How To Change Oud Strings
String is the first element which initiates the sound produced by any stringed instrument. It consist a long and thin material, put under tension between two fixed points. String gauge refers to the thickness or diameter of the material.
When a string is activated through the fingers, bow or hammer, it starts a vibration which spreads a group of frequencies to the air. One of them will usually predominate above the others and it is named musical note. The other subtle frequencies are named overtones, and give the timbral properties to the sound.
Thicker strings are used for lower notes or bass notes. Thinner strings are used for higher strings or higher notes. String tension refers to the weight exerted on the instrument. Heavy strings will have higher tension compared to lighter strings which have less tension. Heavy strings feel heavy. One will need slightly more finger strength to play them versus lighter strings. String tension is directly related to string thickness and density.
There is a difference between the gauge and tension requirements for Arabic and Turkish Ouds. Turkish Ouds are tuned higher than Arabic Ouds, so they use strings with a lower gauge or thinner string. However one needs to put more tension in the Oud string by tuning it higher.
Oud String Materials
The Oud string has been made from silk or gut in the early dates. In the modern era, the two lower pairs of strings are made from nylon of a 0.55-0.70 and 0.65-0.80 mm diameter. The other three pairs and the uppermost single string are made from silk covered with a very fine alloy made from copper, nickel and silver.
- Silk: A strength natural material, once very used in Far Eartern instruments. It’s costly. Strings are made by twisting the fibers together.
- Gut: Animal intestine, widely used in the past. They get broken easily and detune quickly. Cat, sheep and goat intstines can be used to make them. They must be cut in thin strands and twisted together.
- Nylon: Nowadays it’s the usual replacement for gut and silk strings. Nylon has resistance end strength but distorts when time passes. There are monofikament stirngs or wound strings.
- Metal: Widely used together with Nylon strings. They produce a bright and loud sound. They can range from a simple wire to wound metal over nylon strings.
How to Change Oud Strings
Changing Oud strings may seem to be very difficult if you've never done it however we would like to make it easier for you by explaining it step by step via our youtube video below.
- Take off all strings by unwinding the peg to loosen oud strings all the way. Then untie the loops tied to the bridge.
- Tie a new string to the bridge. Put the oud string through the hole on the bridge from the left side of the bridge, loop it around as though tying a knot. Repeat it 1,2,3,4 times and pull tight. (Please see youtube video for clearer explanation)
- Tie other side of the oud string to the corresponding peg. You need to cut the new string so that you don’t have too much extra string to wind onto the peg. Count 1,2,3 pegs and then cut the string. (Please see youtube video for clearer explanation)
- Put the string inside of the peg’s hole twice. After fixing it wrap your string. After changing the oud strings you need to retune your oud.
For further information please see our Oud String Collection.