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jack
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[*] posted on 8-13-2010 at 09:42 AM
string identification and soundboard care


I have just recently purchased a Sukar 212 and am delighted with it. I'm wondering if anyone knows which type of strings the Sukars are shipped with, as I like them very much and would like to purchase more sets. I include a picture here (3 courses of copper wound and 3 courses of nylon). The strings look like Aquila strings to me, but I can't find anywhere to purchase such a set with 3 courses of nylon.

Secondly, I very much like the sound of the raw Sukar soundboard but am wondering if anything should be done to it to preserve the board over time, or if it will be fine as is.

Thanks for your time,
Jack

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fernandraynaud
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[*] posted on 8-13-2010 at 10:55 AM


Hello, jack,

The treble strings are ordinary nylon, though it's a bit unusual to use 3 nylon courses for standard tuning. You can see the first course was added on the back pegs to a 5 course stringing. The bass strings are very different from the usual oud strings. The winding wire is thin unplated copper.

A typical 0.045" bass string has a winding of silver-plated copper alloy about 0.013" in diameter, leaving 0.045 - 0.013 - 0.013 = 0.019 " for the nylon fluff inner core. The Sukar factory bass string uses pure copper wire about 0.008" thick. Thus the nylon fluff core of such a string is 0.045 - 0.008 - 0.008 = 0.029", meaning the weight of such a string is a lot less, and thus the tension lower. Another way to look at it is that a 0.045" string like that is not equivalent to a 0.045" string in D'Addario or Mari or LaBella, but to a thinner one, maybe a 0.041"' which is what these sets use. This is important, not to replace a 0.045 copper wound with a 0.045" from a different maker.

Another "feature" of these strings is that they are not well made. Loosely wound copper is used because it's softer and easier to work with, and doesn't require high tech machines. These are local inexpensively made strings used as a factory set on many Syrian and Egyptian ouds. My experience is that the windings break if you put more tension on them, and where the risha hits, and unravel rather quickly, the intonation is poor due to uneven thickness, and all in all the set falls apart within a few weeks, whereas a normal oud set can last for many months if not a year or more.

The subject of face protection has been treated here many times. It's a matter of opinion, but I don't like a grubby soundboard and I don't see any degradation in sound from using a very thin coating of a brittle finish like shellac or egg white. I just did a 212 in egg white, look it up in the forum, i think it looks much nicer than the raw wood, and the only question is how it can be made more waterproof, so I'm experimenting, as is Jdowning. I just realized that my French Polished model 1 that looked a little uneven needed a buffing pass, and it looks fantastic after a session with 0000 plastic steel wool. THAT is a more effective protection against stains, though more work than egg white.

Those are (the only?) two treatments that are known not to turn the soundboard into a limp slice of bologna. Oils and urethane and varnish are deadly as they dampen the resonance. The purists insist only untreated wood sounds good, but they are in the minority, even among perfectionists. Sukar delivers a great instrument at a moderate price. He saves labor and leaves you the option of finishing the face, or not. On the most expensive ouds many makers finish the face with French Polishing but some do not.



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spyblaster
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[*] posted on 8-14-2010 at 05:38 AM


hi Jack
what tuning do u use for the middle course? DD or gg?
anyway those strings are such a cheap and low quality strings, i have 2 sets of them (from 2 ouds i recently bought from sukar, immediately changed them with pyramid and D'adario) n i would present them to you if i could visit you!!! anyway u can ask M.sukar where to buy it. its really strange for me that u like those strings :D

in the first year always keep the oud in its nylon bag an hard case when you dont play it. specially if u live in a place drier than syria. its a good idea to use a humidity gauge n check the humidity and control it with humidifier or silica gel.

after all, Congrats. :D




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jack
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[*] posted on 8-14-2010 at 11:54 AM


spyblaster,
What I like about them is the nylon course for the 'd' string (CFAdgc), and have only found such an animal on the expensive Pyramid strings, which I also have and like, but would prefer a cheaper option with a bigger sound from the wound strings, though not as big as what comes off of the Sukar generic strings. I like the punch the copper has, and would go with Aquila, but they don't have the nylon 'd' course.

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fernandraynaud
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[*] posted on 8-14-2010 at 12:43 PM


Jack, just go out and buy a pair of nylon classical guitar strings of the same gauge and swap out the 3rd course on a set you otherwise like.

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SamirCanada
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[*] posted on 8-14-2010 at 12:57 PM


Hi Jack,
talk to Jameel from Khalafoud.com.

