Ouds by Jonathan Varjabedian

The oud is generally considered a predecessor of the lute.  The modern form of this fretless instrument usually has 11 strings, with 5 paired courses and one single bass string.  It is common throughout much of Africa and the Middle East.


December, 2007.  Shortly before face was placed on oud #2.  Oud #3 to far left.

Oud Number 1:

Begun:  October, 2005. 

Completed: May, 2006. 

Bowl woods: American flame maple and Australian lacewood, with black/white/black purfling (dyed pear wood) between each stave.  21 staves.  German spruce face, with inlaid dyed pear wood around each rosette.

Abalam rosettes.  Tiled edge purfling. 


Oud Number 2:

Begun:  June, 2006

Completed:  December, 2007. 

Bowl woods:  American quilted maple and African mahogany.  17 staves. Inlaid walnut burl end cap.  Walnut burl pick guard.  Ebony edge banding.  German spruce face, with inlaid dyed pear wood around each rosette, and mother of pearl inlaid at 12 o'clock on the central rosette.  Finish:  2 coats of grain sealer, 8 coats of shellac, and 3 coats of polyurethane.  This one sounds fairly amazing.

Oud Number 3

Begun July, 2007

Completed:  December, 2008

Bowl woods:  African pink ivory wood and American mulberry, with black/white/black purfling (dyed pear wood) between each stave. 19 staves.  Inlaid ebony end cap. 


Oud Number 4

Begun January, 2008

Still in its earliest stages.  American pear and American walnut. 


Restorations.  The instruments above are my own creations.  The following are instruments that I have restored.


1947, Kayserili Jebrayel.  The original condition was as shown.  I know of no other instruments by this luthier, so I could not base my design for the face on one of his works.  The two small rosettes, made of ivory, may have been original to the instrument.  None of the rosettes are my work.  The bowl is made out of walnut and (Philippine?) mahogany.  The mahogany turned out to be quite beautiful after the bowl was cleaned, sanded, and treated with sealer and polyurethane.  The staves are quite thin--approximately 1.3 mm, although they appear thicker in the first photograph because of a kerfing strip that had been glued to it at the edge--this was removed during restoration.  Loose staves re-approximated.  Mold and glue residue removed from inside of bowl.  Losses to inlaid fingerboard replaced (maple).  New face made out of German spruce, with inlaid pear wood around rosettes, and small inlay of ebony and mother of pearl at 12 o'clock on the central rosette.  New nut, new pick guard, new bridge (wenge, mahogany, and ivory).  Peg box re-fitted with bone pegs. Tiled edge purfling around face made of mahogany and wenge.