"Finger Training" tool - avoid


This is something you should not buy. It and products like it are advertised as 'Finger Training' or 'Strengthening' tools. In reality they are a waste of money. The concept is fine: create something that mimics a small section of the guzheng so a student can practice technique when away from their instrument. The interpretation is heavily flawed. Three issues hit you the second you touch it:

1: The fixed bridge on the right is too short. The strings aren't held high enough above the surface of the instrument. If you've been taught to anchor your hand with a  finger or part of your palm touching the head of the instrument, trying to do so here will throw off your positioning.

2: The practice device is too thin to be played directly on a table. Sitting in the same chair you'd normally play your instrument on, you'll find you are leaning down or hunching over to play this.

3: The strings are all the same height from the table. In reality a guzheng has a curved surface, with strings varying as much as a half inch across an octave (~1.25cm). This may not seem like a lot, but as you move up and down this tool you'll find your hand floating off above it as you try to strike strings that aren't there. 

Perhaps these issues could be addressed with some clever engineering or by placing this tool on a slanted book on a table. But then we get into two other issues:

4: The thing sound horrendous. If you think hitting a wrong note is bad, try playing something where every note is wrong. Sure, you can try to tune it, but:

5: Any attempt to tune the instrument leads to bizarre string tensions. Tune it to the bass notes and you get floppy, dead strings. Tune it to the middle of the spectrum and you get incredibly tight, rigid strings unlike anything you would play on. Try to tune it to the higher octaves and I bet you would snap the strings or rip the tuning pins out.

For the sake of positivity, it looks nice? But other than that, I do not recommend this or any other tools like it. Maybe a day will come when someone makes a practice tool that addresses all of these issues. That day has not yet come.