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the_data_guy
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[*] posted on 3-19-2020 at 06:18 AM
Really need help picking strings


Hi All,

I'm fairly new to oud, to start. I'm taking Navid's online class and am doing some in-person work with a local guitarist that also knows Oud well. I am loving it so far, but there isn't a ton of information about things like oud strings around (compared to something like guitar). That being said, I've been trying to find the right strings to replace the old, piecemeal guitar strings on my oud. Scale length (standard bridge) is 62cm. There are 12 pegs, the oud is Arabic. I only use 11 of the pegs, with a single bass string. Tuning is CFAdgc.

I've been looking at the new Aquila 13O and the Orange Label Pyramid's (650, possibly 652) but I don't know enough to understand how they affect sound. The most important things to me are warmish sound (somewhat bright is ok), as little squeak as possible (not sure if different bass string materials help much with that).

As a side note, I'm not 100% sure which pegs to use for which string. Seems like every resource I've seen does it differently, which is typical for oud. I can post pictures of where the peg holes are if that helps. If it sounds like I'm a beginner, it's because I am.

Thanks all, definitely glad to be a part of this community!
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[*] posted on 3-19-2020 at 06:27 AM


Welcome to the forums.

Two of our members have online information that will be of great help to you.

Mavrothis (Mavrothi T. Kontanis) Assistance with which strings go where http://www.oudcafe.com/stringing_and_tuning.htm

Brian Prunka - Expert advice and supply of oud strings https://www.oudstrings.com/ (temporarily offline)

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[*] posted on 3-19-2020 at 09:09 AM


Quote: Originally posted by the_data_guy  
Hi All,

I'm fairly new to oud, to start. I'm taking Navid's online class and am doing some in-person work with a local guitarist that also knows Oud well. I am loving it so far, but there isn't a ton of information about things like oud strings around (compared to something like guitar). That being said, I've been trying to find the right strings to replace the old, piecemeal guitar strings on my oud. Scale length (standard bridge) is 62cm. There are 12 pegs, the oud is Arabic. I only use 11 of the pegs, with a single bass string. Tuning is CFAdgc.

I've been looking at the new Aquila 13O and the Orange Label Pyramid's (650, possibly 652) but I don't know enough to understand how they affect sound. The most important things to me are warmish sound (somewhat bright is ok), as little squeak as possible (not sure if different bass string materials help much with that).

As a side note, I'm not 100% sure which pegs to use for which string. Seems like every resource I've seen does it differently, which is typical for oud. I can post pictures of where the peg holes are if that helps. If it sounds like I'm a beginner, it's because I am.

Thanks all, definitely glad to be a part of this community!


Try the D'Addario EJ95A oud strings. They sound good on almost anything and are not expensive. There are numerous problems with Aquila strings as they frequently change their formulation, not always for the better. Plus 62cm might be a bit long for Aquila tension.
Use the "threadwalker" or search function to find a map for stringing. The basic idea is first the side of the pegbox near the treble cc, then the other side for gg, then one up for DD then back across for AA, then one up for one F and the other F on the other side. and then the bass where it seems best, usually the "bass side". There are indeed variations but I like this way.
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the_data_guy
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[*] posted on 3-19-2020 at 03:43 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Jody Stecher  
Quote: Originally posted by the_data_guy  
Hi All,

I'm fairly new to oud, to start. I'm taking Navid's online class and am doing some in-person work with a local guitarist that also knows Oud well. I am loving it so far, but there isn't a ton of information about things like oud strings around (compared to something like guitar). That being said, I've been trying to find the right strings to replace the old, piecemeal guitar strings on my oud. Scale length (standard bridge) is 62cm. There are 12 pegs, the oud is Arabic. I only use 11 of the pegs, with a single bass string. Tuning is CFAdgc.

I've been looking at the new Aquila 13O and the Orange Label Pyramid's (650, possibly 652) but I don't know enough to understand how they affect sound. The most important things to me are warmish sound (somewhat bright is ok), as little squeak as possible (not sure if different bass string materials help much with that).

As a side note, I'm not 100% sure which pegs to use for which string. Seems like every resource I've seen does it differently, which is typical for oud. I can post pictures of where the peg holes are if that helps. If it sounds like I'm a beginner, it's because I am.

