I was born in 1963 in Hacıabdullah town of Niğde Center. I experienced my hand skills and artistic skills with making hand tools used in agriculture, which my teachers gave as homework during my primary school years. I came to Ankara at the age of 13 and wanted to learn about repair of electronic devices, car engines and bodywork. Although I wanted these professions, I turned to be a carpenter. But I was not accepted as an apprentice because the job was heavy. I became an apprentice to the shoe master, saying "There is no such thing" after the repairmen said "This shoe will not be repaired" for my shoe that I took for repair, and after twenty days I repaired that shoe.
After working in Ankara for three years, I came to Istanbul and continued to work in the shoe business. When I first heard about the oud playing of a leather trader in front of the workshop where I worked at the age of 16, I was very impressed by the sound of the oud. Whenever he played the oud, I would sit and listen. Thanks to the leather trader, I met and contacted with shoemakers who deal with music, I enrolled in the Turkish Art Music Association led by Erol Küçükyalçın, one of the artists of Istanbul Radio, and bought my first oud. I continued until the age of twenty.
After 18 months of military service, I continued to work with the master for a while. I was interested in Sufi music at the age of twenty-two. In Sufi music, the depth of the lyrics affected me very much. Later, when I met Bâtini Bir Pir, a master of Sufism, my view of life started to take shape again.
I left my shoe business and worked as a travelling salesman in different districts of Istanbul for 2 years. When I was twenty-four I opened a bespoke shoe repair shop. Meanwhile, as I earned money, I realized many things I wanted to produce as a hobby. I made iron joinery doors, windows, parquet flooring, wooden table making, television repair, cassette player, radio repair and manufacturing, multi-purpose milling machine and boot enlargement mould machine used in shoe business. I worked with garment leather dyes and water-mixed oil and chemical works and dyed flexible garment leathers for many years.
My customer for whom I repair shoes said that he opened a musical instruments store and invited me to the opening. I went to the invitation. Later I went there constantly, and it gave my old passion for music a new life. I started to examine the properties of the oud and baglama that I am interested in. I made my first baglama instrument in my shoe workshop. When he saw the instrument I made, the shopkeeper said, "You are doing this job, let me give you materials and start making oud." I bought machinery and trees used in instrument making.
My journey of making an instrument started in this way. I continued making shoes and baglama saz for five years. The instruments I made were appreciated by the musicians. Five years later I saw that two professions would not work at the same time. I quit making shoes and baglama saz and started making oud by moving to the workplace. After the well-known oud masters in Istanbul asked me for an oud boat, I started to produce oud boats for oud masters. By getting closer to them, I had the opportunity to observe the different production techniques of many masters in oud making.
I gave importance to R & D studies on sound, physics rules and cause and effect relationship. I used different techniques to prevent these problems from occurring in the ouds I made by observing which problems occurred during long-term use of the ouds of different masters. Meanwhile, I focused entirely on the luthier business by making machines and apparatus for this area. I determined my brand as "JAYMAZ OUD" and sold 95% of the ouds I made abroad. I have always adopted the principle of improving myself in this field. I aimed to innovate by doing my job in the best way possible. I felt it was necessary to share some of the experiences I gained from my 41 years of craft experience to those who are new to oud and music.
2) LUTHIER MEHMET CAYMAZ DESIGNS
- I produced classical ouds according to the expectations of the musicians, but also produced new designed ouds to create an alternative to musicians.Except for the classical oud, I made 3 models of oud in different depths and volumes without changing the classical form.
- I made 3 different acoustic electro oud models
- I produced a 4-axis manual copy machine
- I designed the tools used in oud making
- The Plectrum is very important in performing the oud. There are 5 models of plectrums that I designed to provide high volume and playing comfort. As the tips of the 5 models have different thicknesses, the preference of the artists who use different styles of plectrum has been taken into consideration. The plectrum design, which is in the manufacturing phase, has emerged as a result of testing the raw materials that will give the best sound.
- I pioneered the production of oud wire that provides high performance, durable and oud suitable sound characteristics.
- I made a wood sculpture in the form of an oud for a Lebanese surrealist sculptor. The sculptures, 2 meters tall, contain different parts of the oud.
- The first time I made an identity card application for each oud in Turkey. This card has the date of production, the tree it was produced from, and an oud protection guide. Three years later, different oud makers also started using this application.
- The production is made in Turkey 'AURORA' 'the wire, I made the R & D work and design. The three most commonly used wire designs are offered to artists.
The string must have the appropriate sound character. Its voltage and oscillation should match the sound from treble to bass. The strings I designed are Turkish D.C # Arap C.D, C.C Arap F.F.
