For those of you out there looking to buy a duduk make sure you read this first. We’re going to compare various makers and masters so you can come to an informed decision. We don’t want you to waste your money after all!
What to Look For When Choosing a Duduk
There are plenty of factors that you should look for when choosing the right duduk for you. Mainly, it does depend on your budget and skill level. Many instruments out there are aimed at intermediates and not beginners or professionals. Plus, there are various price points (although, it’s worth noting that you do get what you pay for so it always pays off to invest).
However, we are going to take a little bit of a deeper dive into the other factors you should think about before making your final duduk decision. What are these, we hear you ask? The construction, as well as the tone and playability.
Let’s jump straight in, shall we?
P.S. We sell duduks
To tell you the truth, the structure of the duduk is pretty basic. It compromises a wooden cylindrical pipe, a wide reed, and nine holes (one being for your thumb). However, this doesn’t mean that all duduks are created equal. The quality of this structure differs depending on the maker or company you purchase the instrument from.
The best duduks are typically made from apricot wood. This makes them very durable and have the characteristic sound that both beginners and professionals are searching for. Put simply, you should look for a high-quality construction in your duduk (or any instrument for that matter!).
The Tone and Playability
Generally speaking, if you’ve done a good job at finding a duduk with quality construction, a good tone and playability will come right along with it. However, some people might argue that this isn’t the case. So, we’re going to talk about it!
Duduks should produce a beautifully soft and warm, yet full tone. It doesn’t matter whether you want to play slow tunes or create a good rhythm to dance to, you will be able to do everything with a high-quality duduk.
Alongside all of this, there are different sizes to choose from. Honestly, the one you decide to go with is up to you. It’s down to personal preference at the end of the day. Whichever you get, you’re going to have a world of fun with it. However, the most recommended one is the classic A duduk. The length of the A duduk is 35cm, which is just about the right size for beginners. Producing deep mellow sound, and not to long, so you can cover the holes without stretching too much.
Now, shall we get into the real meat and potatoes of this article?
2020 Armenian Duduk Makers Comparison and Prices
#1 Duduks by Master Galstyan
Master Galstyan has around 40 years of experience in making the best quality Armenian wind instruments, including duduks (that probably goes without saying!). Seriously, you’ll be blown away by both the construction and tone.
His work is characterized by a clean end and the best standard of apricot wood that you could ever hope to get your hands on. He makes various duduks — you can choose between those tuned to 432HZ and 440HZ, as well as various keys (C, B, F, and A). Whether you want to play meditation music or create deep tones, you can do it all with Master Galstyan’s handcrafted Armenian duduks.
You don’t just have to take our word for it though. His instruments have been used by the world’s most famous duduk players. They are recognized across the globe for their immense sound and build quality. This man puts his heart, soul, and family traditions into his wind pieces.
Let’s Talk Price:
His work ranges from approximately $210 to $350 so, as long as you’re willing to make a fairly large hole in your wallet, you’ll be able to acquire one of Master Galstyan’s duduks.
#2 Duduks by Master Manvel Mnatsakanyan
Master Manvel Mnatsakanyan sells his duduks through the Nurwind Duduk Company. He has dedicated his entire life to the creation of this amazing instrument and boy has it paid off.
1977 was the year that this brilliant man graduated with a Musical Performance Degree from the Romano Melikyan Musical College located in Yerevan. Once he graduated, he played the duduk alone for the National Armenian Folk Ensemble, the Dudukner Ensemble, and the Gusanakan Folk Ensemble.
Through this experience, he began making duduks and reeds for various famous players like Gevorg Dabaghyan and Djivan Gasparyan. He has since collaborated with loads of experts to ensure that his duduks have perfect tones, consistency, intonation, and more.
Let’s Talk Price:
Today, his duduks are one of the only professional models available. But yes, they come with a pretty hefty price tag.
The cheapest package (i.e. one pro duduk, two pro reeds, one soft case for the duduk, and one cleaning cloth) is $249.99. The most expensive package (i.e. one pro-two-octave duduk, two pro duduk reeds, one soft case, and one cleaning cloth) is $849.99.
If you are looking for a professional instrument, then this one is a great option if you don’t mind splashing the cash.
#3 Duduks by Master Karen Mukaelyan
Master Karen Mukaelyan has been making duduks for over 15 years. His instruments are among the best professional models on the market thanks to their amazing timbre, durability, and key.
On each duduk, you will find Karen Mukaelyan’s logo and engraving making sure that everyone knows which master you admire. But that’s not what you’re paying for. Instead, you’re paying for the 10 stages of quality control. Yep, you read that correctly. Regardless of the model you buy, the master himself will have checked and handled it.
Let’s Talk Price:
You can buy one of his handcrafted duduks for roughly $300. Whether you want an A, G, B, C, D, or H tuned instrument, they’re the same price!
Our Favorite — Duduks by Master Galstyan
So, after all those amazing makers, which one is our favorite? Well, the answer is Master Galstyan. While the other master makers are great, we can’t imagine playing something other than the high-quality, apricot-wood-constructed instruments made by Master Galstyan.
In our humble opinion, they are worth the money and more.