The rudra-vina has four melodic strings that pass over 24 frets.
Two or three rhythmical strings (chikari) and one drone
string (laraj) are stretched out along the length of the tube, arranged on both sides of the frets.
Unlike the alignment adopted with the large majority of plucked and bowed instruments, in the rudra-vina the thickest
string (karaj) is found nearest to the outside edge of the fingerboard, the others following
in descending order.
This arrangement allows the slenderest string (nayaki), situated near the inside edge of the fingerboard, to be stretched
during glissando (mind) across the width of the fret and thus to get a variation in pitch, which could reach a fifth.
According to the size of the instrument,
the pitch of the keynote (Sa) would be located between Fa3 and La b 3.
Laraj : copper, brass or bronze, Ø : 0.50 to 0.60 mm
Karaj : copper, brass or bronze, Ø : 0.90 to 1.20 mm
Pa : copper, brass or bronze, Ø : 0.70 to 0.90 mm
Sa : copper, brass or bronze, Ø : 0.55 to 0.70 mm
Ma : steel, Ø : 0.40 to 0.45 mm
Chikari 1 and 2 : steel, Ø : 0.25 to 0.30 mm
Chikari 3 : steel, Ø : 0.20 to 0.25 mm
The karaj string is tuned an octave below the keynote (Sa).
The Pa string is tuned to a fifth above the karaj, and the Sa string,
a quarter above the Pa.
The Ma string, in turn, is tuned a quarter above the Sa.
This tuning allows the musicians to obtain a range beyond three octaves.
To get a glimpse of the tones of the different strings of the rudra-vina, click on the instrument in the Flash animation shown below: