Oud vs Guitar
The main difference between an Oud instrument and a guitar is that the neck of an Oud is fretless. The frets of a guitar allow the guitarist to play chords but they cannot play quarter tones. An Oud has limited chords but the fretless neck allows for a monochromatic range of sound that has no limitations.
Tuning of the Oud
The most common tuning of the Oud from top to bottom is
F A D G C F
Tuning of the Guitar
The standard tuning for the guitar from top to bottom is
E A D G B E
Music of the Oud
Since the neck of the Oud is fretless, an Oud player can play quarter tones on a monochromatic scale. There are many different styles of Oud with different styles, tunings, rhythms, and scales. There are the Egyptian, Iraqi, and Turkish schools of Oud that all use different techniques. The Oud is the Sultan of sound for it is the main instrument of the Middle East and the Arab world. There are hundreds of different scales that are called Maqams. The Maqamat system includes different scales to express different moods and different cultures. Masters of the Oud like Mohamed Al Wahab, Munir Bashir, and Farid Al Atrash all mastered the Maqamat system of the Arab world to create infinite possibilities of music.
Music of the Guitar
Guitars are the descendent of the Oud when renaissance Europeans turned the Oud into the Lute. The lute eventually turned into the guitar in the 16th century and like the lute it is primarily used for Western music. The fretted neck allows the guitarist to play specific chords and notes that correspond with the western form of whole and half note music. The guitar can be used to complement any genre of music yet it has been adapted to play music genres like rock, country, blues, and more. The acoustic and electric guitar are some of the most recognizable instruments in the world since they have been popularized by legendary bands like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Nirvana, and by rock stars like Eddie Van Halen, Slash, BB King, John Mayer, and many more.
How Are Ouds and Guitars Made?
Guitars are manufactured by machines in factories with identical parts. Guitars have been in such high demand for the recent centuries that companies have found easy to mass produce guitars in factories. All guitars of the same model should look and sound 100% identical since they are made with the exact same parts, measurements, and methods.
Ouds are always handmade by artisan oud makers. Oud making is a sacred craft that is passed down and mastered through multiple generations. Certain families perfect their own methods, measurements, and styles of Oud over time then pass down their secrets to younger family members. All Ouds are handmade with precision, yet no two ouds sound the exact same. Every Oud instrument has its own unique sound and musical identity.