Ed, that was pretty much the impression I got - tourist grade stuff - if the tourists could find the shop!
The Egyptian musicians must be very frustrated.
yes, of course the real tourist grade stuff is most obvious, but scratch just a bit and there is an enormous amount of stuff well above tourist grade.
the problem is that i need something that is pretty decent sounding... i mean, this is the same everywhere - - like istanbul, when you want something in the pretty cheap range, well, if you want something decent you have to know exactly what you are looking for, and then be willing to search and search. Otherwise, you will at best get a nice lookingish oud that sounds dead. ...i mean, even mine, which sounds good, i'm sure would have the bridge pop right off if i didn't catch it in time and get it nicely welded down with CA glue.
but this whole situation in places like istanbul and cairo is utter heaven compared to morocco for example. What an utter disappointment when i went there in 95'... however i did end up with a couple of good ouds from the best maker there--- but they were not so cheap.
for anyone wanting to get a really good oud for a decent price, the best deal i know of is RAMAZAN in istanbul. But if you got a bit of extra money - go for FARUK TURUNZ for sure.
In my opinion turkish ouds sound 'better' --- anyone up for a friendly debate on this subject??
usually people relate ouds to arabic music, but in fact it came from turkey, and even further back persia... (barbat) - - - now we are talking about the true origins of the fretless guitar. Egypt was a relative late comer to the oud..... and across north africa even later. . . . . and eventually from morocco up into spain - - - and BINGO! -the rest is history :-)