Recently, I purchased an authentic sitar (Rikhi Ram Grand Pro Tun) hand-made in India. What a difficult instrument to learn. Once I was able to get it in tune and learn some basic notes and strumming (or striking) patterns, I quickly saw the beauty of the tone.
However, the sitar is an instrument of its own and takes years and years to master. I figured, since I was already good at guitar, how could I take the tone from a sitar, but use the guitar instead?
This was definitely a task. Once I realized that a guitar would never truely sound like a sitar, was I able to find some ways to get a similar idea of a sitar sound.
So there are a few things one can do to make their guitar sound like a sitar.
Doing it with Pedals:
There are actually two pedals on the market that I know of that turn your electric guitar into a sitar. Those would be the Ravish Sitar by ElectroHarmonix and Danelectro Sitar Swami. I’ve heard both of these pedals and found that neither really captured a sitar sound, rather they make their own sound altogether. Cool for experimenting none the less.
Doing it with Guitars:
This is the best way, as there are actually electric sitar guitars. Most notably the Jerry Jones Electric Sitar of the ’70s. These are rather expensive today, but Rogue and a few other companies made replicas for fairly cheap. If set up properly, these can sound very close to a sitar, but with a guitar twist.
You can actually buy a buzz bridge to install on your guitar, and if set up properly, you can get a pretty decent sound.
So to sum things up, I would say the Electric Sitar Guitar is the best way to go if you are looking for that sitar sound on the guitar.