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Author: Subject: string material transitions through history
Chris-Stephens
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[*] posted on 7-20-2017 at 06:06 PM
string material transitions through history


Does anyone know when the oud incorporated metal into the strings? I've read the old ouds were made with gut, possibly getting into "barbat" territory here, but were they ever made of silk? When did nylon replace gut? Would the oud have shared string material type with the european lute in say the middle ages? Just curious about the history of music string materials in general really, anyone have any knowledge or sources for learning about such a subject?
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Alfaraby
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[*] posted on 7-21-2017 at 03:09 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Chris-Stephens  
1.When the oud incorporated metal into the strings?
2. Were they ever made of silk?
3. When did nylon replace gut?
4.Would the oud have shared string material type with the european lute ?
5. Does anyone have sources for learning about such a subject?

Very interesting questions. They indeed worth research.
Try Wikipedia:

Up until the Second World War, animal gut and silk were the materials from which strings were manufactured. Albert Augustine, an instrument maker from New York, USA, was the first to produce guitar strings with nylon. Augustine classical guitar strings were first commercially manufactured in 1948, in conjunction with Olinto Mari, President of E.& O. Mari/La Bella Strings at their factory in Long Island City New York.

Fluorocarbon polymers have recently become an alternative to nylon treble strings. The sound is preferred by some luthiers and players, especially for the smooth transition provided by the G string from treble to bass.

Well, just a beginning of an interesting research..

Yours indeed
Alfaraby






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jdowning
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[*] posted on 7-21-2017 at 03:51 PM


If by 'incorporated metal' you mean the now familiar metal wound or overspun strings on a filament core, these first came into general use during the 19th C for plucked instruments like the oud and guitar. The core material then was either silk or gut and the material of the round wire windings brass, bronze, copper (all usually silver plated) or solid silver.
Nylon monofilament treble strings and wound strings with a nylon filament core first became available for guitars in the 1950's but have never entirely replaced gut strings for historical plucked instruments. When working in Cairo Egypt in 1964/5 I purchased a new set of 'old style' oud strings with gut trebles and basses wound on silk filament core. However as this was the time following the Suez crisis when imports to Egypt were heavily restricted these may have been all that was available until trade embargo's were eventually lifted.

According to historical record dating back to the 9th C early ouds were, without question, strung in either gut or silk or a combination of both. These gut strings were made from animal intestines coming from sheep and felines (the origin of the term 'catgut' perhaps?).

Would the oud have shared string material type with the European lute of the middle ages? is a good question. I would speculate that both gut and silk strings were employed on the early lutes but there is no historical record to confirm this idea that I am aware of.

Although due to recent personal circumstances I no longer have time or motivation to continue my work on research/string making experimentation, much of this has been reported on this forum over the years. Just use the forum search facility for 'Silk Strings', by user name 'jdowning' for All Forums. There is too much information to summarise in this post but if after having waded through all of that material you have any questions I will do my best to respond. Note that many images in the later threads - necessary for full understanding of the text - were accidentally deleted and cannot now be recovered.

Other articles about historical strings published over the years by other researchers/string makers Eph. Segerman, Mimmo Peruffo and Alexander Rakov can be found in the Fellowship of Makers and Researchers of Historical Instruments publications - all free for downloading from the FoMRHI website. Mimmo has some interesting historical information relating to gut strings posted on his website for 'Aquila' strings as does Eph Segerman on his website for Northern Renaissance Instruments (NRI). Do a Google search for other silk string making articles by Alexander Rakov.
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yavaran
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[*] posted on 7-25-2019 at 03:02 PM


Here Richard Hagopian claims the bass string was added first in the US in the 1960s. Is that true?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuCXl_9XTZY
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Jack_Campin
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[*] posted on 7-25-2019 at 09:03 PM


The bass string (on the other side of the fingerboard) is described in Yekta's book from about 1920.



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Jack_Campin
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[*] posted on 9-3-2019 at 01:57 PM


Comparison video for different kinds of strings on a violoncello da spalla, which is roughly oud-sized. The way I hear it, the silk set (last in the video) wins unmistakably.
https://www.facebook.com/112142826813096/posts/123095512384494/




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