Thanks all, definitely glad to be a part of this community!


Try the D'Addario EJ95A oud strings. They sound good on almost anything and are not expensive. There are numerous problems with Aquila strings as they frequently change their formulation, not always for the better. Plus 62cm might be a bit long for Aquila tension.
Use the "threadwalker" or search function to find a map for stringing. The basic idea is first the side of the pegbox near the treble cc, then the other side for gg, then one up for DD then back across for AA, then one up for one F and the other F on the other side. and then the bass where it seems best, usually the "bass side". There are indeed variations but I like this way.


Thank you for the recommendation! I've heard that silver-coated strings are a bit more squeaky...is that true? I hadn't looked at D'Addario, so this is already helping.

I'll dig further into the forums. I've found a ton of threads, but my oud is a bit different from others so I wasn't certain that I should do it the same way. Also, people had conflicting ideas. I'll go ahead and try your method. Thanks!
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[*] posted on 3-19-2020 at 05:14 PM


In my opinion *strings* are not squeaky, *players* are squeaky. I do like copper wound strings including the original Aquila formulation but non-squeakiness is not a factor. Push the fingers to the fingerboard hard enough and no harder. That should minimize "squeakage" when you lift off and move up or down the string. I know one excellent guitar player who uses very dark sounding nickel-wound strings. He squeaks anyway.
My best advice: focus on playing in tune and getting good tone and rhythm and don't worry about peripheral things like squeaks.
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-20-2020 at 06:03 AM


Welcome to the oud!
The EJ95A set is good, I helped D'addario develop it in fact, and was aiming for a tension slightly lower than the Pyramid 650/11 set. They didn't follow all of my recommendations, particularly with the 3rd dd course.
But the tension on it is still a bit high I think for a 62cm oud. Not likely to be dangerous, but still higher than I would use.
The Aquila 13o set is low tension and should work, or their newly issued nylgut sets (if you can find them) should also be fine.

I would normally make you a custom set but I've had to temporarily stop shipping orders due to the current situation in NYC.




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the_data_guy
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[*] posted on 3-21-2020 at 10:50 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Jody Stecher  
In my opinion *strings* are not squeaky, *players* are squeaky. I do like copper wound strings including the original Aquila formulation but non-squeakiness is not a factor. Push the fingers to the fingerboard hard enough and no harder. That should minimize "squeakage" when you lift off and move up or down the string. I know one excellent guitar player who uses very dark sounding nickel-wound strings. He squeaks anyway.
My best advice: focus on playing in tune and getting good tone and rhythm and don't worry about peripheral things like squeaks.


That's good to know. I'll follow your advice, then. Thanks for the education, I hadn't known what caused the squeaking!
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[*] posted on 3-21-2020 at 10:55 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Brian Prunka  
Welcome to the oud!
The EJ95A set is good, I helped D'addario develop it in fact, and was aiming for a tension slightly lower than the Pyramid 650/11 set. They didn't follow all of my recommendations, particularly with the 3rd dd course.
But the tension on it is still a bit high I think for a 62cm oud. Not likely to be dangerous, but still higher than I would use.
The Aquila 13o set is low tension and should work, or their newly issued nylgut sets (if you can find them) should also be fine.

I would normally make you a custom set but I've had to temporarily stop shipping orders due to the current situation in NYC.


Appreciate the info! Sorry to hear about the situation in NYC...I'd definitely love to work with you in developing a custom set. Do the strings get damaged by taking them on and off? I ask because I may want to get multiple types to try out.

Regarding the Aquila 13o set, is that the newest series that they have? It was pretty confusing on the forums, since it seems like that set has been changed a number of times with some sets criticized and others admired. I found that set on stringsandbeyond, stringsbymail, and amazon but I'm not sure what "version" they have. Any advice there? I ordered the D'addario set on Amazon but can easily return it if you think the 13o might work better for the size of oud I have.
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[*] posted on 3-21-2020 at 12:22 PM


