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Author: Subject: in tune open, out of tune fretted
Chris-Stephens
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[*] posted on 10-19-2019 at 08:39 AM
in tune open, out of tune fretted


Hey all so I just changed my strings and Im having a problem i've never had before, in which my highest course (ff) is perfectly tuned in unison but when I fret a note on the neck they are not in unison. I've made sure the loops on the bridge are exactly the same height, same number of twists, etc. what else could cause this problem?
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Jason
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[*] posted on 10-19-2019 at 09:10 AM


What kind of strings? This can happen due to a bad string. Given you're using ff is this a floating bridge oud? Make sure the bridge hasn't shifted slightly. Only other thing I can think of is maybe the strings haven't fully settled in, both strings on a course don't always settle at the same rate.
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 10-19-2019 at 09:22 AM


How are you tuning your open strings?

If you are using a tuner, you should tune one string in the pair to the tuner and then play both strings at the same time to tune the remaining string in the pair. Don't tune both strings to the tuner, it will not be precise enough to get them perfectly in tune.

The most common reason, by far, that this happens is that often the "perfectly in tune" open strings are not actually quite perfectly in tune and it's just more noticeable with a fingered note, as the intonation discrepancy is magnified as the string gets shorter.

But it can be a bad string. This is pretty uncommon in my experience: I've never had it happen in 20 years of playing the oud, so it wouldn't be my first guess.
If it is a bad string, people have commented that this can sometimes be resolved by taking one string in the pair and reversing it end-to-end.

A thinner string is going to be more susceptible to this phenomenon, since tolerances are usually pretty consistent in absolute terms. If the tolerance of a string's diameter is .003mm, for example, that is a bigger relative difference on a .40mm string than on a .60mm string.

Strings will stretch a bit as they settle in, if they are settling in at different rates then this could be a temporary effect.

But really, the most common reason is that the open strings are not as in tune as you think.




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Badra
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[*] posted on 10-19-2019 at 01:11 PM


This is a problem I am having with my highest course as well (cc). Open string sounds great, first and second finger, fine. But then when I want to hit the high D note down the neck, it is totally out of tune. It is baffling. I have 3 ouds, and it is only happening with one oud. Fingerboard is flat, everything else seems equal. It is the only oud I have with Thomastik strings. Strings sound very good other than that problem.
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Chris-Stephens
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[*] posted on 10-19-2019 at 05:33 PM


It could be a bad string, its from a brand i've never tried before because i needed them sooner than my usual labella could make it in time for my next gig. I'd never have thought to try reversing it, that could work I'd just have to take them all off in order to do that. ugh.

Just to make sure it wasnt my loops I tied them with just a knot going through the bridge holes and still does it. why?? my bridge holes are even and none of the other courses do this even if i fret up high. could it really just be that the string is too thick? guess i shouldnt have gone for the off brand. I've tuned with a high ff course for years and gone through many packs of new strings and this has never happened.

Brian I don't tune them using a tuner i just use the bottom FF course to get them in tune, trust me they are in perfect unison and the loops are the same height on the bridge. BUT if i purposfully tune the left high f string to sharper than the right high f string the fretted notes are in tune but the open course is obviously not.

I dont have a floating bridge so it couldn't have shifted. It could be the nut which has the string slots from the tuning pegs to the neck? Maybe the left string on the high ff course is slightly higher? I really dont want to mess with that though.

If tying it with the opposite ends doesnt work i'll just hope it settles, and if not looks like i'm tuning standard arabic with the low c! Thanks for help everyone!
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 10-20-2019 at 02:35 PM


Hi Chris, I believe you, especially since it's not a problem you've had with other strings.
Various people have complained about this, yet in decades I don't think I've ever experienced it. It's certainly possible, particularly with non-rectified strings.

However, I never use a high f'f' course, the highest string I use is d'd' on my Najarian oud.
Certainly it is more of a risk with higher courses.
What brand of string was it?

I wouldn't suspect the slots or holes if you've previously been using strings in this tuning without issue.




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[*] posted on 10-20-2019 at 09:23 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Chris-Stephens  
I'd never have thought to try reversing it, that could work I'd just have to take them all off in order to do that. ugh.



Why take them all off? Just pick the f string that is the likely suspect, leaving its mate in place. Remove and reverse the badly behaved f string and see what happens. I have had this same problem with Aquila old formulation white colored plain nylgut strings on the cc course. On one occasion reversing one of the two fixed the problem. Just the other day I was changing strings and found I had a few single nygut gg and cc strings in the string drawer. I decided to match these with Pyramid lute wound strings. The gg was fine. A little stout sounding but the cc was hopeless and reversing one member of the pair changed nothing. I replaced the cc strings with Savarez Alliance KF strings. Good sound and no more problem.
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Badra
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[*] posted on 10-21-2019 at 11:14 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Brian Prunka  
It's certainly possible, particularly with non-rectified strings.


Brian, since you mentioned rectified, I need to know what the Aquila Lute rectified nylgut specs I need to order from you. I want standard tension on a 58.5cm scale oud. Arabic tuning with plain dd string. On your site I see all the strings, but I don't know exactly which to order to make my new set. I want to restring an aquila standard oud to aquila rectified.

Thanks.
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 10-21-2019 at 06:51 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Badra  
Quote: Originally posted by Brian Prunka  
It's certainly possible, particularly with non-rectified strings.


Brian, since you mentioned rectified, I need to know what the Aquila Lute rectified nylgut specs I need to order from you. I want standard tension on a 58.5cm scale oud. Arabic tuning with plain dd string. On your site I see all the strings, but I don't know exactly which to order to make my new set. I want to restring an aquila standard oud to aquila rectified.

Thanks.


Hi Badra, it depends on what tuning you are using. The closest option to replace the strings in a 13o set would be .56mm c' and .76mm g. For the d, it's not as direct a comparison but I would try .97mm or 1.0mm.
While .56 is the closest match for c', I'd recommend .58 as I feel that .56 is a little light.




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Badra
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[*] posted on 10-22-2019 at 10:30 AM


Great, thanks Brian. Would help if you had some this info in the descriptions or created a sizing chart or something for non-experts. How about for the Aquila Lute premium wound AA and FF?
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 10-22-2019 at 03:03 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Badra  
Great, thanks Brian. Would help if you had some this info in the descriptions or created a sizing chart or something for non-experts. How about for the Aquila Lute premium wound AA and FF?



Thanks for the suggestion.
Unfortunately there is no one size fits all option—the whole point of high-end strings is to match them to your specific oud and preferences.
Arab ouds vary continuously in size from 57cm to 63cm, people tune all over the place, there are floating bridges and fixed bridges, and then there are personal tastes and the idiosyncrasies of the individual oud regarding tension. Trying to account for all of those variables would require a book's worth of tables and charts, and the very real likelihood that the information would be used incorrectly anyway.
I may try to do this eventually, but at this time the oud string business is essentially a non-profit endeavor so taking on such a big project is not something I have time to do.





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Badra
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[*] posted on 10-22-2019 at 07:08 PM


Understandable. Thanks for running the shop and helping the oud community sound better. Could you still help me on the FF and AA Aquila lute strings? Really I have no idea which to choose on your site, something that would be similar to standard Aquila FF and AA. Or do you have another recommendation for wound bass strings?
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