Oud Gallery

On this page you can take a look at other people's ouds and also display your own. Just send me your oud pics, together with as much information as possible about the origin, construction, stringing, etc. of the oud, and I will add them to the gallery.

The ouds are displayed below by owner in alphabetical order. Click on the symbol to view a photo of the oud described in the corresponding text.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PAGE IS NOT A PLACE FOR OUD MAKERS OR SELLERS TO ADVERTISE THEIR PRODUCTS.

 


Jameel Abraham
(Iowa, USA)

 
The first oud, shown on the right, was built from scratch using Richard Hankey's book 'The Oud, Construction and Repair' (available here) and is based on a 1920 Nahat oud. The back is made from 50 year-old American Walnut (with 13 ribs), the fingerboard is ebony and the soundboard is Livane spruce. The pegbox is walnut with ebony pegs, the soundhole and edge inlay are walnut and maple, the nut is bone and the pickguard is black cherry. The scale length is 59.5 cm and the oud is tuned to Arabic tuning (however, Jameel's teacher Issa Boulos believes it would perform better in Turkish tuning due to the shorter scale length).

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The second instrument is a child's oud, which Jameel bought from Ebay for $70 and almost completely rebuilt. The first two pictures show the oud as purchased, and subsequent ones are of the instrument following reconstruction. It still has the original back of maple and mahogany, but the neck is now mahogany, the fingerboard is ebony, the soundboard is Livane spruce, the pegbox is walnut (with ebony pegs) and the nut is bone. The scale length is 51.5 cm. The final picture shows Jameel's two ouds together.

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Jameel has his own website, where you can find photo-journals of both these oud construction projects. There is detailed information on the materials and techniques used, together with beautiful photos showing each stage of the construction process.

 


Ronny Andersson
(Sweden)

 
The instrument on the right was made by the Armenian luthier Siragan Matossian of St. John’s Hotel, Christian Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem (Jordan). The maker's label includes both Arabic and English script. The oud is currently undergoing a full restoration by Richard Hankey.

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Stephen Bayne
(Seattle, Washington, USA)

 
The photo on the right and the three pictures below show an oud with a mother-of-pearl and abalone fingerboard, made by Sarkis Chirikdjian of Erevan, Armenia, in 1973.

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The photo on the left shows Stephen playing a bass oud built by Hanna Nahat of Damascus, Syria, which he no longer owns. A bass oud is larger than a standard oud and is tuned to the same notes, but an octave lower.

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Rod Blocksidge
(Birmingham, England)

 
The oud shown was made by the English lute maker Martin Bowers from Maldon in Essex, and was based on two extant Damascus style ouds which Martin carried out restoration on in the past. The body, neck and pegbox are of English walnut, with holly spacers, and the soundboard is of European spruce. The pegs and bridge are of plum and the roses carved from holly.

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Thomas Boulos
(Arizona, USA)

 
According to Nazih Ghadban from Lebanon the instrument shown was made by Abdo Nahat of Syria (shown on the label inside the oud), probably the grandfather of the familiar Abdo George Nahat, between 1825 and 1839. It is therefore believed to be the oldest Nahat oud in existence. The instrument is known to have belonged to Farid al-Atrash, who gave it to an American woman around 1955.

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Cheryl Cheung
(New Jersey, USA)

 
This oud was made by luthier John Vergara of Beacon, New York in 2013. Known as the 'Tarab' model, it has a 606 mm scale length, a walnut and mahogany bowl, walnut bridge with bone cap, bone nut, rosewood pegs and fingerboard, a spruce soundboard and an oil varnish finish. The pegbox is walnut and maple. A comfort detail this instrument features is that the surface is sanded down where the right arm rests. It has a low action and Cheryl describes it as startlingly soft and easy to play, with an effortless high volume, full earthy tone with strong bass.

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Cheryl's second oud was also made by John Vergara in 2013. Known as the 'Majestic' model, it has a 600 mm scale length, a bowl made from aged birdseye maple with walnut spacers, ebony fingerboard and pegs, a walnut bridge with mosaic cap, and a bone nut. The soundboard is made from spruce that has been aged for around 20 years. The oud also has a French polish finish. Cheryl describes this instrument as having a lighter, crisper tone, with a stunningly graceful sweetness, especially outstanding in its upper range, which always makes it her choice for accompanying a singer.

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Basem Darwisch
(Germany)

 
The double-necked oud shown on the right combines a standard oud and a bass oud. It was designed by Basem and made in Cairo, Egypt by Maurice Farouk Shehata.

