Niladri Kumar relies on the AKG C411


Niladri Kumar

Genre-bending virtuoso

It’s not unusual for a musician, after many years of releasing music in a specific genre, to dabble in something completely different. But few have succeeded in building a career around crisscrossing from one genre to another, and fewer still have been as highly regarded for their achievements as has Niladri Kumar. An award-winning world musician, Niladri is considered both a sitar and zitar virtuoso, the later a combination sitar and guitar and Niladri’s own creation amplified by an AKG miniature pickup.



Niladri first plucked a sitar at four years old, not surprising since his father was a sitar maestro and his lineage includes five generations of sitar players. A child prodigy, he is acclaimed for his understanding of Indian classical music. But during his college years all that tradition ran headlong into the world of new music, and for Niladri it was a real awakening. It changed his outlook toward music and drove him to explore a melding of Indian classical music with various forms of modern music. This quest for combining the two led to his creation of the zitar, a five-stringed electric sitar that he has used to blend a multitude of influences, from traditional-inflected work to Bollywood compositions to what some have described as Jimi Hendrix-inspired sounds.


Niladri has more than 10 international albums to his credit, plus guest appearances with such artists as jazz guitarist John Mclaughlin and a performance on the Grammy Award winning album Global Drum Project with former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and tabla player Zakir Hussain.



Niladri’s pickup of choice is the AKG C411, a miniature vibration pickup for stringed instruments. It’s ultra light, so can be easily attached on or near the bridge, and its integrated condenser capsule can reproduce the instrument’s sound clearly and without coloration.


It’s the ideal pickup for a musician who shuns genre labels and is constantly exploring ways to create and deliver new and unique sounds for his many fans.

Niladri Kumar

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