SurbaharSurbahar appeared on the Indian musical scene in the early years of the nineteenth century around 1830. Although its basic structure resembled that of the sitar, it was much bigger in size and also possessed a number of features different from those of the sitar. It is said that the musicians of Seniya lineage were not supposed to teach the been or rabab to any outsider. Thus, the students, who were talented but did not belong to this bloodline, could not learn this style. According to some scholars, beenkar Umrao Khan of Lucknow, who belonged to Tansen's tradition through his daughter's lineage, had a large sitar made and named it surbahar, to teach the alap and jodalap of dhrupad anga to his favourite students. Ghulam Muhammed was one of them.

The surbahar had a relatively small span of life. It remained popular from the middle of nineteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth century. Surbahar players were quite knowledgeable and traditionally sound in the rendition of alap and jodalap anga. Till this time, been, being limited to the Seniya blood lineage, gradually started fading. Because of the huge body and thick strings, the surbahar had a very deep and bass sound and proved suitable for been's alap anga. Almost all the technicalities and alapchari anga which were possible on the been, could be incorporated in the surbahar.

The surbahar has seven main strings including two chikaris (drone) and eleven to twelve sympathetic strings, fixed upon the fingerboard just below the main strings. The tuning of the instrument is done exactly the same way as it is in the sitar. Taking into consideration the big size of the instrument, a wooden stand is fixed just below the lower portion of the main resonator in such a manner that when the instrument is put into a playing position most of its weight is borne by this stand and the player gets a respite.