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Author: Subject: Help for buying my first Oud
chwi
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[*] posted on 10-30-2019 at 04:41 AM
Help for buying my first Oud


Hello everyone,

I just logged in a minute ago to get your help for buying my first Oud. Please excuse my english and please excuse, if this kind of questioning is not wanted in your forum.

I tryed one of the Thomann-Ouds, but I'm going to send it back, because I don't like it too much. It doesn't seem to well built and the Sound is rather thin, from my rather unexperienced perspective on Ouds.

Of course I highly consider getting one of the Syrian or Apprentice Ouds from MauriceOudShop, but I also found two Ibrahim Sukar Ouds on ebay. I hope its okay to post these links:

https://www.ebay.de/itm/PROFESSIONAL-SYRIAN-OUD-MADE-BY-IBRAHIM-SUKA...

https://www.ebay.de/itm/Oud-Ibrahim-Sukkar/223529728277?ssPageName=S...

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these and any tips for getting a good sounding Oud. My budget is not too high, but I'd like to have a good and lasting Instrument.
As you can tell by these links I'm located in Germany.

Any help is most welcome, thank you so much. :)
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MattOud
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[*] posted on 10-30-2019 at 05:06 AM


hi chwi,
I was in a similar situation when i first started looking. I can help with some advice, and maybe others will add...

I now have 2 syrian OUDs(down from 3)...one is a Sukar!
see here, post #2 for my sukar:http://www.mikeouds.com/messageboard/viewthread.php?tid=17164

I love my sukar as the sound is amazing for a fair price, however, in my case, in order to obtain this sound, i wanted a luthier set-up, meaning, my local luthier set it up as it needed some work. In my case i got new pegs, strings and fingerboard.

Looking and listening to the first oud in your link, please note that that sukar is 58.5cm string length...wheras oud #2 is 60cm. Both my OUDS are 60 and 61.5cm and I personally like it a bit longer although 58.5cm is std arabic length.

I don't like the sound of OUD #1 in video. Definitely does not sound like my sukar. Maybe it needs better strings.

I do indeed feel they are both sukars however. With a good eye, you can tell by seeing the head of a pin sized nail just above where the neck joins the body on the back side. This pin is a part of the internal mechanism that sukars have, since sukars have a neck adjustment ability, to fix action in the off-seasons.... I can see this pin in both pics so they seem to be sukars.

Personally, by look, i like oud #2. It looks better to me, looks like it would/should sound good. If it were local to me, i would check it out myself. If you can get a sound clip or something from seller #2, you can see if you like the sound. I bet it sounds great!

lastly, Sukar is making ouds again!!! You may be better off to contact him directly via instagram/facebook and request one built right for you!

Hope this helps a little.....
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danieletarab
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[*] posted on 10-30-2019 at 05:24 AM


Hello, welcome to the Oud family!
Sukar ouds are very often the first good choice for beginners, so I guess that it would be suitable for your needs if your budget is around 600 euro.
Otherwise you have to up to 1000 or 1200 euro for a professional one and you would find many more options.
Be aware that Zaher Khalifeh, a great syrian Maker moved to Bremen (Germany), and he makes beautiful professional ouds from 1100 euro as far as I know.
You can also keep one eye on the BUY AND SELL section of this forum. Right in this moment there are several ouds that could be good for your needs and budget.
Sukar is however a good choice.
If you have any other doubts feel free to write here!
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chwi
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[*] posted on 11-1-2019 at 05:23 AM


Hello MattOud, Hello danieletarab!

Thank you so much for your advice! :D
I did try contact the seller on ebay for the second Oud days ago, but he didn't answer yet. Also I spend the last days listening to all kinds of Ouds in soundclips, but I find it so hard to tell if the sound is good from these. The same Instrument sounds different in different rooms, with different microphones, different positioning of the mice, different players, different strings etc.

So I thought that instead of searching for sound in videos, I'd better search for what I want in the way the instrument is built, meaning wood, size, string length, string type, soundwholes and so on.
The sound I'm looking for is ... hard to describe. I like nylon guitars, because they sound warm and full, without too much treble. Nylon guitars feel like home to me, like a hug. Probably because my Mom played hers for me, when I was in her belly. :) So I'd like a Oud with a deep Sound, a lasting Bass and Midrange tone for slow and melancholy melodies, you know :D. Rhythmic playing is second to that. The Oud I tryed from Thomann sounded thin to me, like a voice sounds thin when you're on the phone (on my phone :D).

My decisions so far: - Arabic Oud for deeper tuning, but I don't know what difference the size does to the sound (my hands are big enough, I play double bass)
- Wood: Maybe Walnut Bowl? For the Soundboard, well I like the Red Cedar, because of it's colour :D sorry, I'm a noob, I know
- Maybe one Soundhole is better then three for me, because it sounds more ... inside/ introverted?
- Stings: I'll just try different ones, I already have the Aquila Nylgut
- Luthier: No idea what they sound like, any suggestions?
- What else should I think about?

