Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Electric Erhu Part 2

I had a previous entry on an electric Erhu I saw at the Beijing music fair.

I managed to contact the maker to get more information about the Erhu.

Below are some sound files recorded using the instrument:

1. 江河水 Jiang He Shui
Effects: Erhu in Overdrive

2. 小草 Small Grass
Effects: Wah Wah

3. 好日子 Good Days
Effects: Mid Pitch Banhu

4. 良宵 Liang Xiao
Effects: Erhu 二胡音色

5. 天山 Sky Hill
Effects: Violin

6. 沸腾 Fei Teng
Effects: High Pitched Matouqin

7. 花儿为什么红 Why are the flowers red?
Effects: Violin

8. 天涯歌女 Tian Ya Ge Nu
Effects: Erhu

9. 草原之夜 The night of the grassland
Effects: Violin Ensemble and Erhu

The Erhu effects pedal contains 50 over different tones.

The product apparently has won the gold award at the 2nd national traditional Chinese music instruments competition.

Don't think I want to keep inventory so I'm taking pre-orders here.

Interested parties please email me at

Enjoy the sound clips! (Though some of them made my hair stand)

6 Pack Erhu Utility Bridge Package

I just posted a new product on my website, in case nobody noticed it.

I named it the 6 Pack Erhu Utility Bridge Package.

According to the bridge maker who came up with this package, with this 6 pack in hand you can conquer the world.

So here they are, the 6 superheroes (clockwise from top left):

1. *Long shaped maple bottom with ebony tip* – All purpose bridge. Responsive.

2. *Long shaped Pinewood* – Traditional Beijing Erhu bridge. Reduced noise

3. *Long shaped Sandalwood* – Rich and penetrative tone.

4. *Round shaped wood* – Suitable for new Erhus. Clean clear tone

5. *Round shaped maple* – Same material as violin bridge, gentle and beautiful tone

6. *Round shaped Ebony* – hard material, loud and bright tone, suitable for snakeskin with less tension

The bridges come together with a big piece of damper and some sandpaper - all packed in a box.

Click here to purchase it.

Disclaimer: The above are just general guidelines by the maker. Experience tells us that every Erhu is different and what sounds good on one, may not sound good on another.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Electric Erhu with Effects Pedal

This is a new plexiglass Electric Erhu I saw at the Beijing fair.

There are knobs at the bottom of the Erhu which think should be volume and tone.

It has a bridge made of plexiglass as well. Initially I thought the plexiglass bridge is essential till I saw another piece with a normal bridge and a damper!

Ok, the interesting part of the electric Erhu is not the Erhu itself. It is the stuff that comes with it. It comes with a specially designed effects board with presets where your Erhu can sound like an Erhu, Zhonghu, Jinghu, Zhuihu, Cello, Erhu in overdrive etc. It has 60 over different presets.

The Erhu in overdrive.... The guy is played double stop quite clearly. I suspect the bow is modified such that the bamboo part is playable as well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Alternative Way of Putting Your Damper

Here's another way of putting the damper on your Erhu.

You fold it and insert it in between the strings.

The idea is that the unwanted noise comes from the part of the string between the bridge and the base of the Erhu. So putting the damper there reduces the noise. The Erhu will sound less muted than if you put the damper under the strings because there is much less pressure on the snakeskin.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Bridges

I brought back some interesting bridges from the music fair:

1) The tip is made of Ebony and the bottom is made of Pine.

2) A hybrid of Ebony and Maple.

3) Bridge made from Maple wood

4) Bridge made from very old sandalwood

5) Maple bridges

6) I like this one - white sandalwood. (The names the Chinese come up with...)

8) Finally the mother of all bridges - Bridge made from 4300 year old petrified wood. Be very afraid......

I have tried it and it is really good. It feels like when you have a nose block and a hoarse throat, then suddenly your nose block clears and your throat feels great and you can sing without any obstacles!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Beijing Music Fair 2008

Ok so here we go, an update on my trip to Beijing for their yearly music fair. It wasn't a particularly big scale fair, but all the better since I don't need to cover so much ground. I didn't take a lot of pictures so here they are.

Here is the entrance to the fairgrounds. The balding guy in the centre of the picture with a sling bag across is my father.

Here is where you insert your tickets. When you exit, you get touts waiting to buy your tickets to resell to others. But you have the police walking around trying to catch the touts as well.

In preparation of the upcoming Olympics, all visitors have to have their belongings scanned. They only confiscated cigarette lighters. I don't see anyone being searched like in the airport.

Here's where you line up to get your pass into the exhibition area. Foreign visitors have an express queue. :)

Another shot before going into the exhibition area.

There are booths set up opposite the ticketing area, mostly electronic products.

Traditional Chinese Music Instruments occupy a small hall on level 2. This is the first booth you see when you enter the hall.

Next to it is the booth of Biquan Guzhengs. They have a Guzheng performance going on!

Real triplets playing the Guzheng. Very charming. They are personally coached by my good friend and famous Guzheng performer Yuan Sha. They are 16 years old this year - all of them.

They were bamboo thin the first time I saw them 3 years ago. I heard they've been told to watch their weight!

Here's a short video of them in action:

This is the booth of Beijing Raoyang instruments factory. The boss is a certain Mr Yang. I had dinner him together with Dizi maker Dong Xue Hua and Pipa maker Cao Wei Dong one night. Boy can they drink. After downing a few bottles of Chinese liquor with 55% alcohol content, they still have to order a few bottles of beer to wash down the Chinese liquor!

Some Pipas hanging at the back of Beijing Raoyang's booth with artwork on it:

Newly designed arty Hulusis!

Ooh...Looks like some part of the female anatomy with dragons tattooed on it.

Erhu with huge scales on the snake skin.

Get an idea of the noise level I had to deal with at the fair:

Dear dear binoculars, what are you doing together with banhu resonators? Have you lost your way? The fair for peeping toms is on the other side....

Another electric Erhu found. I'll leave the details for another post.

Finally, a young dude in Zhang Zhong's booth playing Jiang He Shui. He's pretty good.

I'll post more after I've finished testing my newly acquired accessories.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I am back!

Took an overnight flight and touched down at 6am in the morning.

Well, overall I had a good trip to Beijing. The fair wasn't particular big (I reckon just 1/5 the size of the Shanghai trip) but I still saw some interesting stuff.

I've got some new Erhu bridges. Pictures and audio comparisms will be posted soon. I've also got lo and behold! - 2 pieces of the US$50 Erhu bridge to try out. It is made from fossilized wood that is 4300 years old! Tested it today and whoa....the difference will blow you away. Details coming soon.

I've also got some samples of a Pipa sling, so that you can dance and play the Pipa at the same time.

Brought back some Dong Xue Hua Xiaos and Dizis. If I owe you some DXH Dizis or Xiaos, they are already on their way.

I've got some pretty interesting Erhu bow as well, some woolly damper for the Erhu and an excellent sandalwood Erhu.

I'll post more details after I've tested them.