Apart from my own designs, I transferred professional knowledge to different masters. I designed an acoustic electro oud model for Ramazan Calay and İbrahim Ada, who produced oud in Istanbul, and also produced molds and boats for many years.
3) TECHNICAL, HARD AND ABSTRACT EXPERIENCES IN OUD MAKING
Every instrument has historical development. Over time, the development of humanity has also affected musical styles such as the understanding of art. Developments in the field of music and technology show us that the changes in musical instruments will always continue. Oud is one of the instruments that has undergone little changes and has taken its present form. I think it is necessary to preserve the classic and create the sound of the oud of the future in oud making.
According to the cultural differences of the societies that lived in Mesopotamia and Anatolia, where ancient cultures and wisdom were combined, differences occurred in the sound character of the ouds. For me, the vocal character of the oud resembles the vocal character of a wise old man. The reasons why the sounds and quality of musical instruments made by each master are different; It is related to the technical and artistic hand skill of the master, his view of life and the negative or positive bodily energy. Each master has his own unique knowledge. It differs according to his hand skill and level of consciousness. It is reflected in every aspect of the instrument it produces.
Human beings are both concrete and abstract, apparent and intangible. It is intertwined with the universe with its energy. It is like the proof that every object that came into existence on earth with the existence of human beings depends on the dimensions of the imagination of the human being. Therefore, we cannot look at human productions only from a materialist perspective. Apart from the frequencies, light and energies that our body hears, there are many energies that have not yet been discovered or proven. For example, if we burn the tree, it produces heat and light. When the heat and light it produces are exhausted, it turns into its first existence. It passes to a dimension that we cannot see with our eyes. In short, nothing disappears, everything undergoes change and transformation.
4) UD MOLD MAKING
Mold making can be made from MDF plywood or other wooden materials. In mold making, it is cut as a semicircle after choosing the length and width. Depth measurements are made in different molds, except for a semicircle. After assembly, it is carefully shaved in length and width. One oud boat is made on the mold and finished as an oud. The symmetry of the boat and the acoustics of the sound of the oud and the volume of the sound are checked. If the mold made meet the expectations, it is continued to make oud on the mold. If the expectation is not met, unwanted places in the mold are corrected again and another trial oud is completed. While correcting the mold again, it is necessary to have many years of mold making experience and analysis of the oud sound.
It is very important to determine the return centre of the sound hitting the boat in the mold made. The sound should be neither too long nor too short. Correct determination of the acoustics and adding depth to the sound are among the key points. Depending on the central area, the angle of inclination of the mold front and back determines the volume of the sound.
5) TREE SELECTION AND CUTTING
The native and tropical trees used in the instrument have various hardness, colours and patterns. Each tree contains different resins and various chemical components. The sound characters of the instruments differ according to the tree type. Voice characters are not superior to each other, they are the choice of musicians. The knowledge of the instrument makers on wood: hardness, sound conductivity is based on their experiences.
The main body of the tree is preferred in making oud. Its roots are used visually in different parts of the instrument. The part of the tree, which is not preferred in the instrument and should not be used absolutely, tries to exist in the harsh conditions of nature by hardening from the bottom as a cellular structure to carry tons of weight of the main body of the tree and soften upwards and stretch all around. The cellular tendency of the branches of the tree is not preferred for instrument making. After the tree is cut, its cells must be dead and its sap must dry completely. The drying time of each tree varies according to the type of the tree, the environment in which it grows and the fiber structure. Some trees may take a long time to dry completely. A certain period of time passes before the tropical trees reach the consumer, they are fired and the natural drying process passes.
When cutting the tree in oud making, the milling vein or broad vein changes according to the pattern of the tree. While milling is ideal for some trees, a wide grain cut is ideal because of the beautiful and complex pattern of others. Trees cut two to three millimetres thick should be kept for at least one or two months and used. If possible, it can be kept in a year or two.
The hardness rates of the trees vary according to the chemical structure of the silicon and cellular binding in it depending on their molecular cellular structure. There are differences in the chemical structure of the tree according to the silicon density and types in the soil where the tree grows. The way to understand the ratio of silicon is understood from the brightness and transparency of the texture of the wood after a good sanding and how long it takes to dull the strip when cutting in a non-carbide band saw.
6) BOAT BUILDING
Boat building is the most important element of oud's visual. It determines the overall appearance of the oud, its sound volume and decibel. After the tree to be made of is selected, it is cut in 3, 2.5 and 2 mm thickness according to the hardness ratio. It is left to rest for a certain period of time depending on the type of tree cut. When the movement in the tree ends before starting the boat, it is shaped by bending in the heating mold. It bends at 80 - 100 degrees at a temperature that will not damage the tissues of the tree. Trees may break when they undergo texture degradation or when second heat treatment is applied while boat building. Heat-bending time depends on the type of tree.
