Posts tagged Modern

This is an 18 Steel string guzheng from instrument brand JinYun. It features straight steel and wound copper strings and that sweeping C-Bridge at the tail. I have seen a similar, 21 and 23-string instruments made by the same maker with nylon strings.

Google is throwing security warnings when I try to visit their website, so I won't link directly to them from here. But you can see their url in the photo and I can tell you that the product numbers are:

  • 18 strings - 01157
  • 21 strings - 01018B
  • The 23-string instrument was reportedly a limited edition; I saw one for sale in California but could not find a product number.
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Split Bridge

Made by manufacturer JinYun, this one has 21 nylon strings- and most notably, the fixed bridge at the tail is split into four separate bridges. It mimics the different lengths of string the S-bridge creates, but (I assume) has a different set of tradeoffs. I have yet to see the difference this choice makes first hand. If you have any experience with one of these instruments, please email me! I have also seen the tail bridge in three parts, so please don't think four is the only way to go.

From manufacturer JinYun. Google is raising security alerts when I visit their website so I won't link directly, but this one's product number is 01118. 

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26-String Guzheng

This is a 26-string zither from Taiwanese guzheng maker Cai Yuanhong, created under the Songbo brand. Intended for those who want a greater range on their instrument, this one yields an additional pentatonic octave or can be tuned to just shy of four full diatonic octaves.

Most guzheng music is composed for instruments with less strings. Most pieces don't require simultaneous access to all parts of even a 21-stringed instrument's range. Improvisers, songwriters, and those looking to push the instrument beyond its historic bounds may find a lot of worth in an instrument like this one, but until such compositions become mainstream I wouldn't expect the string count on the average guzheng to increase.

Source: storefront. Used with permission.

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Electric Guzheng!

First invented in 2011 by the Shenzen Meideal Music Instruments Company, this is the only electronic guzheng currently produced. The informative Eason Music store in Singapore did a brief impression of it back in 2011. It's been a few years and it's making its way into more stores. This picture is from the 2015 Chinese Music trade show/ expo in Shanghai. Meideal maintains a spec sheet on their website.

This works on similar principles to an electric guitar. Played without amplification it's reportedly very quiet, making it an interesting prospect for those who need to practice more than their family or neighbors can stand. Then plug it in and you get the sound level you'd expect.

Unfortunately I have not played one of these personally so I don't know what range of customization it might have.

If you're looking for just amplification you could of course put a mic system inside an acoustic guzheng, but that would not allow you to quiet the instrument, nor, presumably, modify the output.

I look forward to playing this one day! 

Image Source: ChineseZither Facebook Used with permission.

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