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Another of Basem's instruments is this oud-qanun, with a leather bridge and the tuning EADGCF. It is made from sycamore wood, and was also manufactured by Maurice Farouk Shehata.

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Basem also designed this double-necked instrument, which was built by Maurice Farouk Shehata. It is made from sycamore wood, with the upper neck in Arab tuning and the lower neck in Turkish tuning. The oud is now owned by Prof. Issam El Mallah of Munich University.

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You can find out more about Basem's music on his website and Myspace page.

 


Chris Doddridge
(Suffolk, England)

 
This oud was built by Abdo George Nahat of Damascus, Syria in 1911. The fingerboard is rosewood and the rose is bone or ivory veneered to wood. The pegbox has a curious natural piece of mother-of-pearl glued to the end, rather than the usual pyramid design. Chris adds that it has fourteen ribs of walnut beautifully inlaid with Nahat's characteristic charm and skill, and the tone is warm and full, as one would expect from the master.

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Chris built this oud himself, starting in 2011 and finishing the following spring. The design is based on the Nahat tradition with the body made from very old walnut and the soundboard from Swiss spruce cut in 1963. Ebony was used for the fingerboard, beard, nut and pegs, the simple rose is made from alder, and the pickguard is walnut veneer. Strings are a mixture of PVF, Pyramid and D'Addario, and Chris normally uses an Arabic C tuning (but sometimes lowers this to B flat).

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George Dordoni
(Missouri, USA)

 
This oud was made by Samir Hamido, El Qalaa Street, Cairo. It was bought at Sadek Musical Instruments and Handicrafts in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates at the Central Gold Souk, block 4 shop 17. It has been modified to accept the full Arabic tuning DGADGC; the high C string is a Pyramid, the rest are D'Addario. The body staves are mahogany, as is the neck and nut. The pegbox and tuning pegs are olivewood, and George says that these have a delicate but delightful smell when turned or rubbed.

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John Erlich
(Berkeley, California, USA)

 
This oud was built by Maurice Farouk Shehata's company 'Al-Aseel' of Cairo. The instrument was bought at his shop in Cairo in May 2000 for $700 (original asking price $1200). The nut was clearly grooved for primarily five-course playing, but John asked Maurice to string the sixth course (at the high end) before buying the instrument. The instrument has a nice deep sound, well-constructed fingerboard and tuning pegs, but quite a high action.

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The next oud was built by Iraqi luthier Ali Al-Abdali, and is one of a pair given to John by a friend who spent some time working in Baghdad in 2009. The original tuning pegs were replaced with viola pegs during an overhaul of the pegbox by Richard Hankey in 2013.

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Victor Esses
(New York, USA)

 
The following two ouds were made by Nazih Ghadban of Lebanon (www.oudnazihghadban.com). The first of these was constructed in 2005. The bowl, neck and pegbox are made from walnut of Lebanon, the soundboard is spruce, the bridge is walnut and the fingerboard and pegs are ebony. The string length is 58.5 cm, the strings currently on the oud are made by Aquila for Turkish tuning and the tuning used is (low to high) CGDAFC.

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The second oud was made in 2006. The bowl is made from walnut, the soundboard is spruce and the pickguard, fingerboard and pegs are ebony. The string length is 58.5 cm, the oud is strung with custom Aquila lute and Nylgut strings and these are tuned to (low to high) cgdAFC.

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Daniel Franke
(Frankfurt, Germany)

 
The oud pictured on the right was built in 1926 by Riza Usta of Istanbul. The ribs are made from plane and near-eastern walnut, and the original face seems to have been replaced with one made from cedar. The oud is strung with varnished gut and copper-spun silk.

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Sam Grant
(London, England)

 
This oud was made in 2013 by Turkish luthier Ekrem Kına of Fethiye. The scale length is 58.5 cm and it is tuned to the standard Turkish tuning of CFBEAD.

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Richard Hankey
(California, USA)

 
Richard, perhaps better known as 'Dr Oud', built this instrument himself in 1979 and it has a walnut back with inlay, an ivory fingerboard and roses, with stereo internal three-axis transducers. It is based on a 1959 Nahat oud that he obtained in exchange for one of his own. Unfortunately, the Nahat had been damaged in a fire so it was just used for measurement purposes in constructing the present oud.

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Richard Hankey also built the Persian barbat shown on the left for a client. Note the pickguard in the shape of a map of Iran.

