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Author: Subject: Hi! some questions! (and about ouds for smaller women)
beebeeveevee
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[*] posted on 7-15-2019 at 05:21 PM
Hi! some questions! (and about ouds for smaller women)


Hi everybody!

My name's Bee, I live in Manchester in the U.K. . I play lots of instruments but have always dreamed of being able to play oud.

Sadly I didn't grow up in an oud house - although half of my family is Moroccan, my parents played Greek folk music so it was more bouzoukis than ouds around the house :) (and I had to find Gnawa for myself :D)

Anyway, after spending a long time trying to make my guitars sound as much like ouds as possible I took the chance and ordered a Zeryab Syrian oud from Arab Instruments.

I've tried my best to play it, but unfortunately it's just too big. I had my first lesson yesterday (with a teacher called Yasamin Shahhosseini who teaches via Rhythmitica (more Persian style)) and after a little bit, I noticed my arms and shoulders were aching.

This is something that has happened since I bought it, and I thought it was a technique thing, but I've realised I'm too small for it - I'm only 5 foot tall and have short arms and small hands! The instrument is very, very deep and I can't curl my picking arm around it at all.

So...here are my questions! I want to chalk this up as a misstep and get started properly, so I'm going to need to sell this oud and get another - but finding ouds in England is generally not possible, meaning that buying them involves importing, which means an inability to try before buying.

I've heard of zenne ouds, but they seem quite hard to find (and expensive). I emailed Thomann (the big German music store), who recommended me this:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/saz_tf10ah_arabic_flat_oud_hornb.htm?ref=i...

(Saz TF10AH Arabic Flat Oud)

I'm a bit suspicious of an oud that has a flat body but it seems like it be a good place to start considering finding smaller ouds over here is impossibly difficult.

I was wondering - does anyone have any thoughts on the above instrument? Or have any knowledge on where to find smaller ouds? Or even whether there are other types of oud that would work for my T-Rex arms?

I'm interested only in the Arabic style of instrument for now.

Thank you very much!
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Jody Stecher
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[*] posted on 7-15-2019 at 08:33 PM


Michael Moussa is a maker of Arabic ouds in the UK. As far as I know he still lives in Darton, in South Yorkshire, just an hour from Manchester. Perhaps he can make an oud for you of just the right size. There are other possibilities. But since there is good luthier so near you, why not start there?

Here is the contact info

http://www.magicstrings.co.uk/contact.htm
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Matthias
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[*] posted on 7-18-2019 at 12:58 AM


Quote: Originally posted by beebeeveevee  

I've heard of zenne ouds, but they seem quite hard to find (and expensive). I emailed Thomann (the big German music store), who recommended me this:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/saz_tf10ah_arabic_flat_oud_hornb.htm?ref=i...

(Saz TF10AH Arabic Flat Oud)


Hello,

first of all it is really crazy that Thomann calls this Instrument SAZ....
This does not show to me a big understanding of that type of instrument.

And about Zenne Oud:
As far as I know a Zenne oud has a smaller scale than 60 cm. 60 is the standard scale of arabic ouds.
Since some time I have a smaller instrument by Manol in my focus. contact me through my website here: lutes-strings.de

Best regards
Matthias




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Jack_Campin
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[*] posted on 7-18-2019 at 02:13 AM


Try to find someone local with a Persian barbat and see if that fits? I think they're the smallest of the standard oud types.



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John Erlich
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[*] posted on 7-18-2019 at 09:08 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Jack_Campin  
Try to find someone local with a Persian barbat and see if that fits? I think they're the smallest of the standard oud types.


If you want to try the Persian barbat route, this web site has a list of Iranian luthiers: https://orientalinstruments.com/oriental-instruments/luthiers
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[*] posted on 7-18-2019 at 09:11 AM


Not that I like buying anything via Ebay (bad experience buying a Lebanese oud), but you could try contacting this seller to see if they have anything like this one already sold: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ADAM-ARAB-STRING-INSTRUMENT-LONG-NECK-OUD...
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[*] posted on 7-18-2019 at 09:14 AM


I personally am an Arabic-style oud player, but I think Turkish flat-back uds are a bit more common, and, on the average, better crafted than Arabic ones. Here is an example, much like the one my former (female) student has: https://www.amazon.com/Turkish-Professional-Electric-String-Instrume...
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Marcus
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[*] posted on 7-18-2019 at 10:56 PM



"first of all it is really crazy that Thomann calls this Instrument SAZ...."

The turkish word "saz" only means "Instrument". The thing we use to call a saz is "baglama" in turkish.




