Last month, I came across a second hand Guzheng for sale on Craigslist in Vancouver. It was quite unbelievable that it was priced so low, only around $750 HKD. I have been using Dunhuang Guzheng 696D for years and had never tried other brands. At first, I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to get this Guzheng. But after some thoughts, I think it would be a good investment, as I had been looking for a new Guzheng to add to my collection (well, more for convenience because I want to put a new one on the first floor of my house and leave my Dunhuang on the second floor.)
Based on what I know, this Guzheng was made by an expert in Taiwan. There isn’t much information about him on the Internet. I only know that he is a Guzhang maker and is relatively well-known in Taiwan.
So, in late July, a company helped me pick up this Guzheng from Vancouver and deliver to my house. It took sometime to coordinate, but the Guzheng arrived eventually. My first observation was that some of the strings were a bit rusted. The bridges that were kept in a bag were in excellent shape. The top of the Guzheng had a layer of dust. So, after wiping it with a dry cloth, then I checked the bottom of the Guzheng to ensure that it is in a good condition.
That night after my daughter went to sleep, I sat in front of my TV to assemble the bridges while watching TV drama (Our Unwinding Ethos). After about 45 minutes, all the bridges were assembled and tuned.
At first when I plucked the strings, the sound honestly was a bit disappointing. The sound was sharper then my Dunhang and lacked depth. It felt like something is missing. The strings were fine; not a big difference from my Dunhuang. But recognizing that it was priced very low, I wasn’t going to complain much. This Guzheng is 54 inches long. It is a bit shorter than a standard Guzheng but bigger than a typical travel-sized Guzheng. So, the distance between the strings is quite close to a standard Guzheng, making it easy for me to adapt to this Guzheng.
The next day when my daughter (her name is Ava Wing) came back from her daycare school, she saw this new Guzheng and got super excited. This 3.5 year old girl has her own Guzheng picks. Last year, her aunt (my sister) bought her two sets of picks. So, as soon as she saw this new Guzheng, she asked her mama (me) to get her picks and started plucking the strings randomly. She had a lot of laughter. She always likes to play with my Dunhuang Guzheng. Now that we have a smaller one on the first floor, it allows her to play more frequently and easily.
When I have time, I will make a recording of this new Guzheng to showcase its sound with you.