What is a Guzheng instrument and how to play it?

Does the term ‘Guzheng’ remind you of an amazing thing? Well, many people still get confused about what the Guzheng instrument is. Additionally, those who know what it is most of the time find it difficult to play it. Having, a greater understanding of the Guzheng instrument will help you get attracted to the sound it produces. Over the years Guzheng has undergone a lot of changes. The Improvements have been made to fine-tune the sound of the instrument

The Guzheng instrument has been used in a variety of places in ancient China. Those who play the instrument always enjoy themselves. This article will provide more information on what Guzheng is, what type of instrument is a Guzheng, we also find out what Guzheng is made of, what it is used for, how to play it, and the difference between Guqin and Guzheng.

What is a guzheng?

Guzheng means ancient. Its original name was Zheng, referring to a type of instrument that has strings stretched in between two bridges. Zheng emerged to be popular in the ancient state of China called Qin. One of the predecessors of Zheng was Qin, which is also known as Guqin. Since the word “Gu” means “ancient”, The Chinese people added the word “Gu” before “Zheng” to show that this instrument comes from ancient times. Nonetheless, Guzheng is today more commonly known to many people in and outside China. The design of Guzheng quickly traveled to Japan and became the ‘Koto’, went to Korea and became ‘gayageum’.

The magic bullet about this instrument is that it has both the solo voice and accompanying voices. There is a diverse range of playing styles that have been developed over the years. The masterful music produced by Guzheng has been known to incorporate several styles at once.

What type of instrument is a Guzheng?

Guzheng is a type of instrument that belongs to the zither family of string instruments. It is one of the Chinese plucked string instruments. Guzheng has huge flexibility for non-standard tunings as it has movable bridges with easy- access tuning pin for each string. In modern compositions, new tonal modes are being formed from the non-Standard turnings.

What is guzheng made of?

Guzheng is a multi-string instrument that has movable bridges under each string. The ancient Guzheng instrument had only five strings, later on, the number of strings increased to between twelve and sixteen. Modern Guzheng has a variety of strings that ranges from eighteen to twenty-seven and sometimes even more.

The ancient Guzheng had its strings made of silk. Today, the modern Guzheng comprises of eighteen strings that are made up of steel. This has made it to be called Steel-string Zheng. All other Modern Guzheng except Steel-stringed Zheng, have Strings that are made of steel on the inside, and nylon and plastic wrapped on the outside.

The Guzheng is also made of wood that is of high quality. The type of wood used is made from natural wood, for example, sandalwood and rosewood. These woods are way better compared to plywood.

The Guzheng has a saddle that comes in different materials however, the cow-bone saddles are much better as compared to plastic ones. Nonetheless, other Guzheng instruments have ivory saddles, but they are very expensive and are rarely available.

What is the guzheng used for?

Guzheng instrument is used more often for playing traditional folk music. It is used more especially for playing repertoire originating from the Southern Chinese folk styles. If you are not aware, Guzheng has been used in the teaching of professional music conservatories

How to play Guzheng?

Many people find the sound of Guzheng so soothing and relaxing. This has made many people get interested in knowing how to play the instrument. If you follow the basics of how to play this instrument, you will eventually become good at it.

Understanding the structure of Guzheng: you should be in a position to see the two sides of a Guzheng, that is the right and left sides. Check to see that you have twenty-one bridges for each of the twenty-one strings.

Learn the techniques of putting on artificial nails: You will need Artificial nails so that you can play Guzheng. Get the tape and use it to stick the nails to the fingers. You will require at least eight to ten centimeters of the tape to be used on the tape.

Learn how to pluck the strings of Guzheng: you should not emphasize your wrist when plucking the strings. You should, however, use your fingers to pluck the strings. You should consider practicing moving your fingers to a curve, then back up.

Understanding how to tune your Guzheng: Open the box that is at the right end of the Guzheng, to tune it. You should have a tuner plus a lever to adjust the strings. While the tuner is on, play a note on your Guzheng. Should your tuner indicate the note is correct, move to the next note.

Learning to read notes: there is only five-note that you can use as a beginner. Beginners usually start with a ‘D’ major.

Understanding how to read rhythm: Guzheng uses lines that are below the numbers. Notes that are without any line below them are worth two beats.

Playing a song: once you have understood all the basics you can try playing a song. The are many songs you can get on the internet for you to try. You should, however, go song that has a simple rhythm.

What is the difference between Guqin and Guzheng?

The notable difference between Guqin and Guzheng is that Guzheng has around eighteen or twenty-one movable bridges under its strings whereas Guqin has seven. Guzheng is bigger compared to Guqin. Guzheng has a deeper resonance with longer extending notes, unlike Guqin. Guqin is much harder to learn and master than Guzheng.


Guzheng is a great instrument that produces awesome sounds that are very soothing and relaxing. It is no secret that Guzheng brings back the ancient sound to the modern world. If you are a lover of great sound you should strive to learn how to play Guzheng and enjoy it. Learning to play this instrument is easy and any person can do it with just simple training. You should, however, be in a position to know the difference between Guzheng and Guqin since they are almost similar.

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