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[*] posted on 10-20-2007 at 10:15 AM
A FAQs thread...

Hey everybody,

I think it is finally time to make a thread where some of the most commonly asked questions by newcomers can be answered all in one thread. Greg had suggested this awhile ago, and I had told him that the search feature in the forums is very useful. Now that the forums have so many threads and so much information...thanks to you all....it would be nice if some of the more frequent answers to questions can be all in one spot.


Addendum added by Greg - 12 March 2012

This thread was started in 2007 and has been dormant for a long time. As we get more and more new members with more and more of the same 'new member' questions, this thread needs to play a more important role.

Member 'MatthewW' suggested a thorough updating of all information and has kindly done all the research and collation to make this happen. He has included all of the information from the few member posts on this thread and we have therefore deleted those posts. Thanks to those who took the time to provide that information.

In order to keep this thread from becoming too long, all additions and amendments will be added by the moderators, in consultation with MatthewW. Suggestions for additions and amendments should be sent by U2U to MatthewW.



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7-20-2010 at 07:00 AM
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3-12-2012 at 05:46 AM

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[*] posted on 3-12-2012 at 06:08 AM

FAQs 1

Looking for your first oud?

There are usually two ways to buy your first oud. You can have one of the oudmakers in the list below make one according to your specifications or sell you one they have recently made, or you can purchase one from another source.
A newcomer may ask is “where can I find an oud for $200?” This is like asking “where can I find a good automobile for $200?” You may find an automobile for $200, but chances are you will need to spend a good deal more on repairs to get it in driving condition.
It’s the same with an oud. Try to avoid buying a mass produced or a ‘tourist’ oud, and though there are many online sites like ebay where you might get lucky and find a decent oud, unless you know what to look for chances are you’ll end up with an instrument that may require extra work to make it playable, or may end up hanging on your wall as a decoration.
Budget as much as you can for an oud, you’ll be glad you did. You’ll have an instrument that will play and sound well, and you’ll be able to sell it at a fair price should you want to upgrade later.
An excellent source for good pre-loved ouds is the buy and sell section of mikeouds forums. However, purchasing an oud from a member of these forums is not a guarantee that it will be as described. Always do your own due diligence.

If you come across an oud for sale anywhere that you are not sure about, you can always ask about it in the forum; there are experienced members here who give you advice and help you make a good choice.
Below is a list of oudmakers who can answer your questions and offer professional advice. Spend some time looking through their websites, and enjoy the journey!

Oud makers:

Faruk Türünz: http://www.oudmaster.com
Ejder Gulec: http://www.ejdermusic.com
Yildrim Palabuyik: http://www.turkishouds.com
Sadettin Sandi: http://www.cankayamuzikevi.com
Cengiz Sarikus: http://www.veyselmuzik.com
Emir Degirmenli: http://www.emirudlari.com/
Mustafa Copcuoglu: http://www.mustafacopcuoglu.com/
Hüseyin Aktel: http://www.aktelud.com/
Ali Nişadır: http://www.udmaker.com

Nazih Ghadban: http://www.oudnazihghadban.com
Fadi Matta: http://www.fadimatta.com/
Georges Bitar: http://oudgeorgesbitar.com/index_files/Index_En.htm

Israel and Palestine:
Kamil Mowais: tel: ++ (972) 46574168 (Arabic only)
Hatem Joubran: tel: ++ (972) 46575585 (Arabic)
Baqah Al-Gharbiah:
Yousef Abu Alaa: ( 972) 503092303 (Arabic only)
for English help with the above oudmakers contact: alfarabymusic@gmail.com
Ramallah: Samer Totah: http://www.samertotah.com
Philip Shaheen, Tarhiha (Carbon Fiber ouds): philip4367@gmail.com

Michael Moussa: http://www.magicstrings.co.uk/
Mike Cameron: London. tel: 07581425731 (repairs and advice/installation of pick-ups)

Dimitris Rapakousios: http://www.dimitrisouds.com
Jannis Alexandris: http://sites.google.com/site/alexandrisjannis/Home
Tasos Theodorakis: http://www.theodorakis.name/uk/frameset.html

Samir Abbassi: samir.abbassi@gmail.com

Matthias Wagner: http://www.lutes-strings.de/english/Aoud.php

Romauld Provost, Paris: http://www.provost-guitare.com/contacts.html
Olivier Planchon: http://www.olivierplanchon.com/page-ouds
Wolfgang Früh (Paris): http://www.lepointdaccroche.com
Wissam Joubran: http://www.wissamjoubran.com/

Maurice Shehata: http://www.mauriceouds.com/

Ibrahim Sukar: http://www.oudsukar.com
Samir Azar: (no contact details currently available)
Zaher Khalifah: (no contact details currently available)

Foad Jihad:
Fawzi Munshid: http://www.fawzimonshed.com/ tel: (964) 7801317316

Khalid Belhaiba: http://www.belhaibaoud.net/
Bouchta Diwani: tel: (212) 062-61-23-77

