HOW TO TUNE A 12 (OR 6) STRING GUITAR TO SIMULATE A SIMPLE OUD, BY SIMPLY RETUNING Perhaps the most common Oud has 11 strings: five pairs of same-gauge strings and a single low bass string. It seems the most common tuning is (low to high) C F A D G C A regular 12 string guitar can be retuned to this Oud tuning and can be used to experiment with Oud scales and tunes. This will of course work for a 6 string guitar as well, just without the fuller sound of a 12 string. All guitar strings involved are tuned DOWN in pitch, so there's little chance of string breakage. In this first example, the guitar's strings are tuned to the exact notes of an Oud: Depending on the gauge of your guitar strings, GUITAR TUNING: E A D G B E OUD RE-TUNING: C F A D G C Depending on the gauge of your guitar strings,some notes (like guitar's D string) that need considerable lowering might be too low and sound bad. In which case, you can retune your guitar to a higher Oud pitch like this: GUITAR TUNING: E A D G B E OUD RE-TUNING: E A C# F# B E As you can see, only two strings need lowering. The downside here is that the guitar is now tuned quite a number of steps above traditional Oud tuning BUT the string intervals are the SAME as Oud tuning & Oud melodies can be played just like they would be on an Arabic instrument.
I certainly don't pretend that this retuned guitar IS an Oud - but this setup is quite a bit of fun to experiment with & should you ever come upon an Oud, you'll find it much more familiar after having noodled with a retuned guitar. Other obvious differences between an OUd and a retuned guitar: - By far the biggest difference is that Ouds have no frets but even with frets, you can pretend they're not there. Lots of slipping and sliding with Ouds. - Oud strings are made of nylon and wound nylon. Steel strings on the guitar strings work, but with a different sound. - Unlike the 12 string guitar, on the Oud, the gauge of each pair of the two strings is the same (not an octave apart as in some 12 string guitar pairs). But this all being experimental - so what. Dennis Havlena - W8MI Straits of Mackinac, northern Michigan firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.DennisHavlena.com
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