At Old Delhi Music, we are continuously working to source and deliver harmoniums that are of unparalleled quality. Recently, we have had the privilege of working with our friends at Bina in the development of these Concert Series harmoniums. We couldn't be happier with the results.
The Bina Swar Concert Series harmonium is a beautifully refined traditional standard harmonium. Built to uncommonly high standards, this harmonium features smooth playing action across 39 keys, and a sturdy, fluid feel in the bellows. Warm organ tones resonate beautifully through the softwood shell and interior case. A full sized wind chest produces long, even sustain through Bina "special" reeds, which are custom tuned in our shop.
Includes: - Padded Gig Bag - FREE SHIPPING within continental U.S. - One month FREE access at Bhakti Breakfast Club -- hundreds of harmonium classes to explore! - Expert tuning and refinement services completed at our shop in our Urbana, Illinois
- Weight: 20 lbs. - Dimensions: 22 x 11 x 12 in. - Color: Natural - Finish: Shellac - Exterior Construction: Pine - Interior Construction: Pine - Box Type: Standard - Key Construction: One-piece - Number of Keys: 39 - Reed type: Bina "special" reeds; Punjabi - Reed banks: 2 sets (Bass, Male) - Reed orientation: Horizontal - Stops: 5 - Drones: 4 - Coupler: none - Scale changer: none
SHIPPING: Your instrument will arrive safely, and if it doesn't, we'll take care of it. Our packing methods have ensured that over 99% of the instruments we ship arrive undamaged. Should things not go perfectly, we will get you a replacement, refund, part or whatever is necessary. No problem.
STORE: Old Delhi Music carefully curates a selection of only fine quality ethnic musical instruments. Our business is family owned and operated in Urbana, IL since 2010. For the back story, check out this video:
It's a shame when we receive harmoniums purchased elsewhere and have to bill someone a couple hundred dollars for the work we would have included for free...
Q: How long have you been doing this?
A: Since 2010.
Q: How'd you get started?
A: Our first "factory checked" shipment of harmoniums arrived needing some serious attention. Rather than selling bad products, we went to work learning how to make them to sound great and we've been improving at that ever since.
Q: So you know what you're doing?
A: Yup. We know how to bring just about any harmonium to it's full potential.
Q: Shouldn't that be the builders job?
A: The builders put the instruments together, and we mostly work with people who do that well. Our job is refinement- we coax the good sounds and feels out by manipulating this and that - scraping here, turning there. On a Kolkata-style box, that process can consume an entire day. On a standard twin reed, 3-4 hours is pretty typical. It's a process, but when you've drawn out all the goodness, it's totally worthwhile.
Q: But is it really practical to do this with each one?
A: Well, "The Harmonium Handbook" does say that fully retuning "an entire harmonium" (even a two reed) is impractical. But we do it anyway...every single day.
Q: Is it tedious?
A: Sure. But it's also fairly meditative, and the days go pretty fast.
Q: So it's worthwhile?
A: Absolutely. Taking an instrument that's "decent" to awesome in a few hours is good work. No question.
Q: I've shopped around, and your prices are pretty competitive. Given the level of service you're talking about, how do you do it?
A: We do pretty good volume, and we don't have a storefront, so we keep our expenses low.
Q: Any other competitive advantages to note?
A: Definitely. We are THE ONLY shop anywhere that offers custom, hand tuning services for ANY new two, three or four reed harmonium. Only one competitor offers a similar service, and that's only for a couple of their two reed models.
Q: But don't all the others claim to have A440 tuned harmoniums?
A: Many competitors advertise harmoniums that are "~A440" or "A440+/-...", but for true precision and accuracy, every single reed must be touched, allowed to settle, and refined until the tuning is stable. The process takes time, and it can't be rushed or sit too long in a warehouse waiting for eventual fulfillment. Quality, custom set up and tuning can ONLY be completed on a per-order basis, which means you'll have to wait a few extra days. It's NOT a service you can offer via Amazon Prime.
Q: Tell me about your tuning options?
A: We can do anything. But in general, we offer these three options:
- Equal tuning (Free): An Equal or Indian tuned instrument can be played with other instruments as long as they are tuned to match the harmonium. To complete this basic service, we determine roughly where the instrument is already settled out, which is typically higher than A440 and generally out of tune up and down the scale. Once we know about how it is generally pitched, we check and adjust each reed individually as needed and then match octaves along with common intervals. Altogether, it's a lot of small to medium adjustments and in the end, we have generally touched 75-100% of the reeds to get everything in tune. This is our standard approach.
- Concert Pitch / A440 tuning (Optional; fee varies): A Concert Pitch tuned harmonium will match the default tuning for Western Instruments, meaning this is a very versatile tuning choice. For this service, all reeds are retuned up and down to scale to correspond with Concert Pitch standard tuning where the middle A note resonates at 440hz. This service requires additional wait time since we have to first tune everything once, allow it to settle out for a day or so, and then go back through it again to make finer adjustments similar to what we do when Equal tuning. Only in this case, we are Equal tuning so that everything is pitched to correspond right with A440.
- Cosmic Pitch / A432 tuning (Optional; fee varies): A Cosmic A432 harmonium will work only in conjunction with other A432 tuned instruments. This is a newer service, and we offer this for only select harmoniums that handle this tuning well. With this service, all reeds are drastically retuned nearly a quarter tone below Concert Pitch to match a middle A resonating at 432hz., which is said to be a frequency that resonates in true harmony with the universe. This service takes a week+ to complete.
Q: Do you believe the hype about A432?
A: It does sound pretty deep and beautiful when it's done, but who knows...
Q: What aren't you guys good at?
A: We focus on the instruments, which means we often times lag on website updates. And social media is definitely a priority...
Q: So what's the best way to contact you if I have additional questions.
A: Give us a call or send an email.
While much of India is rapidly advancing, the Indian instrument manufacturing process remains very old school. From touch ups to tuning, much of what we do at Old Delhi Music is add a layer of quality control to an otherwise non-standardized production process.
We wrote THIS ARTICLE to ensure customers understand and might appreciate this vintage production style, the unique products we carry, and how we're working to ensure genuine quality, despite the odds. It's a quick read, and definitely worthwhile for anyone considering the purchase of a traditional Indian instrument.