Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Surgical Plaster on Erhu

A lady who plays Erhu came to my shop this afternoon. She told me she reads my blog and views my youtube videos as well. She said that she appreciates what I have done and have learned a couple of things from them too.

Well, I appreciate her for letting me know that too. Its good to know that people are reading your stuff and they actually benefit from it as well. It makes what you do more meaningful and makes you want to do more. So thank you Ms Sorry-I-didn't-get-your-name for dropping by.

One of the things that we talked about this afternoon is putting a strip of surgical elastic plaster on the snakeskin protector of the Erhu. I remembered this was one of the first things my Erhu teacher asked me to do when I started playing the Erhu. There are 2 purposes for doing this:

The first is to reduce the 'cluck cluck' sound when the bow rod hits against the snakeskin protector when you are bowing. I think it is a non issue if you are bowing correctly. You press the bow rod against the sloping side of the snakeskin protector when you are bowing the outer string so theoretically the bow rod should not be bouncing around. My youtube videos on how to hold the bow and how to bow might help a little. But for some people who can't seem to get rid of that another noise, this is one way of reducing it.

The second purpose is rather good though. It creates a little more friction and gives you more bow control. This especially useful when you are playing a long note softly(Try the first note of Air on the G string by Bach). Without the plaster and with less friction, your bow seems to reach its ends faster.

This is how it looks like:

It would be better if you can find wider strip of surgical plaster. One that is big enough to cover the snakeskin protector such that both sides taper down. This way you will have less possibility of getting 'dog ears' as your bow rubs against the plaster.


  1. had that for a while!

    re. slow bowing of long note. would it help it slightly incline that bow so that it is not totally horizontal? That's a violin bowing technique, not sure if it would work for erhu.

  2. eh where to get this "surgical plaster'... can buy frm ur shop??

  3. Yes, you can buy a whole roll which is commonly used for Pipa and Guzheng. Else I can just cut you a strip for free.