The Oud is a chordophone. Arabic legends claim Ouds to be a very long lived instrument with an illustrious history, attributing the invention of the Oud to Lamak, the grandson of the first man - Adam.
Modern musical historians place the inception of the Oud much later. Ancestors to the Oud may go back to Pharaonic Egypt. Ouds have a large pear-shaped soundboard that have three ornately carved rosettes that function as sound-holes. The larger rosette is under the strings, while two smaller rosettes are above and below the strings. There are six courses of strings, with two strings per course. Traditionally the strings were plucked with a plectrum made of an eagle feather or of water buffalo horn. The strings are attached on the face of the soundboard and run over a fret-less neck. Traditionally Oud strings ran in four courses of two each. Latter a fifth course was added. Today it is common to see five courses of two stings and an additional single string. In order to more evenly distribute the stress of the strings they attach to tuning pegs from alternate sides of the peg-box. The peg box is attached to the neck at an acute angle and is almost the same length as the neck The neck is relatively short, less that half as long as the length of the soundboard. Curving deeply behind the soundboard is the body of the Oud. The body is constructed of interlocking bent boards. This style of construction is called stave construction. Often the staves are of alternating dark and light colored woods to add to the visual interest of the body.
SPECIAL NOTE - No Warranty on Strings: Whether you purchase an instrument on-line or in a neighborhood store, manufacturers recommend that you change the strings on your instrument as soon as you receive it. Your instrument has completed a long journey to your home. During this time the strings WILL oxidize and this may shorten their life expectancy and may reduce their sound quality. On occasion instruments may arrive with a broken string, therefore, it is recommended that you purchase a replacement set of strings and consider changing your strings as soon as it arrives. Learning to change strings should be the first lesson learned when embarking on the journey of playing a new instrument. See our oud string sets page for strings.
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