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     December 30, 2019 -- It's an Oud!

A friend and fellow fiddler acquired an older oud (Middle-Eastern stringed instrument) that had been discovered in a mutual friend's basement. It was in pretty rough shape with the head broken off, the fretwork in the main soundhole damaged and multiple open cracks in the top and body. Thankfully the neck break was pretty clean and the soundhole parts were rattling around inside the body of the instrument - along with a significant number of dustOud in the shop for major repairs. bunnies. I do the maintenance on her fiddles so she thought maybe I could bring the oud back to life.

Since she isn't really into Middle-Eastern music she requested that I set it up to be tuned like a guitar. Ouds are often strung with 11 or 12 strings but pitched a bit lower than a guitar. I have ordered two sets of classical guitar strings and will set up first as a six-string and if it feels as though it can handle the tension, will add strings until it breaks. No, not really. I'll first double up the 3rd & 4th strings and tune the whole set a fifth lower (A D G C E A), or a fourth lower (B E A D F♯ B), like a baritone guitar.

This is all an experiment. As I write this the neck/head joint is freshly glued with hide glue. I'll let it dry for a couple of days to be sure I've given it a good chance of surviving the new string setup.

It turned out OK and is quite a unique and attractive instrument, with a unique and attractive sound. I ended up with single strings, in pairs, with guitar tuning but down a fifth. Then I tried picking out a tune that seemed to fit the sound - The Parting Glass (with guitar accompaniment).



Traditional Tune Archive ( was Fiddlers Companion) -

ABC Project -

ABC Notation (tunes) -

MobilSheets - The Music Reader [and a whole lot more!] -


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