(Almost) Everything You Need to Know About the Oud

Testing the oud before buying
You are on the most amazing quest: Finding your dream oud

Considered to be the “king of all instruments”, an oud looks a lot like a lute – though it plays quite a bit differently with a rich, unique sound not produced by any other instrument.

Featuring 11 different strings (10 of them paired together), this instrument is one of the oldest in human history. Beloved by people throughout the Middle East, historians believe it to be the ancestor of the Egyptian nefer as well as the Persian barbat.

As highlighted above, the oud is definitely the predecessor of the European lute, too.

If you’ve been thinking about finding an Arabic oud for sale and learning how to play you’ll want to know exactly what to look for. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide.

By the time you’re done with the inside information below you’ll know exactly how to find the perfect oud – and how to master this delightful instrument!

Let’s dig right in.

A Quick History of the Oud

Though some historians argue about who created the first oud, most believe that both the Arabic and Turkish oud was inspired by an instrument created in Persia.

The odds are pretty good that this first oud was carved entirely out of a single piece of wood, though this design element would change through the years. In fact, during the Moorish block of time throughout Spain an oud would have been made of staved wooden materials.

The earliest ouds also featured tops that were made of wooden construction material, differentiating them from European lutes as well as mandolins that had tops created out of animal skin. All of these design elements contributed to the unique sound the traditional gut strings of this instrument produced.

an old nahat oud
One of the world’s first Oud. Made by the Armenian maker Nahat

Deciding on an Arabic or Turkish Oud

The first thing you’ll have to decide on before you go searching for an oud for sale is whether you want an Arabic option or a Turkish option (as well as the difference between the two).

Arabic ouds are found commonly throughout North Africa, and Lebanon and Jordan, Iraq and Iran, as well as throughout the Arabian Peninsula. There’s a very romantic sound produced by these instruments, with deep, round, and well-balanced sound qualities that are different and distinct from the ones produced by Turkish ouds.

Turkish ouds, on the other hand, are typically found in Turkey as well as in Greece. They have a brighter sound, a more energetic sound, and a sound that is usually tuned to an entire step higher than Arabic ouds with a lot more tension in the strings that produce sounds and higher frequencies.

The kind of music you’re looking to create with this new instrument will heavily influence your decisions when it comes time to buy oud in either the Arabic or Turkish style. They may look very similar (and share a lot of the same features), but the type of music and the energy of the music they create is wildly different.

If you’re serious about getting the most out of this instrument you want to know whether you’re hunting for an Arabic oud or a Turkish oud before you start your search.


Ouds for Sale, Other Considerations to Focus On

Aside from whether or not you will be happy with an Arabic oud  or a Turkish oud there are a couple of other key considerations you’re going to want to zero in on before you spend money on this instrument.

  • For starters, you’ll need to decide whether or not you’re looking for a traditional and acoustic oud or would be happier with a more modern electric oud. This boils down to the type of music you’re looking to create, but there’s a world of difference between these two options for sure.
  • Secondly, you’ll need to make sure that the oud for sale you are purchasing comes from a reputable manufacturer that ideally specializes in these instruments. This isn’t the kind of instrument you’ll want to source from a generalist instrument manufacturer, but instead a company that understands the ins and outs of ouds and what it takes to produce an instrument of quality.
  • The best companies to buy cracker options from our based in the Middle East, with different companies making great Arabic and Turkish options for your consideration.
  • Lastly, it’s not a bad idea to jump on a site like YouTube to listen to ouds being played for inspiration in which oud for sale you should purchase.
  • If you’re not sure whether or not you want an Arabic or a Turkish oud this will help point you in the right direction. Simply research the type of oud the musician is playing in the video and you’ll know how to zero your search in on an instrument purchase that you’ll be happy with.

This is especially useful if you’re going to be shopping online and do not have an opportunity to play an Arabic oud or Turkish oud  that you are considering.

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