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Author: Subject: Advice for tall player needed!
Segovia
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[*] posted on 4-3-2019 at 01:29 AM
Advice for tall player needed!


Hello!
Im new to this wonderful forum. My first post :-)

Ive been a professional classical guitar player for many years.

Some month ago I started to play the oud.

With the help of youtube and other research I managed to get along with it quite ok.

But there is one struggle that bothers me since the firth day: I am very tall (2,04 m). So i have quit long arms and big hands, (skinny fingers though, so no problems with the left hand). But I just can not find a comfortable position for holding the oud.

I tried to hold it like I see it from most professional oud players. But due to my long arms the risha gets way to far away from the bridge (where the string tension ist weak and the sound is not very good).
Trying to get my hand and arm closer to the bridge alway leeds to tension in either my arm, or my shoulders. Also it is almost impossible for me to get my upper arm rest on the body of the oud, which I think most oud players do (???).

I know how imortant it is to have a relaxed playing position. I tried so many differnt positions for many weeks, but never with great results.

Until today! I more or less accidently held my oud like a classical guitar (footstool under the LEFT food) - it was immediately a night and day difference.

After some tweaking (mostly trying to get the oud more to my right side) I found a very comfortable playing position. Playing feels very natural and relaxed now. I can play much faster and with more control over the risha - especially when i switch between strings. Also the oud sits extremely stable now. No uncontrolled movement of the instrument at all!

But my big concern is, that this is only due to the fact that I hold the oud quit similar to a classical guitar (which Im very used to). Maybe now I am not playing the oud how it should be done?

Do you see any drawbacks to holding the oud like this? Do you see other solutions to my problem?

(I enclosed a photo of my current playing position)

20190402_222357 (Small).jpg - 61kB
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MattOud
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[*] posted on 4-3-2019 at 03:57 AM


Hi and Welcome!

Can you try sitting like this and playing?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nK5FJZOi9u4

Also, here is some other interesting discussions:
http://www.mikeouds.com/messageboard/viewthread.php?tid=16074#pid10...

http://www.mikeouds.com/messageboard/viewthread.php?tid=17511#pid11...

http://www.mikeouds.com/messageboard/viewthread.php?tid=17622#pid11...

Maybe others will be able to help further.
Cheers,
MattOud
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sylud
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[*] posted on 4-3-2019 at 04:36 AM


Hello Segovia

I am also tall (1.86m) and the traditionnal oud is not easy for me. I have sometimes shoulders problem etc ...

That is also why i made a different oud more ergonomic. Try electric oud or half cut acoustic model. More easy to play like folk guitar style ... Or check mine;)

All the best




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Marcus
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[*] posted on 4-3-2019 at 05:06 AM


Hi Segovia,:wavey:

I'm 193m and I tried out the position the Joubran-brothers use.
I was very comfortable till my left knee starts to hurt. But it was kind of damaged before, i think it did not hurt from the playing position.
A other solution could be to buy a bigger oud. i played a "small" turkish oud at the beginning and had the same problems as you. It gets much better after I changed to a bigger Syrian oud (Sukar)

All the best,
Marcus




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[*] posted on 4-3-2019 at 06:24 AM


he hee...
If you were that tall Marcus(193m) you would need a California Redwood as a footstool :cool:
but we know what you meant :D
I didn't realize how many tall oud players there may be out there!

May be a good suggestion to try a bigger OUD...however, remember If the OUD is too big, then it may be harder to get the arm around and then you move into the shoulder problems...
Like a good suit, the OUD should be fitted to suit!
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Segovia
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[*] posted on 4-3-2019 at 02:26 PM


Hey, thanks to all those fast responses. Great forum!

I tried the crossed-legs position. It looks a bit strange :rolleyes: but indeed it is quit comfortable. But I need more time to test it.

Do all of you rest your upper arm on the body/back of the oud? In any position that is still very uncomfortable for me :shrug:
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alim
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[*] posted on 4-3-2019 at 08:00 PM


My humble opinion:

1. Get a larger Oud, maybe 61.5-62cm scale length (these days Arabic Ouds are 60cm, and Turkish are 58.5) and with a deeper bowl
2. Don't use the classical guitar position, use the "standard" Oud position where fingerboard is parallel to the ground, and the right foot is raised, this will allow for #3
3. You should be able to 'hug' the Oud because the bowl will fill the space between your belly and the soundboard and your right arm/hand should go 'around' the right side of the Oud (a longer distance so that your right hand reaches where you want it)
4. Most importantly, you should try before you buy (try a lot of different sizes)

Cheers,

Ali-
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majnuunNavid
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[*] posted on 4-3-2019 at 09:19 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Segovia  

But my big concern is, that this is only due to the fact that I hold the oud quit similar to a classical guitar (which Im very used to). Maybe now I am not playing the oud how it should be done?

Do you see any drawbacks to holding the oud like this? Do you see other solutions to my problem?



I agree that you should experiment to find the best position for your body. Personally, it took my a year or two before I felt like I finally held the Oud comfortably.

