Building a 16/15 Indian Santoor

After having built a number of aspects of Indian Santoors, I finally got a commission to build a complete instrument based on a traditional Santoor. You can see photos of some traditional instruments here including the instrument I used as a guide (Kamaljit Ajima’s santoor). The instrument I finished (see above photo) accomplished the first three characteristics the customer desired but wasn’t quite the sound she was looking for; the level of sustain was excessive.

Desired Characteristics:

  • It had to look like a Santoor with specific traditional dimensions and be comfortable on a lap sitting cross legged with no support from a stand.
  • It had to have a specific weight, again for comfort on a lap and for travel.
  • It had to be built elegantly, with care and craftsmanship, as opposed to how Santoors in India are built.
  • It had to sound like a Santoor

As a result, changes will be made to this instrument.  One of the characteristics  that will probably be changed is going from  continuous bridges to chessman style individual bridges.


I still felt that the following information on the completed Santoor and shots of the process of building would be helpful to post. You can visit this page which has more photos of the finished Santoor as well as photos of steps of the process of building. I’ve also made available a PDF on Building a 16/15 Indian Santoor which includes some drawings and a more detailed description of the process. Although not complete, it is far more information than currently available on the web. If there are additions you’d like to contribute, send me an email. If you are interested in acquiring one of my Santoors, again contact me. Prices are here. Options to be discussed. Thanks