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Ukulele Vs. Oud – Which One Is Easier For Beginners?

For music lovers interested in learning string instruments, the Oud or the Ukulele are ideal options. Learning either of them has its benefits and drawbacks, but both instruments will generate amazing musical tunes once you’ve mastered them.

This article will explain the significant differences between the Oud and Ukulele and which is the easiest to learn for beginners. Let’s get to it!

Oud Vs. Ukulele – The Major Differences

Body Shape: 

The Oud instrument is similar to a lute with its deep, pear-shaped body. Its soundboard is made with softwood for improved resonance. It also has a fretless fingerboard, a less severely bent-back pegbox, and a shorter neck, unlike the lute. On the other hand, the Ukulele has a figure 8 shape and features a short neck which allows it to be played closer to the body. The Ukulele is bent slightly outwards, giving it its unique structure.

The Number Of Strings: 

The Oud typically has 11 strings divided into six courses. However, other models have five or seven courses, each with 10 or 13 strings. In contrast, a standard Ukulele has four strings. 

Style Of Music: 

The Oud is more popular as a stringed instrument in East Africa and the Middle East, where its style of music is predominant. In contrast, the Ukulele has a broader reach due to its Portuguese and Hawaiian origins. You may easily hear traces of pop, rock, folk, and classical in its style of music.


Doumbek and Oud players in the street - via Pexels

There are two popular ways to tune the Oud. It makes sense to use the Arabic tuning if you’re playing music with an Arabic influence. At the same time, it is ideal to use Turkish tuning for Turkish, Armenian, and Greek music. Everything is basically one step higher in the Turkish tuning than in the Arabic tune. If a string on an oud tuned in the Arab tradition is tuned as a C, the identical string will be a D in Turkish style.

On the other hand, the Ukulele tuning depends on its size and type. The most common sizes are concert, soprano, baritone, and tenor. The soprano Ukulele is smaller than its larger siblings and produces a softer, thinner tone. It is ideal for beginners with small hands because the frets are closer together, and the Ukulele is compact. The concert Ukulele is a somewhat larger sibling of the soprano. It boasts a richer tone, a more extended profile, and larger fret spacing. Tenor Ukuleles are bigger and heavier than concert Ukuleles, but they project tone considerably better. With extra room around the neck and broader frets, the Tenor Ukulele is ideal for fingerpicking. The Baritone Ukulele is the most prominent member of the Ukulele family, with a broader neck profile that allows for a more significant space between the frets, resulting in a more profound and fuller tone.


The Oud’s cost depends on the quality of the wood and the manufacturer. The price typically ranges anywhere from $400 to $1500. In contrast, a Ukulele price ranges from $30 to $2000. 

Ukulele vs. Oud: Which Is Easier For Beginners And Why?

Ukulele instruments on a table

The Ukulele is easier for beginners because of its similarity to a contemporary guitar, size, and number of strings. It’s easier to learn and master the tune of four strings rather than ten or thirteen strings. Additionally, the nylon strings of the Ukulele make it simpler for the hands to bounce around the melodies and are gentler on the fingertips.

The Oud, on the other hand, is arguably more difficult. Its songs are more challenging to perform, and there are many styles and chords to learn, which might be hard for a beginner. The price is also a determining factor in starting out. Since the Ukulele is cheaper than the Oud, a beginner should preferably choose it to determine if string musical instruments are for them.

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