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Just my observation

 
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George2739
Plywood


Joined: 20 Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:24 am    Post subject: Just my observation Reply with quote

Hi,

I have for a long time now, been searching for dimensional drawings of a guzheng, koto, or gayageum to no avail. I have noticed that several people have made these instruments from scratch so I have to believe that plans must exist. I know I am not the only one that would love to get my hands on some plans or at least scale drawings. A lot of people seem to be talking about building one but to date, not one person has posted any plans. It would seem to me that perhaps a great start would be to have at least one set of plans as a sticky on the forum, that would help people get started, perhaps just a basic instrument that could be expanded on. I would not expect these plans to be free since I know it takes time and energy to develop working drawings. The revenue from plans sales could be used to further the forum. It just seems strange to me that on a forum where one of the topics is building a guzheng, not one person has managed to post a single plan.

Thanks
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applevinegar
Rosewood


Joined: 07 Nov 2009
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have drawn several plans for the past few years but have never successfully implemented them on a large scale instrument.
The drawings are without grid and kind of sloppy. But it's just roughly the basic shape of a normal guzheng-- except symmetrical for double handed playing. I could show them if you wish. (would take time for me to find them, though)

My oldest mini guzheng was very oddly shaped but sounded quite nice, oddly-- so I would think you could kind-of experiment with the dimensions yourself and get some good results-- if your on the adventurous side.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juiiBJ1hJ8g
The underside carving is incredibly uneven and lopsided but it somehow works.

Just recently I've started making a mini guzheng roughly according to my old plans:
http://www.theweepingdragon.com/1/post/2012/07/mini-guzheng-experiment.html

I know it's not very impressive. . . But I'm willing to share with those interested.
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Vi_An
Zitan Elite


Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 518
Location: Calgary, AB CANADA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:54 am    Post subject: Stop looking for plan and start intuitively exploring. Reply with quote

You can make discoveries along the way through trial and error. My roommate who is a self taught luthier and violin restorer by trade, has built me several compact and incredible sounding long zither instruments. He never had drawn out plans, they were all in his head, mind you -- he had the luxury of living with my instruments in the apartment, so he was able to really spend lots of time making his own notes about all the dimensions of my instruments, to finally come up with the best original version to meet my mobile needs.

Why don't you purchase an instrument and go from there, explore all possible materials you can find locally and come up with your own. If there are no plans out there - come up with your own and surprise yourself and this community. Many people here are enthusiasts, while some of us may be experts. I wish more musicians and artists like myself on these long zither instruments would communicate more here but a lot of us are extremely busy entrepreneurs.

That is my encouragement for the day. All the best.

Vi An
www.zhengjazzensemble.weebly.com
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George2739
Plywood


Joined: 20 Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First I would like to thank applevinager for the offer of taking the time to try and get his drawings together to help me with my project but I really have my heart set on a traditional full size instrument.

As to the comments by Vi An, I am not sure how to take such constructive advice. She claims her friend never had plans but he was surrounded by instruments he could measure and copy.

If I had access to an instrument, I would not have reached out for help, and as to the comment about buying an instrument and copying it, I find that somewhat offensive as I would never buy an instrument just so I could make copies of it. That is not much different that coping a CD. Nor can I afford to buy an instrument just to take measurements. Good instruments are never inexpensive and inexpensive instrument will never show you the difference between a good and bad designed.

The intent when you build an instrument from plans is not to make an exact copy of the plan but rather to put a bit of your soul into the instrument so it becomes one of a kind. Something that when others look and play it they can honestly say that it is unique and special.
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Vi_An
Zitan Elite


Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 518
Location: Calgary, AB CANADA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:31 am    Post subject: hmmm..... Reply with quote

George2739:

George,


It meant no disrespect at all, because any seasoned luthier would suggest that you start somewhere, anywhere, rather than sending probes in the dark.

No such measurements of constructing the zheng instruments exists out there for you to reference off of to begin to even 'put your soul into' a version of your own, sometimes copying is a brilliant way to learn from you DON'T call it your own of course that would just be STUPID right?

My roommate and I have been searching and asking these exact question for years, and years. So your whining is getting out of hand quite frankly. It isn't like making a tissue box guitar! This is an ancient art form usually passed on from generation to generation of luthiers (father to son) and isn't something that is just made readily available because it is an art form that the Chinese preserve for themselves for good reason. It isn't like it is a popular pop instrument like the guitar has become.

Someone step in and correct me if I am inaccurate anywhere..

If you REALLY wanna come up with your own take of this instrument you got to do everything you can to make it possible for yourself to attain what you need to commence. It's called perseverance and compromise, if you can't afford one - well start saving up or something.

If you seriously knew what you were looking for you would have read through this whole forum like most forum participants do, you would have come across a topic posted by yukina "home made guzheng":

yukina wrote:
One of my customer in Alaska made a guzheng with his daughter.



Read the news at:

http://www.adn.com/2012/03/02/2348028/woodworkers-show-their-finest.html



If you took any of my thoughts as an assault to your ego then I am feeling very, very sorry for you my friend, that is not at all professional nor honorable as a man to publicly shun the thoughts of a woman when she took the time to send you a private message even of encouragement. I should feel totally disrespected considering how many actual zheng artists in this forum have stepped in to comment on this posting? They don't have the time or day they are MASTERS of the instrument, but I am an amateur compared to them however -- I love this forum and I take time to enjoy the amazing array of topics.
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Vi_An
Zitan Elite


Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 518
Location: Calgary, AB CANADA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: Without drawings or any original plans. Reply with quote

Click link below to view photos of his main processes, he also included two of his mini prototypes, he spent over 7 years to come up with all. The instrument he finally created in the pic with kanji characters hand carved in, which I perform on till this day, is a work in progress, it isn't even his finished work, so just to give you an idea of my understanding of that there is no perfect instrument possible. It is an ever evolving creative process!

