Full-sized, S-Bridge, 21 Nylon Strings

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This here is a modern, full-sized guzheng with 21 nylon-coated steel strings, with the bass strings wound in copper. The fixed bridge on the right is straight while the one on the left is curved into an S. The tuning pins are in a compartment at the head of the instrument. The tail is where the strings are anchored.

This particular model is made for the Sound of China company based in California, USA. It's made of African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon) with matching movable bridges and water buffalo bone tips. The soundboard and backboard are separate pieces of Paulownia (Paulownia elongata). The soundboard has been roughened with a wire brush to create a better grip for the movable bridges. It may also have had a light protective coating applied. (See this article from the Dunhuang instrument company for a brief discussion of their soundboard treatment. In Chinese.)

 Access the string anchors through the Eyes of the Phoenix on the back of the instrument.

Access the string anchors through the Eyes of the Phoenix on the back of the instrument.

The backboard and side paneling have heavier coats to emphasize their color and grain pattern. Highlighting the grain pattern of an instrument's backboard is a way to emphasize its quality, as single-piece boards are thought to produce better sound. If an instrument has a painted backboard, that's a strong indicator the backboard is plywood. Don't worry! Those instruments still sound wonderful, but the price should reflect that it's made of a less-costly material.

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The compartment in the head of the instrument holds the tuning pins. Its closing mechanism is a combination of a tight fitting lid with magnets hidden beneath the surface. It's a true combination of new and old.

This is a prime example of what the modern, mass-market guzheng looks like today.