I also like the nylon sound of the d string, Its great for that "studio" type of sound. A while back he put together a set for me with some Aquilla Nylgut strings for the first 3 course c, g and d. The other strings were the Aquila wound coper A, F.

Here is a video I had done a while back with those strings on my oud. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55X-gYk_Fek
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fernandraynaud
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[*] posted on 8-14-2010 at 02:32 PM


Keep in mind that the 0.032" nylon that Sukar supplies on the 3rd course is very unusual in that on a 600 mm scale and tuned to D, it yields a very low tension of 1.6 Kg. For a more typical 3.16 Kg you would be using a 0.043", which is hard to find.

I don't understand that whole factory set, it's as if it were designed for a different tuning. Its only virtue for me was the deep basses, but overall I couldn't wait to get it off the oud.

In any case if you like that 3rd course as it was, you can keep the factory D strings or get something like this, I like Thomastik just because they generally make outstanding strings:

http://www.juststrings.com/toi-cn31.html

But any 0.031" - 0.033" plain nylon guitar string would replicate those factory D strings.

Now, if you are using a more standard set, but you want a plain nylon 3rd course, you'd want a string to go with the more typical tensions around 3 Kg, like a 0.041", which is easy to find as a classical guitar G string.

Or you could try PVF, which might be interesting in that it would give you a more gradual change in timbre from the wound strings. The gauge would be thinner, like a 0.78 mm (2.7 kg) or a 0.91 mm (3.7 Kg).

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ameer
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[*] posted on 8-14-2010 at 03:59 PM


Quote: Originally posted by SamirCanada  
Hi Jack,
talk to Jameel from Khalafoud.com.

I also like the nylon sound of the d string, Its great for that "studio" type of sound. A while back he put together a set for me with some Aquilla Nylgut strings for the first 3 course c, g and d. The other strings were the Aquila wound coper A, F.

Here is a video I had done a while back with those strings on my oud. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55X-gYk_Fek


Samir,
Was that a wound or plain nylgut third in your video? It sounded very similar to a wound one and I'm trying to make sure.
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spyblaster
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[*] posted on 8-14-2010 at 04:24 PM


the sets on my ouds have copper d. of course nylon d is a thing i really hate. but i dont know what u call EXPENSIVE. check the item 650 200 in pyramid catalog which is a 10 string set with plain d only 7.11. i havent ever seen any cheaper strings n ill be glad if someone introduce me a cheaper one.



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SamirCanada
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[*] posted on 8-14-2010 at 08:41 PM


Hi Ameer,
its plain Nylgut.
The video doesn't really do it justice. But on that oud, the plain Nylgut sounds much smoother then a metal wound string.





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[*] posted on 1-1-2019 at 06:04 PM


@ Samir:

Holy f***.. i really, really love the sound of your oud in the video above (and very nice playing, too)

Can you tell me anything more about that setup? (I know it's been a while;)

Type of risha? String length? Tension/guages? Old/new nylgut? Who made the oud?

Love it:)
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[*] posted on 1-1-2019 at 06:56 PM


I can give feeback on Aquila and Thomastik plain dd strings. The two sets sound totally different but are both nice. I like the sound of the really old nylgut plain dd the best. You can hear old nylgut in this clip: https://youtu.be/hOeh9w455YM?t=372 and throughout the video and my channel anytime that oud is used. Really old oud arabic classic sound. And you can hear the Thomastik here: https://youtu.be/uhJJDL3K1dA . Totally different sound. Well the 2nd oud is spruce and first cedar, but I think strings make a big difference in sound.

The last new (red) nylgut pack I bought actually came with a plain dd, in a brown color, which was not expected. I put them on one of my ouds and I didn't like it. It's strange, they sounded too much like wound, even though they were plain. The whole point of plain is so it sounds like plain. I took them off.
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SamirCanada
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[*] posted on 1-2-2019 at 05:58 AM


Hey Grassyknoll it's a shehata oud. Ebony bowl and cedar top.

The strings were all the old Aquila including an old nylgut plain dd course. I wanted to get that old oud sound with that setup. I think plain dd course is also popular with recording artists who lay down oud tracks in studios for popular singers. The sound of the oud has to be very round and smooth.




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[*] posted on 1-2-2019 at 01:03 PM


SamirCanada, that's one of my favorite set ups. Mo oud with Cedar and old nylgut. You go a whole step down, close your eyes, and you can really get close to the old oud sound. Really, nylgut changed the game in my opinion for the dd plain string, for those looking for a cleaner sounding dd string like in the old days. This is especially true for ouds that are tuned a half step or whole step down from standard.

The problem is, that old nylgut dd is not available anymore. The new nylgut plain dd is not the same sound.

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