Abdalhamid Haddad: tel: (00216) 72 384 791

Ridha Jendoubi:

Sa'ad Al-Tayyar: saadaltayyar@hotmail.com
Samir Nassif: New instruments and repairs, Ottawa
samir_nassif@hotmail.com http://samirnassifoudluthiery.blogspot.com/

Ismail Fencioglu: http://www.canadianoudshop.com
Ibrahim Holoubi: Ibrahim frequently has Sukar ouds and other decent playable ouds in stock. : ibrahim_holoubi@yahoo.com or send a U2U to ExtreamTarab.
Claude Guibord: http://www.metierdart.com/luthiers/claude_guibord.htm
(oud and lute repair work)

Viken Najarian: http://www.oud.net
Jameel Khalaf Abraham: http://www.khalafoud.com/
John Vergara: http://www.johnvergaramusic.com/
Richard Hankey aka Dr Oud: http://www.droud.com/ (restoration, Nahat Specialist)
Najab Shaheen: http://www.oudman.com/ (also repair and restoration)

Differences between Arabic and Turkish ouds:

Ask yourself which musical style would I like to play?
If you are into Turkish/Greek/Ottoman/Armenian types of music then you might prefer a "Turkish" oud. If you want to play music from the Middle East, North Africa and Arabic countries then you might prefer an “Arabic” oud.
Size: A Turkish oud has a smaller body than an Arabic oud, and a shorter scale length; average 58.5 cm. The scale is the distance from the nut to the bridge measured in cm.
Arabic ouds are usually 61cm - 62cm scale with a larger body, though you can have an Arabic oud made with a shorter scale.
Tuning: The single main difference between Arabic and Turkish ouds is the tuning. Turkish ouds are tuned one tone higher than 'Arabic' ouds. Some players like a smaller Turkish sized oud tuned Arabic to play Arabic music. You may tune a Turkish oud one tone lower to Arabic, but tuning an Arabic oud one tone up to Turkish is not recommended, this can cause damage.

It is also advisable not to keep changing the tunings on the same oud. One reason given by Nazih Ghadban: “in my opinion it is not advisable to tune different tunings (Turkish–Arabic) to the same oud even if the strings are different (Turkish set or Arabic set). I think as you will lose many harmonic pitches in that oud, and with time you will destroy the oud acoustically, as the bowl keeps inside the wood an imprint for each vibration, and the sound will be muzzled without any reverb of the harmonic pitches”.
More on Turkish and Arabic ouds: http://www.oudcafe.com/stringing_and_tuning.htm

Getting started on the oud:

http://www.mikeouds.com/video/learn.html (Arabic tuning)
http://www.oudcafe.com/oud_basics.htm (Turkish tuning)

Ouds for Women:

There are many women playing ouds today. If you find a ‘regular’ Turkish or Arabic sized oud uncomfortable and would like something more feminine and petite, you can buy or have an oud made to your requirements. A ladie’s oud usually has a smaller and/or shallower bowl, a shorter fingerboard length, and/or shorter scale length, e.g. 57cm, 58.5 cm.
Diwan de Mona plays an oud with these specs:
bowl length: 48 cm, bowl width: 38 cm, bowl depth: 19 cm, fingerboard length: 19 cm.
Veysel Musik offers smaller Turkish zenne ouds for women, first model body length 45 cm, fingerboard length 18.5cm, second model body length 42 cm, fingerboard length 18 cm; or third body length 47 cm, fingerboard length 19.5 cm. Will also make to your specs.
John Vergara welcomes any questions from women considering having an oud made, and he usually has one or two smaller sized ouds on hand.
Nazih Ghadban has made many ouds for women, including his daughter.
There are ‘pear shaped’ ouds called ‘oud kumethra’ that some ladies find more comfortable. Contact an oudmaker of your choice for more information on ouds for women.

Strings, Rishas, Accessories:

Important - To avoid serious damage to your oud, always be sure to fit strings of the correct tension.

http://www.oudstrings.com/index.php (expert advice on strings and tension)
http://www.khalafoud.com/accessories.htm (also luthier’s resources)
http://www.musicaravan.com/ (strings, luthier’s glue pot)

Oud, Tar, Rebab strings, pegs and accessories
http://www.orientalinstruments.com/ (online shop- accessories)

Where to find horn rishas:
John Vergara: http://www.johnvergaramusic.com/
Mid-East: http://www.ethnicmusicalinstruments.com/Mid-East-7-Cow-Horn-Oud-Pic...
Mid East via Amazon.com: oud pic, cow horn, 6 pack

How do I tie a string onto the oud?