Yes, I know all the informations I need are somewhere in the depths of this forum and the internet, but I couldn't find them yet.
Also I did check out Sukars webside and found Zaher Khalifeh on Facebook!
Again, thank you so much for your help, guys!
Oudlove :)
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MattOud
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[*] posted on 11-1-2019 at 06:04 AM


Hi Oudlove,

We come a similar background. I play guitar, and own a taylor 614ce as one of 6 guitars i have, and also have owned nylon guitars(larivee and yamaha) for recording as well. I am partial to similar sounds as you i think.

The thing is, similar to a guitar, it really is the soundboard(wood facing us with the 3 holes) that determine the projected sound volume. For example, woods with unfinished surfaces of cedar or spruce, being lighter, porous, and more able to vibrate, can project the sound, similar to a classical(nylon) guitar. And like with a guitar, spruce takes a bit longer to 'open up' to achieve the sweet sound we love. If you get a cedar soundboard, you will probably achieve the sound you like, or spruce if it is broken in, or wait and maybe mic the oud in the meanwhile...

The wood of the bowl, although nice looking, doesn't affect the sound as negatively as one might think. There is some discussion between some luthiers as to how exactly the bowl wood affects the sound. The bowl size can give a deeper bass, but the actual wood may not play as big a role as we may think. ...I have even read discussion on how the sound may enter and exit the oud depending on how the bowl is shaped...and some are experimenting with this...but on the whole... the soundboard is what is more important in this regard...
My point is, i have heard (and played) some ouds even with a crack in the bowl, and it hardly affected the sound...as long as the soundboard and OUD setup(action) were good, it can still be very playable..

I am not sure about inside/introverted sound on your classicals. I think you mean you like the sound more contained in the instrument...but i think the best classical/nylons are the ones that actual project the sound louder? Do you feel different here? For example, like this projected: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCeebWgjrrU

Strings, Brian from the forum here can better help you further here. Strings are a huge discussion here...even with those who have good ouds, seem always wanting better sounding...and are always trying new things. This is were the string length of the oud(58.5cm etc...) is important to learn what may work for your oud. You have to get the string tensions for your oud correct, so there is no undue strain on the neck.

Luthier= a professional OUD repairman. Maybe someone from the forum in Germany can help you find a luthier. This is my own personal belief, and others may differ, but i really believe it is actual almost mandatory to have the OUD looked at and setup correctly for the best sound/play. I think some may be afraid to add this extra expense, but for me where i live it is almost no charge really. My luthier can set up an oud for me for around 200-250$. I think that is super cheap and i have had 2 unusable ouds fixed to excellent shapes!

My advice on ebay is this.... If you contact someone, and they don't reply, certainly within a day or two, I would NOT consider buying. On the other hand, if someone gets back, answers your questions politely, you have a MUCH better chance of NOT GETTING A LEMON! No matter how nice the OUD, walk!

btw- I had a zaher khalifeh and it sounded absolutely amazing. I sold it because i learned i prefer(for now) a 6 course OUD ,rather that the 7 course that it was. But he is a very great Oud maker!

Hope this helps a bit....
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danieletarab
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[*] posted on 11-1-2019 at 10:21 AM


Dear Oudlove,
First, set your budget and try to understand if you want a relatevily cheap ready oud or you want to ask a luthier to make one (which it won't cost you less than 1000 or 1100 euro).
About the string's lenght, I would follow the Brian Punka's advice: He is one of the most oud experts in the forum and he finds that 60cm is perfect if you can choose. That doesn't mean that 58,50 or 61cm aren't good of course!
Then go for an oud that you find nice looking :)
If you choose to ask a luthier to make one, what better choice to go to Bremen and talk directly to Zaher Khalifeh?
Otherwise, I would stick to Sukar ouds; he's the most reliable medium range oud maker. If you get an oud of his you're sure that you're getting a decent oud.
Don't trust videos and soundclips too much: the sound depends a lot on the strings, on the risha, on the mic and especially on the player! Bad players get <b>shoot</b>ty sound out of the best ouds while good players get beautiful sound out of <b>shoot</b>ty ouds!
About strings... Don't bother too much. You will think about it later, and again, Brian Punka can give you the best advices about it. First, get the oud and then think of the strings.
And last, be aware that in the beginning you are not going to like the sound of the oud you buy: you need time to understand how to make it sound properly.
When my Faruk Turunz oud arrived in my house I thought it was horrible: after 2 weeks I was extremely happy with it!
Just get a decent oud and sound will come later because sound depends very much on how we play.







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