I often use the D'Addario set on an oud with a scale of 61.5 and it does not feel tight or produce a constricted sound. Sometimes I use other sets such as Pyramid Lute, MusiCaravan, or the old Aquila nylgut set. Right now I've got Aquilas on there (with different trebles) and there's plenty of squeak or very little or none at all depending on how I play. SOME squeak is inevitable on wound strings but I don't see it as a problem. All musical instruments produce a bit of extraneous noise when they are played. It's not worth worrying about. I do find that the copper winding produces a sound that is a bit less bright than other windings produce but that has no effect on squeaking. Friction makes noise.
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[*] posted on 3-22-2020 at 06:31 AM


Quote: Originally posted by the_data_guy  


Appreciate the info! Sorry to hear about the situation in NYC...I'd definitely love to work with you in developing a custom set. Do the strings get damaged by taking them on and off? I ask because I may want to get multiple types to try out.


The plain trebles and the wound d often get slight imperfections from playing and taking them off and putting them back on risks creating further damage or that the imperfections will end up in the vibrating length of the string rather than at or behind the nut (where they don't impact the sound).

Quote: Originally posted by the_data_guy  

Regarding the Aquila 13o set, is that the newest series that they have? It was pretty confusing on the forums, since it seems like that set has been changed a number of times with some sets criticized and others admired. I found that set on stringsandbeyond, stringsbymail, and amazon but I'm not sure what "version" they have. Any advice there? I ordered the D'addario set on Amazon but can easily return it if you think the 13o might work better for the size of oud I have.


If you want to know what a particular seller is selling, you have to ask them. As far as I understand, the 13o is the 13o, whichever version it is.

The new/old set is the "super nylgut set", no product number that I can see.

https://aquilacorde.com/en/shop/modern-instrument-string-sets/oud-en...




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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-22-2020 at 07:37 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Jody Stecher  
I often use the D'Addario set on an oud with a scale of 61.5 and it does not feel tight or produce a constricted sound. Sometimes I use other sets such as Pyramid Lute, MusiCaravan, or the old Aquila nylgut set. .


That's good to hear. I'm going by the calculated tensions, which at 615mm are okay though higher than I like personally (about 3.6Kg average, I prefer something more like 3.2-3.3Kg). So 62cm is going to be even higher (about 3.7Kg), but not dangerously so.
The set is very close in tension to the Pyramid 650/11, which is 3.61Kg average at 61cm (so about 3.7Kg at 61.5).

D'addario doesn't make a truly light wound d, so that is the one that ends up being quite high in tension on this set, noticeably higher than the Pyramid 650 d course.

But as alway, every oud is different and some might feel fine with higher tension while others might feel tense with lower tension, even at the same scale length. Glad that the set is working out well for your oud.




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[*] posted on 3-22-2020 at 04:39 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Brian Prunka  
Quote: Originally posted by Jody Stecher  
I often use the D'Addario set on an oud with a scale of 61.5 and it does not feel tight or produce a constricted sound. Sometimes I use other sets such as Pyramid Lute, MusiCaravan, or the old Aquila nylgut set. .


That's good to hear. I'm going by the calculated tensions, which at 615mm are okay though higher than I like personally (about 3.6Kg average, I prefer something more like 3.2-3.3Kg). So 62cm is going to be even higher (about 3.7Kg), but not dangerously so.
The set is very close in tension to the Pyramid 650/11, which is 3.61Kg average at 61cm (so about 3.7Kg at 61.5).

D'addario doesn't make a truly light wound d, so that is the one that ends up being quite high in tension on this set, noticeably higher than the Pyramid 650 d course.

But as alway, every oud is different and some might feel fine with higher tension while others might feel tense with lower tension, even at the same scale length. Glad that the set is working out well for your oud.


Given everything you both have said, I went ahead and got the white/silver super nygluts. I like them much better without the red coloring, frankly. Looks like most stores don't have it either, so I had to get it shipped to the US. Oh well. Might send the D'addarios back but I'm not 100% yet. Do strings "go bad" at all? Debating whether to send the D'addarios back or not.

- Chase
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[*] posted on 3-22-2020 at 05:13 PM


Quote: Originally posted by the_data_guy  

Looks like most stores don't have it either, so I had to get it shipped to the US.