Stringing and tunings for the oud:

Hard Cases:
http://www.musicaravan.com/instruments/ouds/case (Turkish sized)

Soft Cases:
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[*] posted on 3-12-2012 at 06:11 AM

FAQs 2

Arabic oud sheet music scores and resources:

Turkish / Ottoman music scores/archives/resources:

Youtube channels with oud music and accompanying score:
type in - ST2340 or try

Arabic Maqam information:

Arabic Maqam Transposition chart

Oud instructional and Reference books:
Basics of Oud, book/dvd set by Marina Toshich:

Play Oud With John Varton, book/dvd. Turkish tuning:

Hal Leonard Oud Method, book/cd by John Bilezikjian: http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=695836&...

The Maqam Anthology, by Jonothan Gemmill. over 200 compositions. http://www.oudstrings.com/index.php (books and sheet music)

School of Oud [Book & CD] by Mavrothi T. Kontanis: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786682957/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

Free Maqam Anthology Book - by 'Jono Oud N.Z'

This is by no means a complete listing.
Some microphones that have been used by members of the forum:

External mics-
MXL 991/603
Shure Sm 57
Beyerdynamic M88
AKG C -1000
Rode M3
IMK 4061 Instrument Microphone kit (dpamicrophones.com)
Isomax 2 (countryman.com)
Neumann KM 184

Mics/pickups attached onto the oud-
Note: some of the mics/pickups below may require one or more of the following: use of an external preamp or internal battery, clip-on unit, installation of an endpin jack and/or other modifications.
If in doubt, check with the manufacturer on proper installation and use. Professional installation is always recommended.

K&K Hot Spot
K&K Twin Spot
K&K Pure Mini
K&K Pure Classic
K&K Big Shot Internal

Shadow SH 700 NFX pick-up system
Shadow SH 717 NFX pick up system

Viken Najarian transducer (Najarian Music)
AKG C 411 (akg.com)
Schertler Dyn G (Schertler.com)
B-Band (b-band.com)
IMK 4061 Instrument Microphone kit (dpamicrophones.com)

Audio Technica AT831 b

Fishman, LR Baggs or B-Band under-saddle transducer pickup systems:
Note: these are usually installed by the oudmaker into the bridge and oud when the oud is made. Please check with your oudmaker for the best system for your requirements.

External mics that have been used by some professionals:
(usually a combination of 2 or more mics)

Adel Salameh: DPA 4099 and Nuemann KM184

Nizar Rohana: Shure Sm57 and AKG C-1000

Joseph Tawadros: Uses his built in mic pickup installed by Veysel and Cengiz Sarikus, often with an external condenser mic.

Basem Darwisch: DPA 4061 and AKG C414

Haytham Safia: Nuemann KM 184 plus one on the oud (e.g. B-Band AST)

Airline travel with your oud:

If possible, take your oud with you into the cabin. Having a soft case or form fitted case will make this much easier than arriving with a hard bulky or ‘coffin’ case. Chances are that if your oud can fit into the overhead compartment, then you’ll have no problem taking it on board or have one of the airline crew place it in a special area in the cabin. Some European carriers like Ryanair may require you purchase an extra seat for your oud if you want to take it onboard. It is useful to check with your airline prior to flying for their policies for taking musical instruments onboard.
Be sure not to have any liquids, crèmes, sharp or metallic objects in the pockets of your oud carry bag, you will get stopped going through security screening. If you your oud has to go into the hold for any reason, be sure it is in a strong case, well protected, and loosen the strings slightly.
The pressure is of no consequence, but there is a temperature difference between the cabin and some parts of the cargo area, and it is the vibration that is the most damaging. Loosening the string relieves any tension on the face that might be cause damage by temperature changes and vibration.
Latest ruling from the Federal Aviation Administration (USA): http://www.mikeouds.com/messageboard/viewthread.php?tid=14638
Article by Lynda Sayce on flying with a musical instrument:

Informative and useful oud sites:
http://www.labyrinthmusic.gr/en (workshops and more in Crete)
https://sites.google.com/site/oudguitare/home (en français)
http://oudanantes.canalblog.com/ France
http://www.toulousoud.com/ France

Care of your Oud:

My oud has an unfinished top.

This is not unusual and has been one traditional way of making ouds, the old masters feeling that any finish on the soundboard would detract from the purity of the sound. If your oud’s top is unfinished, leave it as it left the hands of the maker. If the top is unfinished, refrain from touching it, and don't get any oil, polish or any liquid on the face. Don't use any thing to "clean" the unfinished face. Anything you do to try to ‘clean’ the face can damage it. If you use a cleaner on the strings, place a protective cloth or suitable covering under the strings to avoid getting any cleaner onto the face of the oud. If there is some dirt or surface marks, you can try removing some of the dirt with a standard pencil eraser or similar quality eraser, rubbing very lightly. Wearing long sleeve shirts will help keep sweat stains from forming on the surface over time.
If you want to add any finish to an unfinished top, be it ‘egg white distillate’, wax, shellac, etc., consult a professional luthier or the maker for professional advice.

General oud care:

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