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d16/guzhengVi/Hybrid/
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Vi_An
Zitan Elite


Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 518
Location: Calgary, AB CANADA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:16 am    Post subject: The hybrid beauty in action! Reply with quote

http://youtu.be/8YM0zB5LB_I

http://youtu.be/htq_xyAQjJc

(0:29:57 into concert time code is my performance with my husband)
http://zhengjazzensemble.weebly.com/vi-an.html

This instrument is the loudest most robust smaller than travel instrument or half sized instrument I ever performed and recorded with and I have owned many master custom ordered instruments with incomparable sound nor playability yet it's strings distance is between the koto's and zheng, so it requires really rigorous and strong techniques to render any good sound, while the strings are stretched extremely taunt for volume and to take my forceful playing style. When I perform in public with out amplification people can hear me 2 blocks away.

All of this came as an accident for my luthier, trial and errors along the way, even though he had all my instruments around to reference from, he admits it was always overwhelming and daunting a task regardless, always insisting on doing everything his own way. This is the beauty he came up with all on his own!

It is possible if you are REALLY dedicated.

It also helped that I had an out of commission antique koto in my succession hanging on our wall for so long, luthier roommate felt sad about that so I asked him to take it down and salvage the usable kiri sound wood.

Best,

Vi An.
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George2739
Plywood


Joined: 20 Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vi An

I meant no disrespect to you and am grateful for your answer. However when I joined this forum it was with the expectation that I could at the very least ask if anyone had any drawings or dimensions that would at least get me pointed in the right direction. I did not know this would be considered whining.

As to your assumption that I had not read all of this forum, I can assure you that before I posted, I read every posting looking for information. As to the gushing built in Alaska, I had already seen it and have tried to contact the maker of the instrument.

I do take issue with your implication as to my abilities to build this instrument. I want to make sure you understand I have never built a tissue box guitar nor do I have any desire to do so. I have however built several harps from small lap harps to large floor standing harps. While I do not typically build to sell, a lot of my instrument have sold as quickly as I was able to make them. This includes zithers and hammered dulcimers. I will admit to the occasional acoustical guitar but as you can see, most of my interests are in older folk type instruments.

I do however want to thank you for the construction photos as they answer a few of my questions.

I do want to point out that just because you are an "artist" does not make your time any more important then mine. Each of us is given a finite amount of time, it is what we do with that time that makes a difference.

Thank you
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Vi_An
Zitan Elite


Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 518
Location: Calgary, AB CANADA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:00 pm    Post subject: My greatest pleasure.. Reply with quote

It is my greatest pleasure and honor to share with you. I trust you will make a great work of art yourself with what little you will have to work with for these long zither instruments.

You bring up great points and I respect all your thoughts no worries.

Well then, if you make great harps, I'm sure if you made a tissue box guitar it would be brilliant too!

I would love to see pictures or do you have a website of all of your works, you perked my interest. My husband recently inherited a little Celtic harp and instantly I bonded with it, having never played a harp before last year I strummed out "Yesterday"! So fun - I LOVE the harp.

It is awesome you make all those instruments and do for the passion, and creativity of it all that is truly admirable and commendable for sure. Keep up with that - it is what inspires me too.

Never mind the back and forth on forums with implications of the English words and slight misunderstandings, I know how these things are and I get really passionate on the forum. But I have no ill thoughts or anything, I'm actually a very humor loving person and always first to put myself lower than everyone else - trust me.

I'll measure my largest instrument and then the one I posted here for you to have an idea. I really wanna see what you come up with, I could be your future buyer!

I just wanted to give you that motivation and incentive - roll the ball onto your court so to speak.

If my messages came across a bit rash it is only because I had oral surgery on Tuesday and still slowly but surely recovering on schedule.

Back soon with measurements.

Best - Vi An.
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Vi_An
Zitan Elite


Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 518
Location: Calgary, AB CANADA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:51 pm    Post subject: This is fun! Reply with quote

Okay so here is my diagram of measurements for my largest zheng a 26 stringed scarlet bird brand zheng:

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yukina
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Feb 2015
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bravo, Vi An! That's the most detailed measurement I've seen for guzheng!
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Vi_An
Zitan Elite


Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 518
Location: Calgary, AB CANADA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

awwwe, thanks Yukina!!

Well I am known for being very much all about 'attention to details', there is still the base board that I have to take a picture of but the backs of instruments you can find pics of all over the net just looking up 'guzheng instrument'.

It is really up to you what sort of holes you use and the placement of them. Also the size, heights, weight and materials for the movable bridges is all up to you too, but there is a gradual incline in height as you move down the scale from treble to bass.

The distance between the strings is also a detail that has to be considered. For the most part comfort for 'most zheng' players is 1.62in apart to 2in max, any slight mm increase and you move into the koto string spacing, which requires far more strength and different agility to play, the music is more percussive and the attacks on the strings are more intense.

If you read through and scan through the forum you should look for discussions about the cut of sound board and which cut is best for tone, and brilliance etc etc.. That goes for the base sound board as well, if you can attain a single full sheet for top and base boards, that would RAWK!!!!

Of course these are over-sized measurements for 26 stringed monster.

Best !
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citera
Baby Guzheng


Joined: 13 Jun 2015
Posts: 41
Location: Hungary

PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many mm-s the thikcness of top board and back board?
About 10mm? Is the swell of the top board pressed or carved?
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