Grammy winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhat, synonymous with the ‘Mohan veena’, began his career as a sitar artist. He then decided to experiment with the slide guitar and would constantly suggest various improvements on the string arrangement and placements to his instrument maker, Mahavir, in Jaipur. Mahavir would ask him to stick to the sitar and not bother with innovation! Pandit-ji was looking for the ideal steel rod that would slide noiselessly on his strings and found it in his old Vespa scooter! He still has the rod although the scooter is long gone. The current ‘Mohan veena’ is his own design and is specially made in Kolakata with a thin top wood that is responsible for the rich resonance.
Updated: December 24, 2010 00:13 IST