A nice article in yesterday's Times of India -
The full unedited article is as follows-
1. Tell us something about your early life. How you came to music?
Ans- i started playing guitar at a very early age as my father arranged for me to get guitar lessons at age 4 from a music teacher who would come to our house every weekend and teach basic guitar,hence i was already accustomed to the instrument early on.
2. What instrument or genre of music you started with?
Ans-i started on the acoustic guitar.At ages 4-10 my favorites were The Beatles,Trini Lopez and Neil Diamond,i liked country and folk music a lot and was a huge fan of Bob Dylan,Anne Murray and John Denver too.
3. What music you play now?
Ans-i would term the music i play as World Rock as it is a hybrid form comprising world music elements yet with the power and drive of rock music,over the years i have been exposed to various genres of music which have unconsciously slipped into my playing style and it reflects in our compositions too.Jazz,Funk,Folk,Country and Blue grass along with Indian folk music like Baul,Bhatiyali, Bihu and Indian Classical are the genres that you will find hints of in our music too.
4. Why you felt the urge to make this new instrument?
Ans-i felt the need for a special instrument because i found myself struggling in live shows to execute the multitude of sounds that are present on our albums,our albums feature Indian instruments prominently alongside Western instruments hence it was becoming quite a juggling act to switch instruments on the fly hence i designed an instrument that could do it all and named it the GUITARA.
5.tell us the story of making it.
Ans-over the years whenever the need to repair a guitar would arise i would rush to Joybani Music situated in Rashbehari as they were very competent at repairing imported instruments which were often very rare and expensive,hence i had a good relationship with the team there.When the idea came to me to design an instrument that could do it all i thought of them as they were the most competent at that moment in time.i drew out a blueprint of a guitar that would feature a Bengali fretless DOTARA neck and a normal Modern Strat style guitar neck,which would then be attached to a compact body but the upper bout of the body would be hollowed out to allow for a goat skin head to be attached to give the DOTARA its tone,the lower bout featured an array of pickups to electrify the sound and a master switch to chose between a DOTARA and a GUITAR.Wood was procured by Joybani and the guitar was executed over a period of three months much to my delight solving the problem of having both Indian and Western sounds on tap from a single instrument.
6.How it is different from the traditional ones?
ans-first of all its a double neck guitar unlike a traditional guitar which has only one neck,secondly it has a goat skin head on the top bout to give the percussive tonal edge to the DOTARA,secondly it has pickups for both the guitar part as well as the Dotara part,thirdly the DOTARA neck is fretless like a Sarod hence it requires immense accuracy and skill to play it,the Dotara part has four strings and the guitar part has six strings,the body is made of maple wood unlike standard guitars that are made of Ash or Alder.it has a master selector switch that choses either DORARA mode or GUITAR mode.
7. From where you made it?
ans it was made for me by JOYBANI GUITARS by the father son team of Hrishikesh and Tarak Biswas. they have built several more one which is really unusual is the solid body electro acoustic and another more recent project which was a fusion of a Gibson SG style body with a Strat type neck,very very exciting guitars and very satisfying to play.
8.. What material (wood, strings, leather) has been used?
ans-already mentioned above
9. The cost-it cost me back in 2004 a sum total of 25000 Indian rupess