One drawback MIGHT be that your risha angle will cause you to produce a very slight different sound than other Oudists. This may be a good or bad thing. MAYBE this makes your sound unique. OR you may wish you sound like other players. MAYBE it won't affect the sound at all. I imagine this posture will ultimately create a different attack on the strings and thus a different sound (not necessarily good or bad).

William Shaheen crosses his legs with the left on top of the right. This can work.

I agree with Alim in his 3rd point. This picture of Simon Shaheen illustrates it very nicely. Your forearm will be hugging the butt of the Oud, and the edge of the Oud is touching the forearm between the wrist and the forearms mid-point.

*POINT* - Your right arm will not "rest" on the Oud. It will clip the Oud between your forearm and body.

As part of your experimentation, I suggest the following:

Try using a footstool (or cross your legs), prop your left foot on it.
Clip the Oud between your forearm and body where your forearm comes around the bottom of the Oud like in the picture.

There is SOME tension when you hold the Oud, but it's a good tension vs a "bad" type of tension. My suspicion is that you feel no tension in the "classical guitar" posture because it's in your body's comfort zone. Your body probably had to adapt to that posture when you started learning guitar too.

I think ultimately the Oud should "rest" on your leg and your arms and hands make enough contact to pull the Oud toward your body. There should be enough tension to keep the Oud in place, but enough flexibility so that your right wrist and left hand feels flexible and mobile so they can dance freely on the face of the Oud.

I hope in the end you will find some solution, but ultimately, you may need to find it yourself. Your body may need time to adapt to this foreign object so it will naturally be uncomfortable. But don't push yourself too much that you give yourself tendonitis. Find the right balance.

Good luck!

Simon-Shaheen.jpg - 46kB




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Marcus
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[*] posted on 4-3-2019 at 09:58 PM



Quote:

If you were that tall Marcus(193m) you would need a California Redwood as a footstool :cool:



:D:D::)):))
LOL!!




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[*] posted on 9-16-2019 at 01:04 AM


Id like thank for starting this thread! Id like to elaborate my problem: I am rather tall (184cm) and with corresponding arm lenght, but I have small hands and stubby fingers. Besides, I have a mandolin background, so my Turkish 58,5cm string length feels quite enough for me. So, no bigger oud with longer neck for me. I have a Turkish one.

I find it very difficult to find a comfortable position for my right arm. If I have it hanging over the bowl, with inside of the elbow at the top edge (like John Bilezikjian), this feels very relaxed, but my hand hangs well below ths strings if I dont bend my wrist to 90 degrees. This feels cramped and unnatural. And if I bend my arm around the tailpiece like many Arabic oudists do, my hand ends up over the soundhole, and the tone is not so good.

So, I rest inside of my forearm (not elbow) on the bowls edge to get my hand in a right spot. This starts to hurt and leaves nasty red lines on my forearm. The search continues... Could you give suggestions, please? Arto
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[*] posted on 9-16-2019 at 02:26 AM


Quote: Originally posted by MattOud  
Hi and Welcome!

Can you try sitting like this and playing?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nK5FJZOi9u4

MattOud


This - with some little adjustments - help a lot im my case.
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[*] posted on 9-16-2019 at 04:26 PM


A few months isn't very long most people take some time to find a comfortable position.
While it's possible the "classical guitar" position could work out ok, my concern would be that at this point you aren't really in a position to judge the impact it will have on your technique and sound. It may be fine, but the fact that people have been playing the oud in more or less the same way for 500+ years would make me skeptical that it really needs to be adjusted.

I have a very tall student (though not as tall as you) who plays the normal way, but had to be trained to position the arms correctly since the tendency is to reach around too far. But this problem is not exclusive to tall playerseven moderately tall players can find their arm in the wrong position if they are reaching around the front too much.

Often newcomers to the oud are trying to hard to keep it from slipping and haven't found the center of gravity yet, so they don't know how to balance it without pressure. Once you find the center of gravity, you will have less of a tendency to introduce tension by gripping it too tight and reaching too far around.

If you post a video playing, it would help clarify a few things. Generally I agree with other posters that you find that posture comfortable because you are used to it.




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[*] posted on 9-17-2019 at 09:25 AM


I just want to chime in and agree with Matt & Navid. Palestinian oudists Samer Totah and Simon Shaheen have a very traditional and "orthodox" risha-hand oud-playing position. You will note that both reach over and perpendicular to the bridge. I think this is the best and most ergonomic position for most oud players. However, many of us are former guitarists, accustomed to reaching "over the top" of the instrument. This can be a difficult transition for us. One of my teachers, Iraqi-Israeli oudist Yair Dalal, has worked over the years to modify his picking hand position toward a more "orthodox" one. I think it's worthwhile to aspire to. Here is a photo from the mid-1990s: https://www.amazon.com/Samar-Yair-Dalal/dp/B01G4BURE2 And here is a more recent one: http://marmadukebass.blogspot.com/2010/04/yair-dalal-discography-19... (If you search photos on-line, his playing position varies a great deal. His issues are very different from yours or mine; his is NOT a tall man!)
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