Tuesday, November 27, 2007

To Buy or Not to Buy

Sometime back someone took his Guzheng to our shop to have it restring in preparation for his upcoming performance.

We noticed that the bridges are setup very close to each other and very close to the right side of the Guzheng. This affects the tone and resonance of the Guzheng. Curious, we asked the customer who setup his Guzheng. He said he did it himself. Oh and I suppose you bought it straight from China? No, he said he bought it from his teacher.

Now I was a little perturbed. Not because he bought the Guzheng from his teacher instead of me, but because he took delivery of a Guzheng in a 'straight from the factory' condition. I thought the barest minimum in buying a Guzheng (unless you have to send it overseas) is to have the bridges set up. And the idea of buying from your teacher is so that the teacher can choose a supposedly good instrument. But how can you test the sound of the instrument when it is not even setup? We know that some teachers choose an instrument based on factors other than the instrument itself, but at least make it seem like you did choose the instrument.

But sad to say, a lot of times students are the mercy of their teachers. If you don't buy from them, you're afraid they might be displeased and not teach you wholeheartedly. If you do buy from them, who do you go to when something goes wrong with your instrument? You've got no one to turn to if they pack their bags and go back to wherever they came from.

Not all teachers are like that though. There are responsible teachers who sits in my shop for half a day to pick an instrument for his or her student.

And so, what is this?

It is actually this....

Which ends up here....

So Sammi Cheng you got it correct. And they didn't ask me to pay for the broken headstock Erhu. Its difficult to ask your business associates to adhere to the 'once broken, considered sold' rule. They didn't look too pleased though. Luckily they were distracted by a fight that broke out between Wang Guo Xing and some others.

I've got some interesting John Goldie/Yen Choong video clips which I am having problems uploading to my blog. I think it might be because of the size. If anyone knows any free movie conversion software other than windows movie maker please drop me a note.


  1. I've never seen those plastic in a roll, so I was just guessing. *haha*. I am supposed to have a made-up one (in L-shape) somewhere, which is one of the little "goodies" that the little boy brings back sometimes (simple thrill for a kid).

    Like these sticks he brought back one day. *haha* Traditional Tools!


    Regarding long videos, no point compressing it too much. The images would become too low in resolution to watch other than on your handphone (!!). I had to resort to breaking up my 12-min Phantom of the Opera performance into 2 parts using moviemaker and uploading to youtube. I gave up using blogger video function for videos that are on the larger-size. Takes too long to upload only for me to find out it doesn't work. 8(

  2. I purchased my guzheng from an excellent dealer in California. Of course the bridges were not installed, but there were detailed instructions.

    I would think that a student would notice a big difference between the set up of his guzheng and the one he takes his lesson on. If he brings his own guzheng to the lesson, you would think that the teacher would help get it set up correctly.

    A guzheng teacher in Portland charges more for lessons if the student does not buy their instrument from the store where she works.

    Best wishes,