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String bending/vibratos

 
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jetz&music
Old Rosewood


Joined: 02 May 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:41 pm    Post subject: String bending/vibratos Reply with quote

I'm sudenly into guzheng a lot more than before, and I'm starting to do some string bendings or vibratos. My strings are to tight, I feel, and I'm scared that if I keep on bending like that, the string or bridge will snap. So is there a way that my string can be sovled? The bridges are so close together and I have this big difference from 6 and 5 on the lower octave. The 6 is so tight so that I can make it look like there isn't a sudden big gap and the 5 is about 4.5 inches away from the 6. BUT IT'S SO LOOSE!!!! What's up with that?

So my strings are to tight to bend the string to the next note. Anyway to stop this or help improve? Thanks.
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eddie
Baby Guzheng


Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 32
Location: Chicago, Thailand

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you placing the bridges per the recommended measurements on the Sound of China website (the same set of instructions that came with your guzheng if you bought it from Sound of China)? Which 5 on the lower octave do you speek of (2 dots below, or 1?)

I have a similar problem in that the tightness of the strings are not consistant - As you go to lower octaves, the strings should feel tighter and tighter - but with my case, some are "suddenly" looser. You may want to experiment with the placement of the bridges - move them to the left, and use the tuning pegs to make the strings tighter.

Ive gotten used to the tightness of the strings - sort of. I still cringe when i need to bend 3 -> 5, and 6 -> 1.

I remind myself of the following each time:

1) The design of the guzheng and strings have been around for an extremely long time and have evolved quite a bit since then. So, each string is designed for a particular note and octave on the guzheng and has been designed to withstand the pressure when bending 1.5 - 2 whole steps above.

2) Many thousands of other guzheng players have the same or similar tightness on their guzheng - if they can bend, so should i.

3) It is not a problem with the instrument or the strings. The problem is with me. If I never overcome my fear, then I will be unable to express myself fully on the guzheng.

Not to say that saying this to myself works - but those are the facts. Take it slow at first. Practice scales, and on each one bend the note. At first, you don't have to bend 1 full whole note - perhaps start with half steps and gradually increase to whole notes. Do your best to focus on the sound coming from the instrument, rather than your fear.

Good Luck!
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yukina
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Feb 2015
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm, the way I place the bridges actually make it's harder to bend 3 and 6, cause I always place 123 together and 56 together. That leaves room between 3 and 5, and 6 and 1. It's easier to change to G and A majors from D. However, that makes 3 and 6 strings a lot tighter than other strings. Then since you need to bend 3 and 6 more to 5 and 1, that makes them even harder to bend. I guess I'm used to it already. Some players they put bridges even spacing or even 3 and 6 close to 5 and 1.
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jetz&music
Old Rosewood


Joined: 02 May 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I may have the phobia of the string or bridge snapping. Thanks.

BUT THEY ARE SO TIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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eddie
Baby Guzheng


Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 32
Location: Chicago, Thailand

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may already know this, but try moving all the bridges to the right (1 or 2 cm) if you feel they are too tight. Moving the bridges to the right will increase the pitch, and you will have to lower the tension by turning the tuning pegs in order to get the correct intonation. This will loosen the string, while still playing the right pitch. Once you get used to it, and are feeling adventurous, try gradually moving them back to the left.

I don't think there is a "correct" way of arranging the bridges. So move then until you achieve the tension you are comfortable with.

--------

I completely understand what you are going through. I started playing guzheng 14 years ago, vigorously practicing for the first 3 to 4 years and have since picked it up again about 6 months ago. During my first years on the guzheng, my teacher from Thailand used a much lower tuning scale and the strings were much much looser. Since he left, I would perform once in a while but there was nobody to re-educate me on the "real" key of D tuning. Until now. It was a pretty freaky period of time to re-adjust. Re-tuning my guzheng took almost a week, cuz I was so scared of turning the tuning pegs! And man, they felt super super tight.

Things are different now. To me, the strings don't really feal tight anymore and I actually find myself wishing some of the strings were tighter. However, I still cringe on the higher and lower octaves when bending 3 to 5 and 6 to 1. A very annoying distraction.

I assure you that one day in the future you will over come this phobia. But only you can make yourself do it. Wear gloves and body armor if you have to - just to show yourself that the strings are indeed tight, but they are still bendable, and will not break.

Perhaps we need "Fear Factor for Guzheng"
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Carey
Baby Guzheng


Joined: 23 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm curious what happens exactly when the string breaks. Does it hit your hand or arm, or your face even?? I'm doing a lot of bending right now as a part of my lessons and that fear is always on the back of my mind.
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Sunny
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 225
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carey, since the wire core of each string is binded with the man-made fiber, the string will not vigorously flick nor hit any parts of your body. Don't worry. The only effect to you is the noise when it broke, the bridge fell down and hit the soundboard. And to pay for buying a new string to replace.
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Carey
Baby Guzheng


Joined: 23 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, thanks, Sunny. I feel more at ease now. Smile
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Sunny
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 225
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think you would not use the strings until they broke in one day, would you? That means your strings are too old and should be replaced. My 'Dunhuang' travel guzheng comes with their Dunhuang strings. Now I changed them to Yuesheng bought from SOC. The sound gets so much better. When we use the old strings for a long time, we may not notice to the changed sound (worse)until you changed the new set of strings and found the whole new world!!!
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Carey
Baby Guzheng


Joined: 23 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I broke my first string yesterday while bending a low 6 to 7. Glad to say it wasn't too frightening, just a loud pop noise and my left fingers hitting the sound board when the string broke. Now I just need to get a new string from Carol and I am up and running again. I feel this is a rite of passage of sorts, haha.

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Sunny
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 225
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carey, I looked at the photo. The string does not look old and it broke with some warping thread remained. Before you replace the new string, it might be better to recheck the tip of that bridge. Sometimes the bridge still has a sharp V-shaped tip. Ease it with the sandpaper before replacing the new string. Well, the string may easily break when it is getting older eventhough you do not pluck it often.
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Carey
Baby Guzheng


Joined: 23 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advise, Sunny. I don't remember the bridge being sharp, but I will double check it again tonight. I think maybe it broke because I've been doing a lot of bending and plucking very hard on that string lately. It's only been 10 months since I bought my guzheng, so I don't think the strings are too old.
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