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hans
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[*] posted on 1-17-2020 at 07:58 AM
sustain


Dear gentlemen, (is there even a lady on this forum?)

I bought my teacher's first 8 string oud, for nostalgic reasons; he wanted to get rid of it, i didn't want to let it go. He and a friend of his had been messing with the oud a lot, with several types of pickups, and I think they have been working on the braces too, as well as trying other methods of changing the sound. I even found a solid block of walnut in front of the bridge (under the soundboard). He doesn't remember why it is there.
Anyways, I don't like the sound. It is very hollow, and lacks almost all sustain. I like sustain.
Before flying to Istanbul with the instrument, I would like to try a few things to see if I can change the sound and sustain. I have already tried different bridge materials; they change things, but not much.
My questions is:
what do you think influences sustain especially in an oud?

Hope to hear from you!
Best regards,
Hans de Vries
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Jody Stecher
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[*] posted on 1-17-2020 at 02:15 PM



Some things that affect sustain are bracing, string tension and string type, bridge placement, bridge type, sound hole placement, type of wood of the soundboard, thickness of soundboard, finger pressure of the player and what is in the mind of the player. That's not a complete list.

I find that very short sustain is helpful for getting an old style Arabic sound. More sustain interferes with the authentic mood. Sustain in Turkish oud is another matter. It allows the oud player to evoke the feel of the music of the ney.
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hans
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[*] posted on 1-17-2020 at 03:13 PM


Hi Jody! Thanks for your reply! The Turkish sound is what I am after. I can imagine that all those things you mention matter, but the way you mention them can go both or many ways. I am not sure whether higher string tension is better for long or short sustain, though I have the feeling that the higher the tension the shorter the sustain. Many other things you mention, I have no idea how they affect sustain. Maybe you know of a source where I can find more info?
Best regards,
Hans
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Jody Stecher
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[*] posted on 1-17-2020 at 07:32 PM


All things being equal (which they rarely are) looser tension sometimes produces longer sustain.

Generally the qualities of an instrument are due to a combination of factors working together or sometimes working against each other (not necessarily a bad thing). The things I mentioned I never read anywhere. I just picked up ideas from spending time with luthiers and doing small experiments.

It seems to me that if the instrument is designed to efficiently transfer the energy of a vibrating string to the soundboard via the bridge (and then into the resonating chamber and out into the air as sound waves ) the sustain is likely to be shorter than if the energy is not well transferred because then the energy remains in the string which keeps vibrating longer. Sometimes the amplitude of the wave is less (it's quieter) in this situation but there are so many factors working together (or against each other), that I hesitate to generalize. And there is so much I do not know.
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hans
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[*] posted on 1-18-2020 at 12:18 AM


'the sustain is likely to be shorter than if the energy is not well transferred because then the energy remains in the string which keeps vibrating longer'.
But that is an interesting thing. I had never thought of it like that. Maybe bridge material after all
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suz_i_dil
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[*] posted on 1-18-2020 at 12:54 PM


hello Hans

8 courses.Wow.Is it playable, how do you deal with this ?

maybe you can share some picks to see it and what come to mind while seeing it.
First remove all kind of thick varnish on it
Let us see the bridge, making a much more smaller one can improve the sound very much. An accurate craftman can work the bridge directly on the oud...but beware of the soundboard of course.

This is how i dealt with an arabic mute oud once with good results, first two things many ouds i saw would deserve. But regarding the bridge, of course talking fix bridge.

You already tried several, so it is a floating bridge right ?
And sure, you already took off this block of walnut you are talking about ?

So then can be think res-haping the bowl to make it more light and shaping the braces. Can be without opening the oud but this deserve an experimented worker to deal with. i wouldnt have done it myself

Do you have an accurate measure of the soundboard thickness ? Braces size and mapping ?

Did you tried to change tuning to see how it react to different string tension ?

Of course cannot change everything if the wood are badly choosen but at least we can think about if some things to change appear obvious

hope everything is going fine for you !

Regards !




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hans
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[*] posted on 1-18-2020 at 02:09 PM


Hey suz_i_dil! Thanks for your interest. For the oud in working order, there's this video on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1riNpb5CnVE
I can share some recent picks later on, I don't have much accurate info right now, I have to measure first. I want to try several things, but reshaping the bowl goes a bit too far for me. If that is necessary I'll fly to Istanbul with it
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suz_i_dil
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[*] posted on 1-19-2020 at 01:59 AM


oohh that seem a very good basis ! Sorry i was imagining an oud like we see too oftenly. I mean good made, but cover with a thick varnish blanket and a kitchen cutting board as a bridge.
He doent seem so catastrophic. And les likely to find on this range of oud thick bowl. Can be wrong, impossible to say on a video, but i dont feel it is its problem

But what is this thing ahead the bridge ???? So you have 2 like this one under the soundboard and 1 one it ? Try to understand why they put this, but sure this is very wrong for your oud to ring
And i wonder also about the cover plate of the fingerboard ahead the soundboard. It must be so heavy depending its material and thickness. Do you really wish / need to keep extended fingerboard ?

Sure in Istanbul you will have excellent feedback for it. Try to show it to Mustafa Copcuoglu if you can.

Let us know, good luck !




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