Oh, no! If you wanted the new Aquila strings, you could have emailed Curtis at aquilastrings@gmail.com. He got a shipment recently in the US and it's much cheaper to buy from him than shipping from Europe. I guess at least now you know for the future?
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[*] posted on 3-23-2020 at 07:54 PM


Quote: Originally posted by MoH  
Quote: Originally posted by the_data_guy  

Looks like most stores don't have it either, so I had to get it shipped to the US.



Oh, no! If you wanted the new Aquila strings, you could have emailed Curtis at aquilastrings@gmail.com. He got a shipment recently in the US and it's much cheaper to buy from him than shipping from Europe. I guess at least now you know for the future?


Oh whoops LOL not too big of a deal. Shipping was about $17 bucks, but I guess you gotta learn somehow, right? Thanks for the information. I'll definitely reach out to Curtis in the future if I need Aquilas.
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[*] posted on 3-23-2020 at 08:55 PM


Whatever strings you use, they are going to wear out eventually and you will want to replace them with a new set of the same kind or a different set. Whatever you use, if the tension is too much, just tune down a bit until it feels and sounds better.
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[*] posted on 3-23-2020 at 08:59 PM


Quote: Originally posted by the_data_guy  
Quote: Originally posted by Brian Prunka  
Quote: Originally posted by Jody Stecher  
I often use the D'Addario set on an oud with a scale of 61.5 and it does not feel tight or produce a constricted sound. Sometimes I use other sets such as Pyramid Lute, MusiCaravan, or the old Aquila nylgut set. .


That's good to hear. I'm going by the calculated tensions, which at 615mm are okay though higher than I like personally (about 3.6Kg average, I prefer something more like 3.2-3.3Kg). So 62cm is going to be even higher (about 3.7Kg), but not dangerously so.
The set is very close in tension to the Pyramid 650/11, which is 3.61Kg average at 61cm (so about 3.7Kg at 61.5).

D'addario doesn't make a truly light wound d, so that is the one that ends up being quite high in tension on this set, noticeably higher than the Pyramid 650 d course.

But as alway, every oud is different and some might feel fine with higher tension while others might feel tense with lower tension, even at the same scale length. Glad that the set is working out well for your oud.


Given everything you both have said, I went ahead and got the white/silver super nygluts. I like them much better without the red coloring, frankly. Looks like most stores don't have it either, so I had to get it shipped to the US. Oh well. Might send the D'addarios back but I'm not 100% yet. Do strings "go bad" at all? Debating whether to send the D'addarios back or not.

- Chase


You know I need to qualify my previous comment. Tonight I was playing an old oud of mine whose scale is 62. It's really different than 61.5. I keep it tuned down a step. I would hesitate using D'Addarios tuned up to pitch on that oud.
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[*] posted on 3-24-2020 at 03:26 AM


When did Aquila come out with the white/silver super nyglut? Id been trying to convince them for a year to go back to produce the sets that preceded the all red/ brown DD. There were a lot of problems with that set compared to the others.
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[*] posted on 3-24-2020 at 11:33 AM


Quote: Originally posted by JassimbinMater  
When did Aquila come out with the white/silver super nyglut? Id been trying to convince them for a year to go back to produce the sets that preceded the all red/ brown DD. There were a lot of problems with that set compared to the others.


It's been about a month, and they're available in the US since last week. The CFA strings are white in color, silver-plated copper winding, the D is also wound but it's a darker gray color (don't know what it is with Aquila and the D string), and the g/c are white nylgut.
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[*] posted on 3-27-2020 at 08:32 AM


Quote: Originally posted by MoH  
Quote: Originally posted by JassimbinMater  
When did Aquila come out with the white/silver super nyglut? Id been trying to convince them for a year to go back to produce the sets that preceded the all red/ brown DD. There were a lot of problems with that set compared to the others.


It's been about a month, and they're available in the US since last week. The CFA strings are white in color, silver-plated copper winding, the D is also wound but it's a darker gray color (don't know what it is with Aquila and the D string), and the g/c are white nylgut.


[UPDATE] I just finished putting on the new supernygluts (white/grey/silver) from Aquila. It's going to take some time for the tuning to settle, but they sound great so far. I'll have to wait another week before I can give a solid review. Thank you to everyone on here for the advice and discussion, it's great to see this community is still active!
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