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Author: Subject: Noob in search of directions for his first oud
ketar
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[*] posted on 9-4-2019 at 08:22 PM
Noob in search of directions for his first oud


Hey guys, this is me, from Milan, Italy.

I am a guitar player who would love to put his hands on a oud. This is quite general and vague, I know, but it is all I know for the moment.
I guess the first thing would be buying one: a cheap one, since I do not know where this adventure could bring me. But at the same time I need something reliable and (average) good sounding. I own a lot of guitars, I am friend with many local luthiers, I know the difference between a good instrument and a poor one and I think that for a beginner sometime it would be better to start with a good instruments rather than with a poor one. But given the circumstances I have to stick with something cheap.

If I was in the US the Mike's Shop would be a nice place to address my researches. But I am in the Old World: shipping plus local taxes makes everything harder and a cheap instrument will be not so cheap at the end (if it arrives...).

So I have to look at the EU market. And I have no clues. No shop here sells ouds. The web is the only way and I hate buying an instrument without having the chance of trying it out before.

I have basically 2 questions: apart from the sound, what one should look at in a oud to be sure that it is not a rip-off? Which are the quality factors? I guess wood and construction, of course, but exactly what do you look at?

I am also concerned about the tuning system. Is there a way to determine if it will keep the tuning or not, id est if the pegs are good quality or not?

For example, there is a guy selling this in my town:
https://www.mercatinomusicale.com/mm/a_oud-egizio_id5420834.html

What do you guys guess about that instrument? I searched the maker, I can see that it is an economic and standard instrument, maybe it is not even handmade, or only partially, but would it do the job for a beginner? Or should I expect it to be disappointed very soon?

Thanks for any hint.

best

By the way: it would be nice if in the shop one could spot where is the seller. From what I see most of you are in the US, but if there is someone in EU selling a good and cheap instrument I would consider it. TY.
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Jason
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[*] posted on 9-5-2019 at 10:23 AM


The Gawharet El Fan instruments seemed to be considered good for the money by most people. They used to be commonly sold online but I don't see them so much nowadays. As you can see the one for sale locally may be a bit overpriced https://www.darbukaplanet.com/collections/egyptian-oud

What is your budget? High end or professional ouds are still fairly inexpensive, compared to other instruments.

Much like guitars the easiest thing to look out for is quality of construction. Are the wood joints sloppy? Does the bridge look aligned properly? Are the pegs fitted properly? That sort of thing.
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 9-5-2019 at 11:28 AM


The two biggest issues most beginners will struggle with are pegs and action.

Since beginners will usually have a learning curve even with well-made pegs, it can be a difficult thing to assess. Poorly made/fitted pegs can make beginners (or anyone) extremely frustrated as it can be impossible to get the instrument in tune.

High action is not as big of a problem usually but will be very limiting once one has progressed beyond the beginner stage.
Try to find an oud with action no higher than 3mm at the neck-body joint.




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Gary Drainville
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[*] posted on 9-6-2019 at 03:40 AM


Hello and good luck with your quest! I recently purchased a Zeryab Oud from Mike's Shop and was in the same situation as you, no local shops to purchase an Oud and no idea as to what to look for with regard to its construction. I'm quite happy with my purchase and start lessons next week. What I discovered is that you should discover what style of music you like, Turkish, Arabic, etc and then search for an Oud that fits it. Different regions have different Ouds and tunings. Good luck from one beginning player to another! Also, listen to various Oud players on YouTube - listen and watch them play, lots!

Gary
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MattOud
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[*] posted on 9-6-2019 at 04:55 AM


Hi there,
i came from a guitar background as well...
...it is hard when you are first starting out...sometimes what 'looks' fabulous is a wallhanger, and some found neglected/antique can be luthier fixed for relatively cheap and can end up as excellent learning ouds or better... over time, you get better and looking and knowing what is gonna be good or not...
In the meanwhile...I bought both my current OUDs locally(and luckily!) for less than $400 and paid less than $250 to have them totally reset, one with new fingerboard and pegs...
Every OUD, even the exact same maker and model will sound different, but you can get somewhat close to what you want by the sound you like.
Check out these 2 videos for beautiful sounding ouds. One is a sukar oud like mine!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGCqu7ZKdwk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqrNB2-3Qm4
:wavey:
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ketar
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[*] posted on 9-7-2019 at 01:53 AM


Thanks everybody for your contributions. I somehow wonder why there are not (or IF there are) luthiers using new tuning machines: I know that tradition is tradition, but progress has also is part :) Look apart, would a different tuning mechanism alter the sound? My bet is no.

Matt the two video are awesome but the first one is really outstanding: the recording too.
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arsene
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[*] posted on 9-7-2019 at 06:56 AM


Hi Ketar,

Not too make your choice even more confusing, but if budget is important, consider looking into Turkish ouds. Generally speaking, you can find better quality factory made Turkish ouds at entry level prices. A good example, in my opinion, is Saadettin Sandi -- for 300-400 euro you can get a really nice sounding, playable oud. Faruk Türünz is another good option, but at a higher budget.




The Turkish type oud is slightly smaller than the Arabic one and is used in Greek and Armenian music as well, besides Classical Ottoman and Turkish.

While every oud will have its own character and sound, the overall sound of the Turkish oud differs slightly from the Arab. Here are some examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djNetM1vkZQ (on a Faruk Türünz oud)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZhtnGZqqxU&list=PLOP8MwvFE7nPBH... (on a century old Manol oud)
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