The popularity of the Sitar in the north of India corresponds more or less to the Saraswati Vina in the southern Indian tradition. It is regarded as a classical solo instrument and is similarly structured as the Sitar. In contrast to the Sitar, however, the resonator of the Sarasvati Vina is not made from a pumpkin. The Saraswati Vina has 4 playing strings and 3 drone strings. The whole instrument is manufactured from one piece of wood; the resonator consists of solid wood. The neck is narrower than that of the Sitar so the strings cannot be drawn sideways so much.
The Sarasvati Vina also differs from the Sitar in that it does not have any sympathetic strings. The frets are cast in a bed of wax and the bridge has a metal surface. The playing technique (plucking technique) corresponds to that of the Rudra Vina or the Vichitra Vina and it produces a warm and full sound which is slightly twanging and rich in overtones. The characteristic twanging that produces the richness in overtones can be increased or decreased by changing the surface grinding of the bridge. Irrespective of its differentiated use in southern Indian classical music, the Sarasvati Vina is a fascinating instrument that can be used for other styles of music.