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Doug

Little Guzheng - Chinese zither

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I'm the proud (and kinda befuddled) owner of this little Guzheng. I'm not particularly sure why I bought it other than it look and sounds really cool. It has 13 strings and is about 34" long. Most guzhengs have 21 strings.

Does anyone have any suggestions of how I should tune it? If I tuned it diatonically that would give just one octave. Mayeb pentatonically would be better. Or maybe some open tuning like an open Em or Am or something. I'm a bit at a loss...:dunno:

Once I do figure it out, I'll post some sound clips.

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Sweet Doug congrats...found this while enlightening myself on such a beauty.....heres a borrowed paragraph...this link looks interesting, history, videos, etc...Enjoy

Guzheng - Chinese zither Gu Zheng and free sample music (and Gu zheng music samples in MP3)

Tuning: The pitch of a given string is determined by the position of the bridge, therefore, Guzheng can in principle be tuned to any desired scales. Traditionally, pentatonic scale is used. The instrumentalist plucks the strings with the right hand and touches the strings with the left hand to produce the desired pitch and create subtle tones and ornaments (see the pictures with Liu Fang playing the Guzheng). Full scale can also be obtained by skilfully applying press on certain strings from the other side of the bridge with the left hand.

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Doug, the asian "zither" is the coolest (and hardest) stringed insrument to play on the planet!!! How do I know you say? I've had a Dan Tranh for 5 years now. Its the Vietnamese version of your Chinese instrument.I took lessons for 2 years and I can tell you that forget the guitar with this thing! The ONLY WAY YOU WILL EVER LEARN/TUNE, WHATEVER is to get a player to show you!!!! Its like trying to figure out the sitar.You will be amazed at how quickly you sound good with instruction! If you want me to give you more info, please send me a message!

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Thanks for the comments and suggestions. There is amusic academy nearby that teaches guzheng so I'll definitely stop in there for an hour session or so.

I think I'll probaby tune it to a minor pentatonic scale in Am or Em or something. That'll give me two and a half octaves.

The other weird thing is that it's arranged in reverse from a guitar - the treble notes are closest to you and the tones lower as you go out. If I have problems with this, I may turn it around and play it backwards. :)

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If you've never tuned one before, I suggest you hold off untill you get to someone that knows how to show you. The strings break easily and you can damage the tuners if not carefull.Start looking now for extra strings before you break them...they are hard to find.Believe me, your gonna need em! I had to order mine from Vietnam! Guitar, banjo strings etc... won't work.To play this instrument properly is very difficult!!! I don't mean just strumming it like a harp! It has such a beautiful sound that even as a beginer you'll sound great when someone shows you the basics. Whats tough is bending the strings in perfect pitch. You'll see what I mean. Its the key to making the zither sound right. Let me know if you need anymore info!

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Thanks, 79LesPaul.

The guzheng is in approximate tune now - well, very approximate. I've used the wrench to tune some of the strings and it didn't seem too worrisome, but I'll take your warning to heart and be very careful when I do tune it.

A second set of strings came with it - set of finger picks as well..

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Thanks, Jess. I appreciate the offer except that I don't have high speed and it takes forever to download anything. The guy I bought the guzheng from gave me a CD of traditional chinese music featuring the guzheng. To be honest, I don't find myself listening to it a lot.

I finally tuned the guzheng the other day and was playing around with it. I have to get used to the fact that the strings go the opposite direction from a guitar - treble to bass instead of bass to treble.

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Thanks, Jess - I may take you up on that. ;)

I was in Kowloon, oh a long time ago now, and I was wondering around. Came across a crowd of people milling around in a side street so I went in. There was a Chinese opera being performed. Very cool. The musicions had a very strange mix of traditional and western instruments. I remember one guy had a baritone sax that seemed perfectly in place.

I should have paid more attention to the guzheng playing.

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Jess -it looks really cool. can't wait to hear some of your posts.

-Doug

Hey my dad just got back from china today and bought me a chinese instrument. I posted the picture in this forum.

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