The business I deal with is the most pleasurable one that I can ever imagine...
I regard myself as someone who realized his childhood dreams and has gained a worldwide success. I say “I am fulfilling my childhood fantasy” to those asking what I am doing.
When I was a kid any musical instrument used to thrill me more than even the toys. I always used to keep fantasizing about one day making an instrument. I augmented my fancy for making a mandolin, which was my ambition in those days, simply because the first instrument I had ever owned had been a mandolin.
I have been making ouds since 1984. Since 1997 with my partner who is a remarkable genius on designing of special jigs and tools, my bosom friend Suat Çetincan, we have developed a technology which is sparking a revolutionary idea in oud construction.
My only support was my ambition for success when I started making my first oud in 1984. At first sight, the task I was hoping to success had seemed to me as a sort of fine woodworking. But soon I saw the truth in instrument making. A musical instrument was and is an extremely complex construction. With knowing the specifications of the materials and ingenuity of woodworking it was only possible to make just a bad copy of a musical instrument.
There was a difficult problem laying in front of me such as figuring
out the physical structure of a complex system and understanding a
physical phenomenon impossible to observe. While everyone was admiring
the corporeal properties of an oud that I made and also the sound was
“beautiful” to some, these compliments did not satisfy me. I should make
the best of possible. Having made the first three ouds I concentrated
on experiments and theoretical researches for one year, needless to say
that without neither any measuring device nor any reference guide. I
made innumerous experiments to understand the effect of the brace beams
on the sound. Comparing the results of those experiments I established
some generalizations. I formulated these generalizations in some
mathematical equations and established the “Brace tuning Method”. This
quest lasted for just twelve years, though I narrated at one sweep. In
1996 it became possible to construct an oud having the desired tonality.
Wood is treated in more than eight hundred different processes starting from the time it was obtained in the form of lumber until becoming an instrument with its strings mounted. I turned out all these processes alone for twelve years. An oud’s construction took me thirty or forty days with twelve hours work daily. An oud was costing me a labor of 3-4 hundreds of hours. Anyhow, I should have found the way of expediting the processes.
Suat Çetincan, my school mate in the Architecture School of State Academy of Fine Arts, for some reason or other had preferred to deal with some other jobs though he had the capability for working as a very successful architect. For a period in his workshop he produced stained glass doors, windows, panels for buildings designed by distinguished architects. Later he worked as a painter and designer in the textile sector. His occupation had been furniture designing and production just before becoming a partner with me. I persuaded him to become a partner in my work as a result of my massive efforts.
In March, 1997 we made our first tool for expediting and standardizing the oud construction processes. That was our peg box assembling gig. Today we have one hundred and twenty seven special tools and gigs, big and little mixed together, designed and made by Suat Çetincan. They make up a full system. They necessitate to follow an unprompted logical order because every gig prepares the process to the next gig in the general production line, thus the workflow plan appears spontaneously thanks to that peculiarity of our tool system.
I learned too many things from the people who have visited my workshop since I started making oud. These were all fragmentary things consisting of questions asked and thoughts suggested mostly inoperative, irrelevant false assertions. Anyway, on the ground that my apprehension concentrated on the subject due to these questions and thanks to the answers which I could find and the experiments I made to test those assertions, I developed a new method by applying the mathematical formulas I found out. Oud making has been a means of fulfilling my childhood fantasy and at the same time a melting pot in which I found the chance to blend solicitude, forbearance, perseverance, business friendship and attachment in my personality.