Since I was a kid, I’ve been listening to Indian and Arabic music, so I’ve developed a few ways to fake these sounds on guitar. Note: this is not a traditional approach – it’s my own take on these cool, droney lines.
Most indian and some Middle Eastern stringed instruments are played melodically on only one string. For this example, we’ll play melodies, exclusively on the G string. By staying with one string, you’ll naturally start to phrase more like a sitar player.
This is in dropped-D tuning, which yields a DAD drone on the bass strings. Sitarists use an index-finger pick – a wire thimble of sorts. So instead of flat picking, try picking the G string with index-finger up-and-down strokes. Rest your picking-hand thumb on the A string to index-pick the G and D strings, or for a deeper drone, rest the thumb on the guitar to kick A and low D into action. Back up Ex.1 with any of the chords in Ex. 2.