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Next we have a Nahat replica oud constructed by Richard. The back of this oud is all walnut, and the face is made from German spruce which has been aged for over 35 years.

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Finally, a 1927 oud of unknown origin with its face replaced and stained by Richard. The rose was copied from an oud built by Lebanese-Armenian oud maker Dikran Najarian in 1946. The back is quite plain with no decoration and the oud has a unique edge trim.

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Richard has his own website, where you can find out more about his restoration work and his book "The Oud - Construction and Repair". There is also a comprehensive section of the website on the history of Nahat ouds, with numerous photos.

 


Institut für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften
(Frankfurt, Germany)

 
The Institute of the History of Arabic-Islamic Sciences, as the name translates into English, was established at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in 1982. One of its objectives is to "spread the knowledge of the position that the Arabic-Islamic cultural sphere rightly deserves within the universal history of sciences in research and teaching". The Institute has in its collections an 'ud qadim made by Gerhard Soehne. It is a reconstruction based upon literary documents and early pictorial evidence, researched by E. Neubauer for the Institute. It is made of cypress/cedar with gut strings.

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Also owned by the Institute is an oud by Fathi Amin, Cairo, 1987, a very good, resonant instrument selected for the Institute by the distinguished oud player Karim al-Assad of Freiburg, Germany. In addition, a North African kwitra was purchased by the Institute from Tony Bingham, London. It is thought to date from the 18th century, judging from comparable instruments in the Royal College, London and Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

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Dr Tufan Hiçdönmez
(Istanbul, Turkey)

 
The first oud was made in 1914 by Kapıdağ'lı İlya (or Ilia ek Peramou in Greek), a Greek master luthier of Istanbul at the beginning of the 20th century. The oud is labelled inside in Ottoman Turkish and Greek, with a picture of the maker. It was repaired two years ago by Cengiz Sarıkuş (www.veyselmuzik.com).

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The translation of the label inside the oud is as follows:

Kapıdağ'lı İlya
Beyazıt'da Maliye Civarında Numara 20 (at Beyazit around Maliyye #20)
KATASKEVI (product of)
ILIA EK PERAMOU (Ilia from Peramos)
KON / POLIS BAGIAZIT Ar. 20 (Istanbul Beyazit #20)
1914

 

 

The next oud was manufactured by Artin Hatun, an Armenian master luthier of Istanbul, around 1960. His establishment, founded in 1929, no longer exists. The inside label has a picture of the luthier. The oud was repaired and the rosettes replaced by the luthier Nihat Usta of Galata, Istanbul.

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The translation of the Turkish label inside the oud is as follows:

UTÇU ARTIN HATUN (OUD MAKER ARTIN HATUN)
Tesis tarihi 1929 (Date of Establishment 1929)
Selamet Pasajı No 10 (Bodrum Kat)
Osmanbey-Istanbul

 

 

The third instrument is an extremely well-preserved oud constructed in 1909 by the Greek master luthier Manolis Venios (Manol), who was probably the most famous oud maker of Istanbul in the early 20th century.

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The translation of the label inside the oud, which is in Ottoman Turkish (with Arabic script) and Greek - is as follows:

Manoli'den inşa olunmuşdur (Constructed by Manol)
Daraliyye Sandikcilar Caddesi numara 168 (Daraliyye Sandikcilar Avenue no. 168)
KATASKEVI (Made by)
ADELPHON VENIOU (Venios Brothers)
EN KONSTANTINOUPOLI (in Istanbul)
Megali Odos Galata, aritmos 168 (Great Avenue Galata, number 168)
1909

 

 

The next oud was made by Garabet Boyaciyan (Boyadjian in Armenian script) in Istanbul in 1950, and repaired by master luthier Cengiz Sarıkuş. The handwritten label has Boyacian's name in both modern Turkish and Armenian script.

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Here we have an instrument made by Arsak Koseyan, one of the most prominent Armenian oud makers of Istanbul in the early 20th century. The oud is of the 'zenne' type, circa 1920 - the label, in Ottoman and Armenian scripts, gives the name and address of the luthier.

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Next we have an oud made by Kosti Karagöz, a prominent Ottoman-Greek oud maker of Istanbul in the early 20th century. The label inside is written in Ottoman Turkish, Greek and Armenian, and includes a stylized logo with the crescent and star of the Turkish flag. This oud (circa late 1910) has all original parts except for the mahogany fingerboard surface, which was replaced by the master luthier Cengiz Sarıkuş of Istanbul, who also made the oud playable.

