Sunday, December 19, 2010

US delivery delays due to tighter custom controls

I've received a couple of emails from customers about not getting their orders yet.

For orders to Europe its probably because of the snowstorms.

But for orders to USA, its due to tighter custom checks (See advisory from Singpost below)

For those still waiting for your packages, I do hope you get yours soon.

Mail and Speedpost Services to United States of America

Singapore, 16 November 2010 - Due to heightened aviation security measures
imposed on airlines flying into the United States from 18 November 2010, there may
be potential air transportation capacity constraints resulting in delays. There may also
be additional delays due to enhanced airline and customs screening of all items at
Singapore and US.

International air mail service including registered articles and parcel items as well as
Speedpost items from Singapore to United States may be subject to delays. Like all
other postal administrations, SingPost is monitoring the situation closely.

SingPost wishes to advise customers to post their items earlier, especially in view of
the coming peak holiday season.

To ensure smooth delivery, customers are advised to:

• State clearly the content for packages;
• Indicate the return address on the back of the envelope;
• Ensure the correct postage;
• Ensure the address is correct and complete; and
• Provide the addressee’s contact number where possible.

Customers are also advised to consider the following when preparing packages:

• Use good quality packaging materials, for example select a box that is strong
enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.
• Cushion contents appropriately, for example with bubble wrap or foam to
avoid damage during shipping.
• Wrap each item separately when packing more than one item in the same
• Pack tightly to avoid shifting.
• Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive
tape, nylon-reinforced craft paper tape, or fiberglass-reinforced pressure-
sensitive tape. Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape or cellophane

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Setting up your Erhu

I have received much enquires on how to set up the erhu, especially by people who purchased from elsewhere and the instrument is not properly set up.

It might seem natural to established players but for those we have only seen the erhu for the first time, they might not have a clue with what they are doing.

Hence I made a video of how to do a simple setup on the erhu:

Here is the link:

Incidentally the above is our newest website which we will be putting lots of erhu related stuff on it.

Check out the erhu online course......

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Erhu bow from WXD

We have some new bows from Beijing bow maker Wang Xiao Di.

The bow measures 86cm, which is 3 cm longer than the standard length of a bow, which is 83cm.

If we place it side by side with a standard length bow, you can see that wee bit of difference in the bow length.

But its not only the length that is different. According to WXD, the bow uses the finest quality bow hair which has especially good grab and gives better tone.

We placed it side by side with other bows and true enough the bow hair looks whiter and more glistering. Customers who used it comment that it does feel and sound better than the usual bow.

Priced at US$59.99.

We have not listed it on our website. Those who are interested please email

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Koudi

We have some new koudi in our inventory.

A well made koudi is so much easier to play than a shoddily made koudi.

These koudis sounds nice and are easy to play.

Order them here:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Horny Dizis

I've acquired some beautiful looking dizis made from the horns of some animal, which I am quite sure died from natural causes before putting their horns to musical use.

The thing about dizis made from horn is that the horns need to be of a certain thickness before they can be fashioned into dizis. So they are considered rather rare. The dizi is made by joining a few pieces of horn together.

The first type is one made from black buffalo horn. These are more readily available because there are more of them around.

The second type is made from flower ox horn, which is rarely available. They look absolutely gorgeous.

Currently I have a set of 5 (C, D, E, F and G) already reserved by someone.

These type of dizi might not sound as good as those made from bamboo but they are still very much playable. The dizis are made by Xie Bin from Hangzhou.

If you are interested in buying these kind of dizis, do drop me an email at

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Difference between a normal and a good dizi

One of the usual questions we get from customers is 'What is the difference between a cheap and expensive dizi?"

Well, besides the difference in price, there is a difference in the ease of blowing, the intonation, pitching and volume produced.

But most importantly, there is a difference in the tone of the instrument. A good dizi should sound rich and bright as compared to a lesser dizi that sounds thin and dull.

We did a test and put 3 of our best model of dizis together in video so that you can hear how they sound compared to one another.

Low G Key Dizis:

D Key Dizis:

Can you hear the difference?

The dizis used in this video are:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stock Arrivals / Simple tunes 8

New stocks have arrived!

We have some new hulusis, Xun, China made mallets, high grade liuqins, synthetic snakeskin sanxians etc.

More details coming soon.


Here is Simple tunes for Erhu 8 : Auld Lang Syne

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dong Xue Hua Flutes / Simple Tunes for Erhu 7: Scarborough Fair

New Stocks of Dong Xue Hua Flutes just came 1 week ago.

But the Low Bb and Low A are already sold out.