After it is heated to fit the mold and gives its final shape, work is started on the mold. When the boat is finished, it is left to rest for a long time. The tree cells are left to rest so that the fibers get used to their new shape. The movement of the tree stops within a certain time. First, the inside is cleaned and taped between slices, then the outside is roughly cleaned and left to rest again. After the rest period, fine precise corrections are made.
The density and hardness of the boat (frequency sound collector and reflective) tree, the presence of different values of silicon and different minerals in each tree, the sound absorption and reflection rate of the tree determine the sound character of the instrument.
One of the things that should not be overlooked in making the oud is gradual corrections. The importance of the progressive correction is that every fiber that breaks from the tree causes the tree to move. Because 95% of today's oud makers do not know how to build boats or buy ready-made boats because of their commercial outlook, the apprentices who are trained with these masters cannot learn how to build boats.
7) HANDLE INSERTION
The angle is given in the held, the thickness of the bracket on the keyboard, the height of the lower threshold, the tension of the strings affect the sound of the oud. The tree to be selected for the sap must be very dry and with a dense grain. The tree with dense veins becomes resinous and hard because it grows in difficult conditions of nature. Spruce, beech can be used. The handle is opened to the boat and the dovetail is lapped and glued without a gap.
8) LADIN SOUND TABLE AND SOUND ENHANCING RESISTANCE BARS
The soft or hardness of the spruce tree determines the vibration characteristic of the soundboard, the bass and treble character of the sound, and the frequency of the growth rings. It has been preferred because the spruce is both a receiver and a transmitter in sound transmission. Resistance laths, which we call balconing, serve as decibel increasing diaphragm muscles. Strength bars (decibel booster bars) allow the sound to come out of the boat (decibel collector) quickly or slowly. It is necessary to see the soundboard and resistance laths as a whole. Because we can say that this integrity affects the sound of the oud 95%.
Spruce is generally used in making oud, preferably Canadian cedar is also used. The strength of Canadian cedar is weaker than that of spruce. Even if soft Canadian cedar is used, the sound is generally different from that of spruce. It is preferred according to the character of the oud sound.Spruce is preferred to get the traditional classical oud sound. You need to know the spruce tree very well. This tree depends on the location and region where it grows. The density of the annual growth rings, resin density, hardness, mass weight are important.
If 30- 45 degrees horizontal cut is made to the veins of hard spruce, the soft appearance fallacious when stretched. The thickness of the soundboard varies from 2 mm to 1.70-1.5 mm, depending on whether the spruce is soft or hard and the desired sound. The thickness, height, the distance between the lower threshold, the front of the sill, the distance of the balcony from the threshold, the height of the lath, the rigidity of the lath are very important factors in the sound.
In order for the soundboard to be long-lasting and to be used for many years without deformation, the height and thickness of the strength laths must be balanced with each other. The cover and the balcony should be balanced so that they will not be deformed by the wire pressure. If the thickness is not balanced, there will be problems with vibration, rapid return of the sound, elongation in the sound, causing the sound to be low volume. The choice of the soundboard made of the boat, which is a frequency sound collector and reflector in the construction phase of the oud, is also a major factor in the sound.
In order to obtain the desired sound from the instrument, it is necessary to consider every process in a balanced way. You can understand the hardness of the spruce soundboard by stretching the cover you have prepared by relying on your experience. Another method is that when exposed to white light, you can understand the hardness and cellulose fiber structure from the light transmittance and colour differences. Spruce of any hardness can be used to get different sounds. Height, thickness and distance settings of the balcony slats vary according to the spruce.
The dryness of the tree is not evaluated according to its moisture content, its complete dryness is related to cellular death. The dryness level of the spruce soundboard can be understood according to the swelling height of the spruce fibers after water is applied. If the dry soundboard is applied with water to the spruce and the fibers do not swell after a day, it is not understood that it is completely dry and cellular mobilization is fixed. Thus, no change is seen in the sound of the oud for many years.
9) SUBSCRIPTION KEYBOARD INSTALLATION
Ebony tree is one of the tree species that dry late due to its density. It should be cut 6-7 mm thick and kept for at least 2-3 years and used. If the subscriber, which is cut with a thickness of 2 mm in long keyboard use, is not completely dry, it continues to dry on the oud and causes the soundboard to crack from the sides of the keyboard.
10) AUGER TUNING AND AUGER ATTACHING
Dry wood should be used in the auger and the tuning auger should have waited for at least 2-3 years. With this method, augers can be used for many years without deterioration. When the auger is attached, the sharpening angle of the slot opened with the reamer and the auger are one-to-one, allowing precise tuning. Twist angles and angle differences in the handle may differ for each manufacturer. The balanced angle allows the strings to slide comfortably while tuning.
