Folk & Acoustic Musical Instrument Specialists

Ud Information and FAQs


(also spelt aud or oud) short necked, bowl back plucked lute of the Arab world, the direct ancestor of the European lute; principal instrument of the Arab world.


The Oud or Ud is the premier instrument of the Arab world, still played widely and is the ancestor of the Lute and hence many modern Western instruments. It is a fretless Lute with a bowl back and angled peg head. The word Ud means wood. The name of several instruments come from the Ud too. Al Ud = A Lute, also the Laud from Spain.


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The Oud has around 11 nylon or gut strings and no frets. Turkish ouds are slightly smaller and tuned G,D,A,E,B,F# while the arabic ones have a slightly larger body and are usually tuned G,A,B,E,A,D. Usully Uds have a fixed bridge as do lutes, Iraqi style Ud has a floating bridge with the strings going to the tail.


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Arabic and Turkish tunings are different, lots of variations in tuning, often tuned to suit a piece of music.
Follows the vocal style of music, which has more subtleties and nuances than Western style of music (which is constrained by frets)