Also the prices have gone up a little, especially for his purple bamboo xiaos because the costs have gone up.


Simple Tunes for Erhu 6: Red River Valley

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Simple Tunes for Erhu 5: Home 可爱的家园

Here is the 5th installment of Simple Tunes for Erhu : Home

I am not sure if that is the correct name of the song, but it is called 可爱的家庭 in Chinese.

Here it is:

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

WTH US customs??? Where is my Erhu???

May has not been a good month for my erhus going overseas to USA. I had been sending erhus to USA for years and most I got are broken erhu necks. Never before had my Erhus been seized by the USA customs.

And in May I had 3 cases of my erhus being seized by Erhu customs. They took the erhu away and in some instances just delivered the bow to my customer. We subsequently received the below letter from them.

I was a little puzzled as we included the proper CITES certification below. I later realized that in addition to getting the CITES certificate, we have to get the box 15 endorsed by our AVA officers (the one that issued the certificate). It is as easy as bringing an erhu along while I collect the CITES certificate but, well, I wasn't told I need to do that.

It was clearly stated in box number 5 though but I guess I didn't notice since I had not been endorsing since 2 years ago and none of my erhus were seized.

Perhaps my luck ran out or perhaps the custom officers have taken a special interest in erhus lately. In any case, now we know what needs to be done. For those erhus that were seized we have sent replacement erhus at our own cost.

So for those living in USA who are buying erhus from overseas, please make sure the seller has the proper CITES documentations.

Well, if you buy from us ( there will definitely be no problems because we have gone through a baptism of fire.

I appreciate the initiative of one of the custom officers to send one erhu back to us instead of seizing it. At least we still have the erhu. But we incurred some returned 'fright' charges, I suppose for scaring the shit out of him with the horribly scalely python skin on the Erhu.....ooooooh......


Anyway, here's installment 3 of Simple tunes for Erhu - Isle of Capri.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Simple Tunes for Erhu 2: Long Long Ago / Ezfolk Forums

Here is song 2 of simple tunes for erhu: Long Long Ago. Its a simpler song that Amazing Grace because it is all being played in the first position.


One of my favourite erhu forums in was recently the subject of a virus attack. All the valuable old posts on all aspects of the erhu are gone. The accounts were deleted as well. What a pity...

So erhu players if you're listening, let's try to rebuilt this forum into the great resource it once was by registering and posting again.

Here is the link to the forum:,35.0.html

Monday, May 24, 2010

Table of Erhu Scores and Relevant Links

Here's another which I drew inspiration from my quest to learn the ukulele. I was looking around for tabs and scores when I stumbled upon this guy called dominator. He had a website with a table of ukulele songs, tabs and links to youtube video.

I thought that is a very useful table. You get to download the tabs/scores and you can click on the relevant links for video demonstration.

So we did our own table of erhu scores and links to their respective videos. The Chinese names of the song and hanyu pinyin are there as well. This is particularly useful for people who do not know the Chinese language. I didn't bother to translate the titles to English because there is no official translation for the tune titles.

The table is accessible from the resources page. Here is the direct link to the page:

There are certain tunes which I cannot locate the video. If you do find them please drop me a note at

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Simple Tunes for Erhu

Recently I picked up the ukulele and was searching around youtube for some video instructions. I came across this guy called ukulele mike. He posts lots of short videos of simple tunes for viewers to learn the ukulele.

I thought that was quite a cool idea, to have a resource of videos teaching you simple songs.

Hence I decided to do the same for the erhu will be creating a series of short videos showing how to play simple erhu tunes.

The first one we have done is the song "Amazing Grace. The scores are available for download at the youtube page. Please email me if you have any feedback on how to improve the video.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Performance at Renci Nursing Home

On the 10 May 2010, we brought a group of Japanese ladies learning erhu from our centre to perform for some folks at a nursing home.

They have been playing together for 6 months under the guidance of Chin Yen Choong. This was their first performance and they were all very excited about it.

The erhu ensemble played the following tunes: '八月桂花遍地开', 'Love me tender', 'Spirited away', Edelweiss, '两忘烟水里'. The arrangement of these tunes are mostly written by us.

In between these songs, we played some popular oldies like 月亮代表我的心, 千山万水总是情, 甜蜜蜜 etc. on the erhu and guitar.

