They are Guitar-like instruments made by either Arabs or Hispanics Some special features are: .
Lack of frets: The oud, unlike many other plucked stringed instruments, d…oes not have a fretted neck. This allows the player to be more expressive by using slides and vibrato. It also makes it possible to play the microtones of the Arabic Maqam System. This development is relatively recent, as ouds still had frets in AD 1100, and they gradually lost them by AD 1300, mirroring the general development of Near-Eastern music which abandoned harmony in favor of melismatics. .
Strings: With some exceptions, the modern oud has eleven strings. Ten of these strings are paired together in courses of two. The eleventh, lowest string remains single. There are many different tuning systems for the oud which are outlined below. The ancient oud had only four courses - five by the 9th century. The strings are generally lighter to play than the modern classical guitar. .
Pegbox: The pegbox (to tune the strings) of the oud is bent back at a 45-90Â° angle from the neck of the instrument. This provides the necessary tension that prevents the pegs from slipping. The tension of the strings helps to hold what would otherwise be a weak joint together. The nut is held in place by the string tension, rather than being glued. The pegs do not slip if tapered accurately; if they do, chalk is used to make them stick more, and soap to enable them to slip more. Proprietary compounds or pastes, sometimes called pegdope are also used. .
Body: The oud's body has a staved, bowl-like back resembling the outside of half a watermelon, unlike the flat back of a guitar. This bowl allows the oud to resonate and have a particular tone quality. The shape is structurally very strong and stable enabling it to be very thin. It can be 1.2 mm. Although made of dense hardwood good instruments are not heavy. The guitar structure would not be stable if the build were as light. .
Sound-holes: The oud generally has one to three sound-holes, which may be either oval or circular, and often are decorated with a carved bone or wooden rosette. (MORE)