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Matthias
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[*] posted on 7-21-2019 at 06:33 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Marcus  

"first of all it is really crazy that Thomann calls this Instrument SAZ...."

The turkish word "saz" only means "Instrument". The thing we use to call a saz is "baglama" in turkish.


Hello Marcus,

thanks for that clarification.

But I never came across that terminology. I checked several German and Türkish shops and sites, none is using it.

Matthias




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[*] posted on 7-21-2019 at 12:36 PM


Bee is complaining about the size of her Zeriab oud which is most probably 60cm string length!
So she needs a oud that is SMALLER THAN 60cm guys 😊




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[*] posted on 7-25-2019 at 08:42 AM
Bulent Eryalman Zenne Ouds


Hi Bee,
I have a few Zenne ouds. The ones I use the most are made by Bulent Eryalman in Izmir, Turkey. He ships internationally with great success. Wait time is between 6 months to 1 year. Please email him for costs. Very reasonable for the highest level of craftsmanship and sound quality.
If you let Bulent know the tuning you want at the time of ordering, he will make the oud for that tuning.

http://www.bulenteryalman.com/Oud.html

Bulent not only makes Zenne width, but also customizes the depth of the bowl, which also lends to more comfortable playing for women and youth.

In the photo from left to right:
1. Standard Turkish-Sized Oud (58.5cm string length)
2. Zenne Walnut (57cm)
3. Zenne Rosewood (57cm)
4. Zenne Paduk one soundhole with shallower bowl (57cm)

If possible, please study with an oud teacher that will help you purchase/maintain a good oud, and prevent you from purchasing from sources like ebay etc.
Good luck!

Bulent Eryalman Ouds.jpg - 147kB
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beebeeveevee
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[*] posted on 9-9-2019 at 10:56 AM


Thank you all, I very much appreciate it!

I had a lesson with a teacher in Iran who was very good and asked about having an oud sent over, but the price was $2,300, which is way out of my range.

I've tried Michael Moussa's website but unfortunately it's down at the moment.

I'll look into the other suggestions here. :)

This is the oud that is too big for me:

https://www.arabinstruments.com/syrian-oud-by-zeryab-cat-77

It's not so much that the neck is too long, but that the bowl is far too deep. I just can't fit my arm around it properly. It has a beautiful sound and is a beautiful looking instrument, it just leaves me injured if I play it for longer than 10 minutes!
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[*] posted on 9-21-2019 at 01:32 AM


Hello Bee,

Have you tried a regular Turkish oud? Their size is between the Zeryab oud you tried and the Zenne ouds you mentioned, and their bowl sizes are significantly smaller than Arabic ouds.

Occasionally some oud makers will make ouds with shallower backs, inspired by some of the early 20th century ouds, or ouds made for women. In a country with a lot of lutheirs it would be easy to find some, but as you said unfortunately the UK is not one of them.

If you’re willing to get one custom made, any good luthier should be able to make you one, but it depends on whether they are willing to and how much they will charge you.

Good luck
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[*] posted on 9-21-2019 at 08:11 AM


Hi Bee,

How long have you been playing the Oud now?

It took me 1-2 years before I felt comfortable playing the Oud so I sympathize with this challenge. And I don't have boobs so maybe I should keep my mouth shut, but I have a smaller female student who has just started learning the Oud and she has an average sized Turkish Oud, but she's still having trouble holding the Oud. She is having the same problem with her arms as you describe.

The Oud is one of the most awkward instruments to play. But your body is an amazing adapter. You're taking a completely foreign object and trying to make it an extension of yourself. Your body will adapt to the instrument. I'm sure of that.

I would suggest you do not give up on it just yet. Instead, get some tools that make it easier to hold. Foot stool, carpet stopper on your thigh to keep it from slipping, get a guitar forearm guard, or cut open a sock and wear it around your forearm. These things can help.

I also recommend taking brief breaks and reorienting yourself to the Oud during practice to prevent soreness.

Check out this little lady playing this big-ass Oud...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yM3GAAMsw4c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbYWho8i6AA

Look at where her forearm touches edge of the Oud. Some people play straight at the back of the Oud, others have to get up above the Oud. You have to find the right fit for your own body type.

And it won't be perfect. Some Ouds play like Ferrari's and others play like a Ford F150.

This isn't the first time I've heard that Zeyrab Ouds felt too big, and I heard this from a guy who is a bigger than me... I've tried one, but it didn't feel big to me. But my philosophy is to find a way to make it work.

Good luck, and I hope it works out one way or another.




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