11) LOWER AND TOP THRESHOLD WIRE HEIGHT
The upper threshold wire height of the finished wired oud should start at 0.20 0.30 microns and the wire height of the keyboard at the beginning of the boat should not exceed 1.75 or 2 millimetres and for those who play very hard ouds 3 millimetres. The area where the lower threshold plectrum will be hit should be 8-10 mm high. It may vary according to the wishes of the masters.
12) WIRE FITTING AND TUNING
As the twist and augers are trees, contraction and expansion occur in temperature changes. In order to prevent the sudden discharge of the wire, the augers should be attached so that the wire is squeezed inwards. While tuning, we should loosen the string slightly and stretch it gradually. Sudden tensions cause the wire to break. If the wire copper coils are opened, it will cause noise in the sound.
13) WIRE AND PICK SELECTION
Choosing the wire that affects the sound of the oud is important. The quality wire should be preferred. When choosing a wire, you can ask professional musicians or oud makers who understand the quality of the wire. Everyone's choice of wire can be different. In the quality wire, there should be a balance in the transition from high to bass. The newly inserted string should sit after 3-4 chords, making a noise-free sound. The choice of plectrum also depends on the person. The important element of the plectrum in the volume of the sound is the hardness, softness of the plectrum, and the flexion resistance of the plectrum in strokes. For long oud studies (since the plectrum is exposed to motion and heat), a plectrum that does not lose its resistance and is not affected by heating should be preferred. Plectrums made of silicone should not be used. In these plectrums, trembling or low volume occurs on the wire. If the transverse vibration oscillation of the wire is high, distorted sounds are produced as a result of the strings hitting each other.
14) MUSICIANS 'CHOICE OF OUD
The sound of every oud made is different. Just like the human voice, every oud has a sound character. If an oud plays five ouds, you will hear five different sound characters from the same oud. If five people listen to the same sound, they will hear it differently. Different plectrum strokes and keyboard presses can be tried according to the character of the oud. The quality produced oud is the choice of every musician. Since the musician takes more than one oud and their voices are different, it creates an option for different works on stage or in the studio. Even if musicians are not aware of it when choosing oud, the body prefers the oud closest to the cellular vibration frequency. Later, he thinks that the sound is not satisfying himself, he may not realize that his own bodily frequency has changed. My suggestion is to be at peace with your instrument. Learn to enter into different emotions with different oud sounds as your positive thoughts increase.
15) BEGINNERS 'CHOICE OF OUD
My advice for Oud beginners is not to opt for technically low-quality furniture-style ouds. When you buy the ouds produced by producers who are inadequate in commercial sound and production techniques, the voices do not sound balanced and beautiful, and the performance work is not comfortable, after a certain period of time, your oud works can get bored. Those who produce quality ouds have balance and ease of playing in their oud sounds. You should choose those who produce quality ouds according to your budget and quality ouds sold in stores. As you progress, you move on to more professional ouds.
16) OUD PROTECTION CARRYING METHODS
Quality oud carrying case should be preferred. The pad inside the sheath should be thick. - It should not be placed in the trunk of the car during transportation, especially in summer. - It should not be placed in humid areas or close to the ceiling at home, it should be stored in hot and humid places, and should not be left in a cover at home.
17) FOR THOSE WHO WILL MAKE OUD APPRENTICE
Nowadays, the seriousness, specialization, master-apprentice training is almost non-existent in acquiring a profession. It is very difficult to educate candidates whose view of life and personality is not shaped. Professional ethics and how to get information from the master are very important in a master-apprentice relationship. The apprentice is also shaped according to the consciousness level of the master. If the apprentice is very skilled and highly conscious, he takes what he learned from his master one step further.
According to the professional principle, when the apprentice completes his development, his master proposes that "You learned that you will learn from me, you can open your workshop, or we can work together if you want". Besides high-conscious masters who do not only look at life materially, apprentices do not open a workshop without the permission of their master.
Those who think that the knowledge that the master has acquired over the years will take a short time will not be fully competent in this business. Since people are generally prone to matter, they will become apprentices, who will only bring material benefits to him in the future, they prefer masters who are crowded, they work for 2-3 years and leave. Apprentices whose technical knowledge is not sufficiently developed can only get the chance to improve themselves in many years.
Of course, masters must also be "masters". The fact that the instrument producers see other producers as rivals is due to their material perspective on life and their low level of consciousness. The master must also be content with his apprentice, and the person whose knowledge he will train must be worth the effort.