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The following oud was made by Bahriyeli Hacı Bey, a Turkish oud maker of Istanbul in the early 20th century. Bahriyeli (the sailor) Hacı Bey produced a handwritten label inside in both Turkish and Arabic script with his name and the year 927. The oud was probably custom-made, and has a bone fingerboard base and ornaments in ivory around rosettes and the face. Bahriyeli Hacı Bey put his own sailor logo made of ivory on the body of the oud. The instrument is all original, except for some replaced ornamental stripes around the face. The oud was made playable by the master luthier Cengiz Sarıkuş of Istanbul.

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Next we have an oud built by Khatchik H. Atamian, a well-known Ottoman Turkish-Armenian luthier from Istanbul who made ouds until the late 1940s. The oud is all original, but is currently unplayable and requires restoration. The label inside includes a picture of the luthier with his name in Ottoman Turkish, Armenian and French, the date of manufacture (1921) and place (Istanbul).

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Finally, we have two examples of an instrument known as the cümbüş. The first instrument is an example of the earliest version of cümbüş ever made, probably in 1929 or 1930. It has the original logo on the natural skin, with the name of the Cümbüş family written in its original form "Cünbüş".

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The final instrument is the more familiar type of cümbüş, probably made in the 1970s. This instrument was restored by Dr Hiçdönmez himself - the artificial skin was replaced with a natural one and some small replacement parts were also obtained from the Cümbüş company.

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John Kaprielian
(USA)

 
This oud was made in 1967 by Ali and Muwaffaq Khalife. They are some of the most famous oud makers in Syria, and their workshop is based in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus. Ali Khalife has since passed away and Muwaffaq is now running the business.

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Andy Kasparian
(Massachusetts, USA)

 
The first instrument was made by Andy himself - it is a 13-string 7-course oud that was completed in August 2001. The back is made of 25 alternating staves of mahogany and maple, and the top of spruce. Because of the space needed to accommodate the extra strings, the fingerboard width is 1 3/4 inches at the nut and 2 1/2 inches at the base of the neck. Rosewood was used for the fingerboard, the pickguard and the 13 pegs, and as you can see there are no rosettes. Andy describes the oud as having a beautiful haunting mellow sound.

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The next instrument is a Macit İşleyen oud from Istanbul made in 1974. The back consists of 19 walnut staves with inlay. The original soundboard is made of spruce with three sound holes covered with hand-carved green abalone. The fingerboard is made of rosewood and the pegs are ebony. Andy describes the sound is very warm and exciting. He bought the oud several decades ago from a novice player, who had previously bought it from the well-known Rhode Island oud player Zaven Donabedian.

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Tony Klein
(Sweden)

 
This oud was made by Roufan Nahat of Damascus in 1908. Tony notes that it has a single extremely beautiful and elaborate rose of bone upon a wood underlay, including Arabic lettering in the centre. The top appears to be of cedar and the fingerboard is finely inlaid with a series of swans in bone or ivory.

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Spyros Koliavasilis
(Greece)

 
The Turkish oud on the left was made by Ejder Güleç in 1996 and belonged previously to Spyros's teacher, the famous Greek oud player Nikos Saragoudas. The back is made of mahogany with maple fillets, the front is spruce, and the fingerboard, pegs and rosettes are made of ebony. The oud in the middle was built in 2004 by Dimitris Rapakousios (www.dimitrisouds.com), and was influenced by the great Manol. The back is made of red Brazilian palisander and African amazakoue (African palisander), the front is made from very old German spruce, it has an ebony fingerboard and pegs, and horn rosettes. The oud on the right was also made by Dimitris Rapakousios in 2003 - the back is made of wenge and padauk, the front is old German spruce, and the fingerboard and pegs are made from palisander. The third photo below shows detail from the base of the Manol-style oud in the centre.

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David Lindley
(California, USA)

 
This oud was built in Damascus, Syria in 1930 by Mihran Mississian and resembles a Nahat. It is a very plain Arab-style oud with figured walnut bowl and French-polished spruce top, and David describes it as having an unusual sound - focused, woody with a lot of midrange and fairly loud. He bought the oud at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, California, and since then Henri Besançon has repaired some of the cracks in the back and Viken Najarian has carried out a neck set.

