Sitar added in for good measure. At first glance most guitarists wouldn’t know whether to look for the strap on this thing or just lay it across their laps.
The name, Mohan Veena, is drawn from it’s creator Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.
The basic form of the Mohan Veena is taken from a modified Archtop acoustic guitar. It consists of 20 strings, three strummed and used for melody, five drone strings strung to the peghead, and twelve sympathetic strings strung to the tuners mounted on the side of the neck. The next part of the instrument is directly taken from the sitar.
Pandit took a tumba (made up of your basic gourd) then attached it along the back of the neck with screws. The neck itself is hollow. This allows the sound travel up from the body towards the head of it. By having a greater hollowed out, wooden area, which gives the sound more area to vibrate, it helps create a much warmer, distinctive and improved sound quality to it.
You hold the Mohan veena just the same as you would any slide guitar, on your lap. The strings on the Mohan Veena has excess of around 500 pounds of stress between the tuning pegs and the lower body of it, when it is properly tuned that is. Also, the player uses metal finger picks and a metal slide to create a very interesting musical sound.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have an old sitar upstairs, but it has definitely seen better days. The bottom of the sitar is beginning to split so I have to keep the strings loose on it, the screws that hold the tumba or the gourd on the neck needs attention, but it still looks awesome!
I just became aware of how beautiful this multi-stringed wonder is today and I felt that I had to share it with someone! So enjoy. If you’re curious about what this instrument looks like, please take a peek at this video.
Keep on Mohan Veenan’!