6 May 2019
6 May 2019,
 2
Got a new Guzheng at home that needs tuning but don’t know how to? Afraid that you might break the strings while you tune the Guzheng? Don’t really know what are the correct notes to tune your Guzheng to?

Not to worry! In this blogpost, we will cover the basic knowledge of Guzheng tuning.

The tools you would need are:
– a tuning wrench
– guzheng nails or picks
– chromatic tuner (calibrated to 442Hz)
– and most importantly , a basic understanding of musical scales.

Tuning wrench (right) and picks (left) that are used in tuning the Guzheng

The common chromatic tuner used to check the pitch of the Guzheng, calibrated to 442Hz

The standard musical scale contains the notes C, D, E, F, G, A and B. When you go up the Scale (ie. going higher in pitch) you tighten the string, while going down the scale (ie. going lower in pitch) you loosen the string.

Let’s assume we will be tuning the Guzheng to the key of D, which also happens to be the most commonly used key for the Guzheng. The Guzheng is tuned pentatonically, which means the Guzheng strings are tuned to DO, RE, MI, SO, LA. or ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘5’ , ‘6’.

For D major, the notes are D, E, F#, A & B.

If you need more explanation of the Jianpu, click here for our blogpost on how to read numeric scores.

So, from the top (the thickest string on the Guzheng), the string is tuned to D, followed by E, F#, A and B for the next 4 strings.

What makes tuning the Guzheng easy is that the strings follows the same notes ( D, E, f#, A, B ), just in different octaves. This means that you would’ve covered 20 out of the 21 strings on the Guzheng! (Neat). It you’ve done it right, the very last string should be tuned to a.. D!

Another way to ensure you’re tuning the Guzheng correctly is that for the key of D , the strings in green are tuned to A.

So, with all that in mind, let’s start tuning!

Always remember that pushing the wrench forward tightens the string (meaning the note will go higher), while pulling the wrench towards you loosens the string (meaning the note will go lower). Depending on how out-of-tune your Guzheng is, it is always advisable to make small adjustments only to avoid the strings breaking.

It is also advisable to tune the strings just a little higher (sharper) to give the strings a longer life before the next tuning.

If you are tuning a new Guzheng for the first time, or just installed some new strings , you may want to gently press the strings on both sides of the bridge. This helps the Guzheng strings to stabilise faster. It is also good to tune the entire guzheng up to 3 times to make sure the instrument has stabilised.

We hope this guide has been helpful for you.

Check out our video guide below as well!


If the video doesn’t work, click through the link here: http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBnlH5T1vZI

2 responses on “How to Tune Your Guzheng

  1. May Wong says:

    Tks for the tutorial.
    I like to ask about bridges. .
    What is the starting point n distances apart of each bridge?
    I hear so many versions till I don’t know which is the correct standard. Pls advise me. Tks

    • Tan Sung Wah says:

      Hi May! We have a piece of paper that serves as a guide on the standard placement of the bridges. Please feel free to visit us and we an give you a copy.

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