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Mike Malek
(California, USA)

 
Mike runs the excellent Mike's Oud Website. The first oud shown from his collection was made by Maurice Farouk Shehata, and was purchased from his 'Al Aseel' shop in Hadayek el-Koba, Cairo. It is made of padauk, and has a great deep resonant sound. In the last photo, one of Maurice's apprentices is shown putting on the final coat of finishing.

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The next instrument was made by Mourad el-Turki, and was purchased from the 'Gawharet el-Fan' store on Mohammad Ali Street, Cairo. Mike says that the oud looks like it is made of walnut, while the pegs are definitely olivewood.

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Here we have an oud built in 1925 by the Egyptian luthier Mohammed el-Hifnawi, which Mike was able to obtain with the help of Maurice Shehata. The oud was restored by Jameel Abraham and more details of the restoration can be found here. The work that he carried out included repairing a large split in the back of the pegbox and refinishing it, extensive cleaning and polishing, splicing the purfling at the tail end, and repairing the nut. The final photo shows the oud after restoration by Jameel.

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In 2007 Mike commissioned an oud from luthier Jameel Abraham. The design was based on an Abdo Nahat oud owned by Adel Salameh, but also incorporated features from other Abdo Nahat ouds. The soundboard was constructed from Englemann spruce and the bowl from walnut, with walnut and maple spacers and inlay. The roses and bridge inlays were made from bone, while the fingerboard used kingwood with ivory inlay, and the pegs and pickguard are rosewood. The scale length of the oud is 61 cm. The oud was completed in 2008 and the full story of its construction can be found here - the photos below are courtesy of Jameel's website.

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Jean-Loup Msika
(Paris, France/New York, USA)

 
This oud was built in 1949 by the Lebanese luthier Leon Istanbuli (Stambuli). Jean-Loup has it tuned to A=415 Hz with gut strings and says that it sounds great. Also shown is one of the traditional feather rishas that he makes, after spending much time sourcing the right feathers and practicing the art of cutting and sanding them into shape.

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Next up is a 1960s Egyptian oud built by Gamil Georges & Sons and restored by the Paris luthier Romuald Provost. Jean-Loup describes it as having a soft and delicate "pure" sound.

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Here we have a Turkish "student" oud, which nevertheless has a warm and deep sound and long sustain. The original ugly moulded plastic roses and formica pickguard were replaced with the help of Paris luthier Alexandre Bioud.

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This is mass-produced Ibrahim Sukar oud from Syria, but Jean-Loup says that it is still a very well-crafted, reliable and pleasing instrument, with a good sound for its very affordable price. It came without rosettes, but he designed special ones for it on Autocad and had them cut by laser from 3 mm opaque white plexiglass - it has now become the unique "Winged Mermaid Oud"!

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Jean-Loup's latest oud purchase is this old instrument that he found hanging in a shop in Paris, and which was carefully restored to playing condition by Romuald Provost. It was built in the 1950s by Anouar el Kebbah of Sidnaia, a Christian pilgrimage town 20 miles north of Damascus, Syria. It has a clear and beautiful sound, and shows intricate inlays on the soundboard, bowl, neck and even the pegbox.

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Jean-Loup also owns this traditional Tunisian instrument known as an oud arbi. He purchased it at an auction in Paris in 1980, but does not know the maker. It is strung with natural gut and the four pairs of strings are tuned d-d'-g-c'. The sounboard is cedar, with the roses cut directly into it. Paris luthier Wolfgang Früh repaired the peg-box and replaced the pegs, which were too thick and loose.

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Finally we have a Yemeni lute known as a qambus, built around 1930. It has a goat skin soundboard and gut strings. Over the years the nut and bridge had been awkwardly replaced and the peg holes slightly altered, so Paris luthier Romuald Provost made a new horn bridge (according to the traditional model) and a new boxwood nut, and also repaired the pegbox.

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Elias Nardi
(Pistoia, Italy)

 
Here we have a Bashir-style oud built in 2004 by Nazih Ghadban of Lebanon (www.oudnazihghadban.com). The bowl is made of alternate walnut and beechwood, the top is made of the best kind of cedar wood (with matt lacquer finish) with three elliptic holes, and the edge of the soundboard is made of a double strip of ebony and maple. The uses Nazih's brace system. It has a floating bridge of maple, while the pickguard is mahogany. The neck is walnut and the nut is made of rosewood like the pegbox, whereas the pegs are made of ebony. The fingerboard is a special fibre. The current strings are La Bella for the wound and Pyramid for the unwound. Elias says that the oud has a magnificent deep and rich sound, with a great projection and a lot of volume.

