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Author: Subject: New player with questions
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Registered: 1-11-2021
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[*] posted on 1-12-2021 at 03:00 AM
New player with questions

Hi all,
So I bought my lovely Syrian oud about 2 years ago with the intention of learning to play, but about two weeks later my job informed me I would have to move to another country. I opted not to take the oud as the country I moved to has extremely high humidity. I am now back with my beautiful oud and want to pick up where I left off (the absolute beginning).
It has been in a soft case for the past 2 years, untouched and unplayed. I'm wondering if I should get new strings? I've been practicing by using the Oud for Guitarists beginner's course and it sounds okay to me, but I'm not sure about these things. I do find that some strings seem impossible to tune precisely to my tuner and are always either a little sharp or a little flat, no matter how minutely I turn the peg. Perhaps this is normal?

As I am finally off on this new journey I will be coming here and elsewhere for advice and help. My first realization is that I really know nothing about music. I am currently learning how to read musical notation as that seems like it will be quite useful. I'm wondering how deep to dive into Western music theory as it seems the Eastern theory is a bit different.

Are there any recommended exercises or scales to learn and work on a lot for new players? I am currently practicing an hour or two a day and intend to keep that pace.

As is probably normal for beginners tremolo is extremely difficult! Also, my fingers hurt! Need to develop those callouses I suppose.
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Jody Stecher
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Posts: 1215
Registered: 11-5-2011
Location: California
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[*] posted on 1-12-2021 at 09:44 AM

Under normal circumstances strings do not wear out during storage. So you are probably fine with what you have, providing that the strings that are on your oud are within the correct range for the tuning you are using.

Your fingers should not hurt. Maybe you are pushing too hard or perhaps the strings are too high above the fingerboard.

Electronic tuners are good for getting *close* to in tune. Different brands do not agree as to what is in tune. Different models within the same brand do not agree. Different specimens of the same model do not agree! But these are minute differences that you are unlikely to perceive at the start. To begin to develop your ear and to learn to tune first make sure that your pegs are turning smoothly and that the strings are not getting caught in the nut. If the string pitch *jumps* from too low to too high (or vice versa) rather than moving through a continuum of microtones, that means there is a problem with the nut or the pegs. Both are easily fixed. If the tuning moves smoothly begin to affirm whether your strings are in tune or not, by using your ears. You can use your eyes as well but do listen. Does it sound in tune to you? If so, don't worry about what a meter says. If not, tune the strings until it sounds right. If this is too difficult ask Navid (at oud for guitarists) for his advice. He is an experienced musician and teacher and is likely to have good advice.
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