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5 Things You Should Know Before Buying A Turkish Oud



Buying an Oud is unlike buying other musical instruments. It’s not about buying the one that is fancy and appeals to you. The Oud you choose is an expression of your identity. This is because each Oud has its unique soul that should reflect your musical personality and style.

If you’re buying your first Turkish Oud, here are five things you need to know to choose the right one:

1. Not All Ouds Are From Turkey

Like many modern instruments, Ouds come in variations, many of which can be eerily similar. There are Turkish Ouds, Arabian Ouds, Iraqi Ouds, and Iranian Ouds. When making your first purchase, you must know how to spot a Turkish Oud, so you don’t make a mistake.

The fastest way to know what type of Oud you’re looking at is the small ornament where the fingerboard joins the soundboard. This ornament looks like an extension of the fingerboard and is rarely present in other Ouds but may feature in a few Arabian Ouds.

Turkish Ouds also typically do not have coated soundboards, and they come in very light wood color, most likely because of spruce. Another thing to note about Turkish Ouds is that many of them today have a shorter lifespan, mostly because they are made with thinner soundboards. It’s important to take note of the dimensions when purchasing your first Turkish Oud.

2. Find The Style And Sound That Describes You

While Turkish Ouds have similar sounds, they are different from one another. Generally, Turkish Ouds have a vibrant and healing sound, while others vary. So, in choosing your first Turkish Oud, you need to find the style and sound that describes you best.

3. Turkish Ouds Must Be Properly Cared For

Caring for your Turkish Oud is vital for it to keep giving the same sound regularly. The first tip is to keep your Turkish Oud at room temperature. No heat, no damp places, and no cold! The next tip is to wipe your Turkish Oud down gently with a soft cloth and polish it at least once a year.

You should never use chemicals such as damp cloths, soap, and alcohol to clean your Oud. You will need to change your Oud’s strings every six months to maintain a high degree of sound quality. If you’re not going to play for a long period, it’s best to leave the strings loose.

4. You Need A Good Oud Pick

Turkish Oud picks or plectrums are known as Risha and come in a variety of sizes and hardness, depending on the musician’s desire. You can’t use a random pick or pluck for your Oud. This is an important note as many people assume guitar picks can work just fine for a Turkish Oud. That will limit your playing technique and distort the sound the Oud makes. The best Risha is long and thin and typically made of wood or plastic. Hold significance with your whole hand and not just your fingers to use it.

5. Type Of String Is Important

Since all strings sound different, choosing the type of string for your Turkish Oud plays an important role in your identity as an Oud player. There are several distinct sorts of strings that are measured by their weight, and each variety produces a different sound. Although nylon and metal strings are the most popular string materials, some require a special type of material.

To achieve a clearer tone, a G string, for example, should be made of steel. It’s also critical for you to note that the string’s pulling force increases as the keyboard’s distance from the hand grows, causing the height to become unbalanced. It can make strumming more difficult and cause scratchy noises. If you notice a scratchy sound when purchasing your first Turkish Oud, don’t buy it. It indicates that it’s bad and should be fixed.

On A Final Note

Usually, the price of a Turkish Oud is a big determinant in choosing one. Many can reach up to $3,000 depending on the material used and its maker. However, since this is your first purchase, you can go for a reasonably priced one or a fairly used Turkish Oud. If you follow the tips outlined in this article, you have successfully passed the first stage of becoming a Turkish Oud player.

Author Bio:

Daniel Karni -The Owner of Ethnic Musical. An expert in Turkish & Arabic musical instruments since 2008. A multi-instrumentalist, and a fan of Middle Eastern musical traditions. Plays the Oud, Saz & Ney.

By Erick Ycaza

Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style. Surprisingly, I have been blogging and writing about music since 2007.