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Elias also owns this beautiful oud built by luthier Tawfiq Hanna Nahat of Damascus, Syria in 1930. Tawfiq was the son of the more famous Hanna Nahat.

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Elias plays with the Elias Nardi Quartet and you can find out more about his music on his website and Myspace page.

 


Abdallah El Nokaly
(Cairo, Egypt)

 
Abdallah obtained this oud from his friend and teacher Alaa Karaman. It was built at the Gamil Georges workshop in Cairo in 2002 and is extensively inlaid with mother of pearl. The scale length is approximately 61 cm and Abdallah has it tuned to CFADGC, using Aquila strings for the lower four courses and Pyramid strings for the upper two.

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David Obeid
(Canada)

 
David's oud was made by Abdo G. Nahat & Sons (Atelier de Menuiserie) of Rue el-Warde, Damascus, Syria in 1924. It carries the maker's no. 2161.

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Leon Palmer
(Portsmouth, England)

 
This oud was built in 2008 by Tasos Theodorakis (www.theodorakis.name). It has a western red cedar top, flame maple back and neck, with thin ebony stripes between the ribs, and an ebony fingerboard that finishes at the body. The pickguard was adapted from Tasos's original design to incorporate a pomegranate tree with bird motif to acknowledge Leon's Armenian roots on his mother's side. The scale length is 582 mm and Leon tunes to C#F#BEAD (sometimes lowering the bass string to B). Leon notes that the oud only weighs about 950 g, and is phenomenally resonant with great projection, producing a warm and very vibrant sound. The instrument was nicknamed 'Blondie' by Tasos once he discovered that Leon's wife and two daughters are blondes.

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Roy Patterson
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

 
Roy commissioned this oud through the Nile Shop in Cairo and it was built by Maurice Farouk Shehata. The body is made of rosewood with one stave of ebony to marry the top to the body, which balances the colour of the ebony fingerboard, bridge and tuning pegs. The top is spruce and the scale length is 24 3/8 in. Roy notes that Maurice's ouds are beautiful in their simplicity, and this oud has a great balance of clarity with a deep bass with lots of sustain; a nice touch is the brass rings on the tuning pegs.

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Roy is a jazz guitarist and you can find out more about his music on his website.

 


Brian Prunka
(Brooklyn, New York, USA)

 
The oud shown here has had rather a chequered history. The bowl has an unauthenticated Nahat label attached, which is in very poor condition but appears to indicate a build date of 1932. The instrument was severely damaged at one point, and restored by Viken Najarian, who also added a new neck and pegbox at that stage. The fairly wide-grain spruce soundboard with new bracing (as the old bracing was lost) was built by Najib Shaheen in 2008, who also put the end cap on the pegbox and added the boxwood pegs, new bridge, new rosewood fingerboard and purfling. The pickguard was made by Jameel Abraham. The oud is a small Arab-style instrument with a scale length of 59.1 cm. Brian has it strung with Pyramid lute strings for the wound strings, and Savarez .025 and d'Addario .030 for the nylon strings.

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This oud on the left was made by Shukri Al Mulqi of Damascus, Syria in the 1920s. It was originally owned by Hikmat Shaheen, and Brian obtained it from his sons Simon and Najib. The soundboard is original and appears to be spruce, while the fingerboard is rosewood and was replaced by Najib Shaheen, who also added the arm rest and possibly the pickguard. The pegs are olivewood and the small rosettes are bone and original, while the large rosette is not and was added recently. The soundhole was modified to be smaller at some point in the distant past by Hikmat Shaheen (purfling indicates the original soundhole - the wood inside was added later). The back is inlaid with very thin marquetry and the bowl is unusually deep. The scale length is 61 cm.

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Brian's third oud was made by Ali Khalifeh and Sons of Damascus, Syria in 1966, and is currently being worked on by Najib Shaheen.

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François Rainville
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

 
This oud was made in 2005 by Turkish-born master luthier, oudist, singer and composer İsmail Hakkı Fencioğlu, now resident in Canada. It is a Turkish model tuned (low to high) DF#BEAD. The back is made of Macassar ebony and African mahogany with maple veneer. The table is European spruce with horn rosettes and the fingerboard and pegs are African ebony. At the end of the head, the maker put a nazar boncuğu amulet for protection from the evil eye.

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The next oud was built by Hamza Rais of Lutherie de Luxe, Casablanca, Morocco in 2005. The back is made of walnut, padauk and maple, and the pegs are possibly of olivewood, while there is fine wood and bone ornamenyation around the soundholes. François says that the oud has a very nice tone with lots of volume.

