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Author: Subject: Zan (beech) fingerboard - valid?
SV_T_oud
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[*] posted on 10-30-2019 at 08:21 AM
Zan (beech) fingerboard - valid?


I just contacted someone on eBay who is selling Syrian Zeryab-1 ouds.
I asked them what was the fingerboard made of because I suspected it was made of Walnut which is a not so good option compared to much harder Ebony or at least Rosewood.

Their reply actually surprised me:
"The fingerboard and the neck for this oud made of zan wood not of walnut wood. But I think walnut is better than zan wood..."

So it's Beech neck and even fingerboard? I don't think beech is a valid hardwood for fingerboards at all in terms of wear resistance.
Any thoughts on that?
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SV_T_oud
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[*] posted on 10-31-2019 at 07:12 AM


Anyone?
Just tell me what you think - you don't have to be an expert.
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Jason
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[*] posted on 10-31-2019 at 09:09 AM


I've seen beech fingerboard ouds online but never played one in person. I think the hardness is comparable to walnut (for American species anyway). I suspect beech is used on ouds coming out of Syria, Egypt, etc. due to availability or cost of imported hardwoods.
Personally I would stick with ebony both for its look and durability.
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 10-31-2019 at 09:16 AM


Hardness ratings (higher numbers are harder):

Ebony: 2400-3200 (depending on variety)
Brazilian Rosewood: 2790
Indian Rosewood: 2440
European Beech 1450
American Beech: 1290
Walnut: 950-1300 (depending on variety)

So, Beech is fairly hard, harder than most walnut, but nowhere close to rosewood or ebony.




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SV_T_oud
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[*] posted on 10-31-2019 at 11:15 AM


That's what I think as well.
Zeryab ouds are advertised on this site and I thought they were of superb quality but apparently materials used for fingerboard speak for themselves.
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 10-31-2019 at 12:11 PM


Quote: Originally posted by SV_T_oud  
That's what I think as well.
Zeryab ouds are advertised on this site and I thought they were of superb quality but apparently materials used for fingerboard speak for themselves.


Zeryab makes a wide range of ouds. Some of the higher end ones seem to be quite good, but the lower end ones are hit and miss. They're mostly ok student instruments at the lower end, serviceable but not amazing.




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SV_T_oud
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[*] posted on 10-31-2019 at 01:00 PM


Thank you for the information, Brian.
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ChanningPDX
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[*] posted on 11-7-2019 at 01:16 PM


I purchased a used Zeryab Shami 1 oud about a year ago from an eBay seller in California.

I also assumed the fingerboard was made from walnut. That's certainly what it looks like to me. (My oud is several years old, so perhaps they changed woods at some point.)

In any case, when I received it, there were visible gouges under the rast (C) and jaharka (F) notes on the fingerboard. I filled them with superglue and leveled them with a sharp razor blade and fine sandpaper. Then I applied several coats of liquid epoxy to the fingerboard sanding between coats (like what fretless bass players often do.) I wouldn't necessarily recommend anyone doing this--it's time-consuming, very toxic, and easy to screw up, but in my case, it worked! The fingerboard is now hard as a rock and has not shown any signs of wear in the past year.

The other two issues with my Zeryab oud were that the pegs were made from soft, cheap wood dyed black and the nut was also made from cheap wood. I replaced the nut with a bone nut from Yaron Naor, bored out some of the peg holes for a better fit, and used a lot of peg dope, and that did the job decently well. I'd still like to replace the pegs with something better eventually, but they work well enough now.

With German Kürschner strings, the oud sounds great now. I like it better than most of the other ouds I've tried in the under-$1,000 range, anyway. I'd certainly recommend the Zeryab Shami 1 to anyone prepared to put about $100-200 into upgrades and modifications. I got mine for less than $300, so it was totally worth it. Not so sure I'd say the same had I bought it new for $700-800, which is what they often seem to go for from online retailers.
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NafQan
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[*] posted on 11-21-2019 at 06:33 PM


Quote: Originally posted by SV_T_oud  
That's what I think as well.
Zeryab ouds are advertised on this site and I thought they were of superb quality but apparently materials used for fingerboard speak for themselves.

Beech is not a bad material for the neck or body, on the contrary in Syria it is highly appreciated, and usually ouds made with Zan are prized higher than walnut ones. Zan has a lovely red colour and is not as heavy as rosewood and it has fair strength. I hope that you will enjoy your oud.
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