How to Maintain your Oud
After you choose and buy an oud, it is very important that you treat your oud with respect and take proper care of it. Be conscious of how you are storing your oud, where you are storing it, how you are cleaning it, and how you are tuning your oud instrument.
An oud should be stored in an environment that will not distort or warp the oud. Humid climates can be very bad for your oud and it is recommended to keep your oud in an environment with humidity levels no higher than 50-60%. Make sure to keep your oud away from water because it will warp the oud and ruin the oud.
Many people would assume to rest the oud against the back peg box and neck, but it is actually very important to rest the oud with the strings facing the stand or wall.
Be very careful when traveling and storing the oud because they are fragile and a part of your identity. Make sure to store the oud in a very hard case so it will be protected and try to keep it from moving around. If you are traveling by plane, make sure you bring the oud as your carryon instead of checking it in like a bag. It is also very important to completely loosen the strings when traveling with and storing the oud in a case. Make sure the strings are completely loose to a point where no sound can be made.
When finding a good place to store or rest your oud, keep in mind that the oud should not be in a humid, hot, or very sunny place. Do not store the oud in an area with a lot of sun exposure because that will be bad for the oud, and do not leave the oud in a hot area like the trunk of a car for more than 24 hours.
It is a good habit to keep your oud clean and shiny, but be very careful. Only use a soft, dry rag to clean your oud and do not use any liquid or cleaning products.
Tuning the Oud
All ouds are different, and every style of oud has a unique and specific tuning. It is absolutely crucial to tune your oud to the correct notes or else you will break your oud and the strings. The tuning of the Iraqi has to be from bottom to top: F C G D C F and the tuning for an Egyptian oud must be F C G D A E. A common tuning for Turkish oud is D G B E A D from the top down.
Any oud can be played to any tuning you must replace the strings that must be tuned to specific notes. We recommend using the “Inustuner” app for iOS and for android users we recommend the app ”Fine Chromatic Tuner”.
How to Start Playing the Oud Instrument for Beginners
Once you have chosen your oud, gotten a Risha, and tuned the oud correctly, it is time to start making music. All beginners should start to mess around and get a feel for the instrument, but anyone who wants to play the oud needs to learn many techniques and concepts from an instructor. There are many free youtube videos about the oud, but they are usually made for a larger, online audience that is only trying to listen to the oud and not an individual who is trying to learn and practice the oud. The best option is to enroll in the School of Oud Online which specializes in teaching an organized and easy to learn two year curriculum on how to play the oud. The instructors are well educated masters of the oud and they will teach you via skype call, so you can learn the oud from the comfort of your own home instead of flying to the Arab House of Oud in Cairo.
Here in tucson Arizona I’m pretty much alone with my oud — a Turkish made I got from Ethnic Musical. I’m using c f a d g c tuning. The humidity here is often less than 10% so I use humidifiers in the case . Any comments or suggestions ?