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Alan Rophie
(USA)

 
This oud was made by Hanna Nahat of Damascus, Syria in 1903. The length from base to nut is 28", and from base to top of pegbox is 32". Other dimensions are: scale length 23.5", width 14.5", depth 8" and neck length 8". The fretwork over the soundhole is made of wood, with Arabic calligraphy overlaid in bone at the centre, which is a trademark of Nahat luthiers. The oud was recently restored by Richard Hankey, and the last two photos show it after restoration.

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The next instrument is a Bashir-style oud completed by Iraqi luthier Mohammed Fadel Hussein on 9/3/1992 and purchased from Ronny Andersson. The bowl is made of rosewood and mahogany with a European spruce top, and the neck and pegbox are made of rosewood. The fingerboard is made of fibreglass and the string length is 57 cm. The weight of this oud is very similar to that of the Nahat shown above. Alan notes that it has a deep rich sound with good sustain, and is very loud.

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Finally, we have Alan's Turkish oud completed by Sabri Usta (Sabri Göktepe) of Ankara, Turkey on 2/6/2000. The soundboard is cypress, the fingerboard is oak, the bowl is oak and mahogany, and the rosettes are made of formica. The scale length is 59 cm. Alan says that the oud is very light, is very easy to play with good action, and has a beautiful sound with long sustain.

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Adel Salameh
(France)

 
This oud was made by the famous Syrian luthier George Hanna Nahat in 1941, and Adel reports that it sounds identical to the Nahat oud of Farid al-Atrash.

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Adel is a virtuoso oud player and has his own website, where you can learn more about his music.

 


Armen Sevag
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

 
The first instrument from Armen's collection shown on the right was made in Istanbul, Turkey in 1902 by the famous luthier Manolis Venios (Manol). It has the original face and also has a pickup installed.

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The next oud was built in 1970 by Onnik Karibyan, who was born in Greece but worked in Istanbul, Turkey. The instrument is all original except for the pegs and pickup - the latter was installed by Peter Kyvelos of Belmont, Massachusetts, who also carried out a masterful restoration.

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Next up is a recently-made oud built by Temel Sehit of Izmir, Turkey. Armen notes that it has lovely wood inlay work throughout the instrument.

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The oud on the left was built by Haluk Eraydın of Ankara, Turkey. It has a custom wenge and padauk bowl, full ebony fingerboard, dual transducer pickup system and horn rosettes.

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To the right we have an oud that is actually owned by Armen's cousin Jeff. This instrument was purchased from Engin Eroğluer, son of the famous Istanbul oud maker Hadi Usta. It was made in 2000 and has a full-length fingerboard. Another nice touch is the wood inlay in the centre of the back of the neck.

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This oud was custom made by Haluk Eraydın of Ankara, Turkey and features guitar tuners. It has a mahogany and black walnut bowl, and a lovely rich deep finish.

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On the right is an oud made by Temel Şehit, which Armen estimates was built around 20 years ago based on the tone and colour of the top. It has a full-length ebony fingerboard and trademark wood inlays throughout the instrument.

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Finally we have a custom-built oud made by Maurice Shehata of Cairo, Egypt. It has a padauk bowl with abalone binding and extensive abalone inlay throughout, and is also fitted with a pickup.

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Elyasaf Shweka
(Israel)

 
This oud was built in 1924 possibly by the Armenian luthier Mihran Mississian of Damascus, Syria. It was found in an attic in Israel in a very bad condition (see last photo below), and was rebuilt by luthier Kamil Mowais of Nazareth. The whole of the front is new but the back is original. The original fingerboard was longer than average and the tuning was no doubt different from what is common now. Mowais cut more than 2 cm from the fingerboard and removed the ivory inlay because it was in poor condition. Elyasaf reports that the sound of the oud is very warm and deep.

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Julien Stryjak
(France)

 
Julien studied violin making in Mirecourt, France and is a maker of lutes (see his website), but this was the first oud he made. It was completed in July 2004 and was based on the model in Richard Hankey's book, but with a personal touch. The back, neck and pegbox are made of walnut, and the front of French spruce. The fingerboard and pegs are ebony, the roses bone, and the neck and pegbox rosewood. The external inlay is ebony, lemonwood and rosewood. The oud is tuned to the standard Arabic tuning C(D)GADGC.