It was an enjoyable and meaningful afternoon for all of us. I hope we managed to bring some joy and laughter to the patients.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Singapore Youth Festival Chinese Orchestra Primary School Results

Here are the results of the Singapore Youth Festival (2010) Chinese Orchestra (Primary School Level) competition:

  1. Catholic High School - Silver
  2. Bukit Panjang Primary School - Bronze
  3. Tao Nan School - Gold with honors
  4. Chongfu School - Bronze
  5. Jurong Primary School - Gold
  6. Red Swastika School - Silver
  7. Telok Kurau Primary School - Bronze
  8. Woodlands Primary School - Gold
  9. Xingnan Primary School - Silver
  10. Pioneer Primary School - Bronze
  11. Elias Park Primary School - Gold
  12. Boon Lay Garden Primary School - Bronze
  13. Mee Toh School - Silver
  14. Kong Hwa School - Gold with honors
  15. Queenstown Primary School - COP
  16. Princess Elizabeth - Silver
  17. Rosyth School - Gold
  18. Poi Ching School - Silver
  19. Yu Neng Primary School - Gold
  20. Jing Shan Primary School - Bronze
  21. East Spring Primary School - COP
  22. Pei Chun Public School - Gold with honors
  23. Ngee Ann Primary School - Gold with honors
  24. Woodgrove Primary School - Bronze
  25. South View Primary School - Silver
  26. Hong Wen School - Bronze
  27. Nanyang Primary School - Gold
  28. Nan Hua Primary School - Bronze
  29. Xinghua Primary School - Silver
  30. Sembawang Primary School - Silver
  31. Henry Park Primary School - Bronze
  32. Rulang Primary School - Silver
  33. Keming Primary School - Silver
  34. Maha Bodhi School - Gold
  35. Qihua Primary School - Silver
  36. Holy Innocents’ Primary School - Silver
  37. Coral Primary School - Silver
  38. Si Ling Primary School - Bronze
  39. Evergreen Primary School - Gold with honors
  40. Kheng Cheng School - Silver
  41. Greenridge Primary School -Silver
  42. Radin Mas Primary School - Gold with honors
Congratulations to all!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Free Plastering of your Erhu!

About 2 and a half years back I made a short post on the practise of putting a small strip of plaster on the snakeskin protector of the erhu. This is to increase the drag on the bow which improves the handling of the bow. It also reduces the noise created when the bamboo part of the bow hits onto the protective strip.

The last time I used a narrow strip of plaster to demonstrate which isn't the best of examples. You need a wider piece of plaster so that you don't drag the sides of the plaster off when you bow.

Well, I've just gotten a few rolls of the wider type of plaster. It is not expensive stuff but it is definitely hard to find stuff.

I have no idea what to charge for putting a strip of plaster on your erhu. So we've decided to just do it for free for customers who brings their erhu to our shop.

Here's how the plaster looks like:

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Line of Erhus by YKM

I've recently worked closely with an erhu maker from Zhejiang China to bring in his erhus.

Since I'll be putting out quite a few of his erhus on sale, I thought a share a little on how I got to know him....

One fine day in Shanghai at a music fair, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and it was Mr know, the famous erhu performer from China who knows erhus more than anyone else.

After a few exchanges of pleasantries, he told me he's been looking everywhere for me because there is this up and coming erhu maker he wants me to meet. They are displaying their erhus here for the first time and are creating already creating some buzz with the quality of their erhus. One music instruments factory has offered to buy up all his erhus. Famous erhu maker Lu Lin Sheng went over to check out his erhus and commented that he's someone to watch out for.

Oh wow I thought. This I got to see for myself.

We zipped over to the booth in a jiffy and was greeted by YKM and his sister. The booth ain't too fantastic but they seem to be sincere and earnest people that takes pride in their products. I later heard that it was a last minute decision to come to the fair so they weren't prepared with things other than their erhus.

So how are their erhus? First impression is that they use good materials. The snakeskin and wood used are of good quality. Most of the erhus are made from different grades of aged rosewood. Their aged rosewood are either harvest from old furniture or beams of old houses. They give their erhus a natural finish so moving up and down the neck feels very comfortable. The wood is undyed so you can clearly see the lines and grains of the wood - for better or worse.

On the whole the tone is clear and articulate with a little warmness. It sounds rather clean and the high registers are good as well. It isn't as responsive as MRX erhus but its not bad either.

We thus brought back a few of their mid range erhus from the fair and feedback so far has been very good. So we've decided to include them in our range of erhus.

Check out the 3 current models below:
1) Professional Grade Aged Rosewood Erhu

2) Concert Grade Premium Aged Rosewood Erhu

3) Concert Grade Violet Sandalwood Erhu

Awaiting their entry level erhu, gaohu and zhonghu to come in next......