THE PLECTRUM

The ancient plectrum of the oud which used to be made from the wing of a young male eagle has now left its place to both flexible and strong plectrums made from plastic of good quality with a length of 11-13 cm, a width of 6 mm and a thickness of 0.6-0.8 mm. These plectrums have their tips rounded parabolic ally and are polished with felt (The plectrums made of thin plastic bag handles or such are not suitable for good quality-instruments and players.) Moreover, the plectrums made of the plastic material “I-20” and of average-flexibility are widely preferred nowadays.

The toughness and the flexibility of the plectrum may change according to the preferences of the player. There is no standard or stipulations on this issue, because some important players have preferred tough plectrums whereas others have preferred a soft and flexible type. For instance, Targan used a flexible plectrum of average-toughness and with a thin tip. Yorgo Bacanos, on the other hand, preferred a quite tough plectrum. Furthermore, the way that the plectrum is held and the angle are as important as the toughness issues, as they influence the timbre and the volume of the sound obtained from the oud. This is a critical issue for the beginners, as it would be quite tough to switch from the wrong way to the right one at later stages.

When the edge of plectrum is needle we have more treble and brilliant sound, while when the needle of plectrum is oval the sound is more bass but not so brilliant. My opinion is that the best plectrum is the plectrum which is very soft and has good elasticity, that is when we knock the string with plectrum must to return quickly in the straight.