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Well, the oud turned out great. Sorry, no photos. 

 After I delivered it, I was invited to the birthday party of the oudist. There was a band of flamenco players there, burning up the strings with incredibly fast & furious rhythms, with the not inconsiderable help of a "jam-man", a phalanx of AEG amps and a hot drummer.

So I came home and rounded up the old classical beater, and, while tossing and turning one night, decided to retrofit a cutaway design into it as well as add a home-made piezzo pickup. I happened to have an orphaned pre-bent piece of brazillian rosewood made for a florentine cutaway knocking around my inventory of random guitar woods. I personally prefer the venetian style cutaway, so this was a perfect excuse to use it up in an experimental self tutorial.

Here is the victim, an old "Orlando" I got second hand for a $100 10 or so years ago: And with the cutaway piece I intend to install:

 Following, a sequence of photos showing steps of the process:

A protective mask of tape. In retrospect, I wish I'd made it a shallower cutaway, so as to avoid cutting top and back braces. It would have been sufficient for the playing I could accomplish on this instrument, but oh well. After  scoring the top with a knife there was no turning back. I squared the lines down across the sides and chucked the circular saw blade into the dremel:

Then I cut out the side section and roughed out the top cut:

The neck block, top & back braces then were cut back to accomodate the new cutaway piece, and it was test fitted:

The block and braces had to be back-cut so the new piece would end up flush with the edges of top and back. New bindings will conceal and reinforce the joints once the piece is set in place. While the side was open I built and installed the piezo pickup with parts from radio shack that cost under $10. This is my third home-made pickup and I'm loving it!

With the new side piece in place I traced its outline on the back and rough cut it out, then dremel-sanded it to near-finish dimension.

Then I traced the blocks and braces on the inside surface of the piece with a short pencil, and glued pieces of kerfing onto the piece in preparation for gluing it in place.

Next chapter we'll see if this works!

 

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