27 September 2016

Category: Erhu, General
27 September 2016,
Have you ever wondered what the difference between bronze and normal friction tuning pegs? Some wrongly assume that there is virtually no difference between the two, and that one can choose between them solely based on preference for a particular mode of tuning over the other. However, this is not quite the case. In this post, we will examine the Shanghai Dunhuang Yun Brand Ebony Erhu, which comes in both bronze and normal friction tuning peg options, and learn about the various differences between both of them.

Firstly, this erhu is considered a mid-range model; it features an almost-black body, Chinese calligraphy carvings on its headstock, and snakeskin that is of better quality than that of the Shanghai Dunhuang Rosewood erhu. It is worth noting that the snakeskin on ebony erhus are always a little softer than usual: our guess is that it is desirable for ebony erhus to sound slightly more mellow, even almost dark. The lack of snakeskin tension here aids in reducing the brightness in tone. Ebony is a denser wood than rosewood; it thus also feels heavier and more stable when played. This model is responsive: one would not need a lot of effort to play it. Do bear this in mind as we examine and compare the two types of ebony erhu!

Check out our comparison video below:

If you are just starting to play the erhu, you might experience some difficulty with regular wooden, friction tuning pegs. This is mainly due to the fact that you need to conscientiously push these pegs in towards the headstock of the erhu while tuning, so that they stay in place. Otherwise, they may slip out. With bronze tuning pegs, however, it is easier: all you need to do is turn your pegs in the desired direction, and the pitch of your open strings will change accordingly without any problem.

In terms of tone, however, there is a distinct difference: there are metallic overtones produced by the erhu with bronze tuning pegs, as compared to the ‘purer’ tone produced by the erhu with normal friction tuning pegs. Most professionals tend to prefer the latter. However, there is no harm weighing the pros and cons and deciding on a model that serves you best, be it one with or without bronze tuning pegs!

Check out our Shanghai Dunhuang Popular Grade Ebony Erhus here:


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