Turkish ouds have a signature sound that’s ideal for Moorish spiritual songs and oriental songs. If you want to learn how to play this instrument, you may buy one suitable for beginners. Ouds for beginners may range from $400 to $1000. If you don’t want to spend a lot, you can buy a Turkish oud for sale. This will enable you to use a high-quality instrument without crossing your budget.
Buying a Turkish oud
Since you are new to this instrument, it’s wise to buy one that is ideal for learning basic skills. You need to know how to hold the instrument, the weight of the strings, and the quality of the sound that the oud makes. Here’s a guide that will explain three factors that can help choose the best Turkish oud for beginners:
Make sure that the Turkish oud has low action. Action means the distance between the strings and the fingerboard. Low action refers to a short distance between the fingerboard and the strings. A short distance allows you to play the instrument easily. As a newbie, you may want to practice a lot with your oud. If you can’t handle the distance between the strings and your fingerboard, it may frustrate you. High-action ouds are best for veteran musicians. If you try to play a high-action oud, you may not be able to master your basic skills.
It is wise to go through pictures of the oud or check different models physically before buying. Compare the differences in action before you shortlist a model.
Turkish ouds for beginners don’t usually have heavy gauge strings. You may come across ouds with different types of strings, but don’t forget to compare their weights. Some strings are as heavy as guitar strings. It’s better to avoid them since you are new to this instrument.
Apart from keeping the string’s weight in mind, you should also pay attention to the type of string on the oud. Advanced users may use D’Addario Turkish oud strings on an Arabic oud or vice versa, but make sure you don’t do that. First, learn the basics of how to play a Turkish oud before experimenting with the strings of other ouds. Strings of other types of ouds provide different tunes. Thus, swapping the strings may not provide the deep signature sound that Turkish ouds are popular for.
A few common types of wood used to make beginner-level Turkish ouds are palisander, padouk, walnut, and maple. Manufacturers use these types of wood to keep the overall cost of the oud down. However, if budget is not a constraint for you, and you want to invest in a high-quality Turkish oud for beginners, you should buy one made of ebony.
Experienced musicians agree that there’s no wood that comes close to the quality of ebony. It ensures that the instrument lasts for years without requiring too much maintenance. Most entry-level ebony ouds have two-tone woods, containing a solid spruce top, ebony fingerboard, and ebony tuning pegs. The bowl back is usually made of ebony too. But you may find a few models that use walnut or maple for the bowl back.
Where to buy a Turkish oud?
Turkish ouds are available both in online and offline stores. If you are buying it online, don’t forget to check the photos of different models and compare their features. Make sure they have low action, lightweight strings, and an ebony body. If you are buying it offline, check a few models physically to compare the actions.
The best way to master the skills of playing a Turkish oud is to feel comfortable holding the instrument. Test the weight, material, and overall feel of the oud before buying, so that your investment is worthwhile.