Dilrubas are a fiddle-like instrument which are played with a bow. The dilruba (also called israj or esraj) is carved from wood, has a goatskin soundboard, and has main and sympathetic strings. A bow is drawn across the strings which causes them to resonate, and the bridges are moveable to adjust the tone. The instrument has a neck similar to sitar, but smaller, with sitar frets and sympathetic strings. The bridge is seated on a skin stretched over the body of the instrument. Most dilrubas have three iron or bronze playing strings and 11 sympathetic strings. The dilruba is held vertically while sitting in a squating position, with the lower portion placed on the lap of the performer or in front of the lap, touching the ground. The top then rests against the left shoulder. The playing strings are played with a violin bow, or a sarangi bow (with convex's tension) held in the right hand.
The dilruba is found in the north of India, where it is used in religious music and light classical songs in the urban areas. Its name is translated as "robber of the heart."
SPECIAL NOTE - No Warranty on Strings: Whether you purchase an instrument on-line or in a neighborhood store, manufacturers recommend that you change the strings on your instrument as soon as you receive it. Your instrument has completed a long journey to your home. During this time the strings WILL oxidize and this may shorten their life expectancy and may reduce their sound quality. On occasion instruments may arrive with a broken string, therefore, it is recommended that you purchase a replacement set of strings and consider changing your strings as soon as it arrives. Learning to change strings should be the first lesson learned when embarking on the journey of playing a new instrument.