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Julien's latest oud was finished at the end of 2007 and is based on a 1928 Abdo Nahat oud made in Damascus, Syria, which he had the opportunity to measure. The shape, measurements and internal construction were copied from the Nahat, but the general design is Julien's own. The top is made of high-quality spruce, the back and pegbox of French walnut, cypress and black inlays, and the neck is veneered with ebony, which is also used for the fingerboard. The bird inlay, bridge and pegbox cover are plates of bone. French polish and wax (for the top) were used as a finish. The string length is 615 mm and the tuning used is CFADGC.

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Alan Suits
(Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

 
This Nahat-style oud was built by Alan in 2011. The back is made of Pacific yew, it has an Engelmann spruce top (over 18 years old) and walnut neck with integral dovetail joint through the neckblock, and the fingerboard is made from uniquely figured bocote and ebony. The roses are of three-ply Baltic birch and it is fitted with rosewood pegs. The string length is 24 1/24", the overall length is around 31 1/2", the width is 14 5/8" and the depth is around 7 3/4".

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Tasos Theodorakis
(Thessaloniki, Greece)

 
Tasos is a well-known luthier (see his website) but also collects antique ouds. The instrument shown on the right was built by Manolis Venios (Manol) in Istanbul in 1904, and the label inside is in both Ottoman Turkish and Greek script. The body is made of walnut and plum wood, the top is of spruce, the fingerboard and pegs are made of ebony, and the rosette is of horn.

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Lee Varis
(California, USA)

 
This oud was bought secondhand from Wa'el Kakish of Pasadena, California. The label inside says 'Oud House, Amed Abd El Haliem'. The woods used for construction are uncertain - the face appears to be cedar, the back seems to be alternating strips of walnut, rosewood (palisander?) and a light wood (maple or beech?) The fingerboard seems to be finished with a dark stain which hides the actual wood that was used (definitely not rosewood or ebony), and it also shows some wear. There is a light lacquer finish over everything except the fingerboard, including the face. The pegs are not fitted well and the nut (which appears to be bone) is not particularly well finished. The bowl has a slightly shallower depth that makes it particularly comfortable to hold. Lee says that all in all it is an instrument of intermediate quality - decent sound, full warm bass with a little weakness in the treble strings.

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Jean-Luc Vézier
(France)

 
This oud was completed by Abdo Dagher of Cairo, Egypt in March 2001. The soundboard is made of very old piano spruce and the bowl of the best saaj hindi wood from Egypt, which is no longer available. The pegbox, pegs, rose and rosettes are made all made of rosewood. The width of the oud is 42 cm and the scale length is 62.5 cm.

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Matthew Warman
(England)

 
This is an example of Nazih Ghadban's (www.oudnazihghadban.com) 13-string 'Sada El Rouh' model, which translates as 'Echo of the Soul/Spirit', and was completed on 10/10/2007. The bowl is 50 cm by 37 cm and is made of alternate ribs of old walnut and rosewood. The fingerboard is ebony, made to a 58.5 cm string scale length, and the top is spruce. Nazih incorporates a unique pegbox design on this 13-string oud: not wanting to have an extra long pegbox due to the extra peg, he has designed a shorter pegbox with two levels, where the upper level takes four pegs, and the bottom level the remainder. This design is very functional and is no any heavier than a traditional pegbox. The Arabic calligraphy on the pickguard reads 'Al Salam' (Peace) and the calligraphy carved from bone in the centre of the rosette reads 'Sada El Rouh'.

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Ntinos Zarifopoulos
(Greece)

 
Ntinos's oud is a Turkish-style instrument made by Dimitris Rapakousios (www.dimitrisouds.com). The body is maple, the face is cedar, the fingerboard is ebony, the rosette is padauk, and abalone was used for the marquetry.

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Osama Zayed
(Chicago, Illinois, USA)

 
This instrument was built in 2002 by Nazih Ghadban of Lebanon (www.oudnazihghadban.com). The bowl is made from mahogany and beech with small palisander strips between the ribs, and the soundboard is made from the best kind of cedar wood. The brace system was developed by Nazih Ghadban and there are three elliptical soundholes. The pickguard is specially shaped from palisander and the bridge is made of maple. The neck is of beech wood, the nut and pegbox of walnut, and the pegs made from apricot. The fingerboard uses a special kind of fibre and the finishing of the oud uses French varnish. The scale length is 60 cm and the oud is currently strung with Thomastic strings made in Austria with the tuning (low to high) FADGC.

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