A guqin interests you, and you want to know the top best guqins in the market?
As it is known, the instrument of the sages is honored and cherished. A guqin was sold for $22 million and was listed as the most expensive musical instrument ever sold. Now, you want to get the best one possible if you plan to buy one.
UNESCO declared it “The Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in 2003.
Some confuse this instrument with a guitar, but it is not even close. It has a much lighter and peaceful sound and has seven strings laid and fitted on a thin, long piece of wood. Since the 20th century, it has been commonly referred to as Guqin only. Before that, it had various names like seven-string qin, precious qin, serene qin, etc.
Our Picks for the Best Guqins in 2022
Although, many alternate options are available in modern musical instruments like flute, guitar, etc. Many people with a rich taste for music are more inclined towards Guqin. Guqin has been famous and is well known, especially in China and now all around the world.
As intricate as the choice may be, you should be well-equipped to pick the best possible option. For this, we are enlisting the 5 best guqins.
- Best for Beginners: OrientalMusicSanctuary Lacquered Aged Paulownia Guqin – 7-string Chinese Zither (Fuxi Style)
- Most appreciated by Performers: OrientalMusicSaunctuary Aged Paulownia Guqin For Performers
- Best Value: Paulownia Wood Guqin, 7-string Zither For Beginners
- Different Design: OrientalMusicSanctuary Vermillion Lacquered Aged Paulownia Guqin
- Top Rated: OrientalMusicSanctuary Reclaimed Century Old Fir Guqin For Performers
What is a Guqin?
Guqin is a Chinese musical instrument that dates back to the evolution of music. However, it is “the String Instrument” that is par excellence. The Guqin is a precious instrument touching hearts and winning titles from all over the world.
The “father of Chinese music,” as referred to by the Chinese, is an instrument used while some great and memorable music pieces were played. This Chinese instrument has a charm, and the owners and players know how to mesmerize the listeners with its subtlety and refinement.
It has proven to be Asia’s most famous yet subtle musical instrument. It became famous and desirable after many songs were played and were ranked higher in the global music industry.
Best known for playing slow and meaningful pieces of music, some of them are very famous till now, including a dialogue between fisherman and woodcutter, remembering an old friend, wild geese landing on the sandbank, etc.
It is linked with enriching learning, understanding morality, and cultivating character. Chinese are devoted to this instrument and have songs as old as time linked and played on this instrument.
Detailed Reviews About the 5 Best Guqins
1. Best for Beginners: OrientalMusicSanctuary Lacquered Aged Paulownia Guqin – 7-string Chinese Zither (Fuxi Style)
Length: 123 cm (4′ 1”)
Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0
One of the most famous Guqin’s is by the brand OrientalMusicSanctuary. The Guqin is a piece of art made on Paulownia wood. The wood is air and sun-dried for over five years, and then it is ready to be polished with traditionally mixed lacquer.
The lacquer is mixed with the shade of Fuxi style. It is famous for its looks and colors. It is sleek in design and weighs light.
The melody of this Guqin is mellow and resonant, and it is made to perfection, keeping in mind the beginners. Therefore, this is the best one for those who want to learn to play a qin. It is easy on the pocket, and the size is great to support learning new melodies for faster learning.
The size of this serene qin is 4′ 11″. It is easy to carry and play with for people of all sizes. It comes with accessories so that you have all the things to keep it safe and maintain its form.
2. Most appreciated by Performers: OrientalMusicSaunctuary Aged Paulownia Guqin For Performers
Length: About 4 ft
Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0
A product by OrientalMusicSanctuary, the 7-string zither is a fine Chinese instrument. As the name of this Guqin suggests, it is made with Paulownia wood air-dried for almost a decade. This Guqin is made for the good hands and expertise of performers. This instrument is made to suit the placement and way of performance of the artists.
Guqin is made with Paulownia wood using the Fuxi style of lacquer. It comes with 7-strings, which are made with nylon-bound steel. The strings make that beautiful soft melody that the qin is most famous for.
Besides, a guidebook written by Li Xian ting is provided in the package. The artisans of the USA have carefully designed and made this instrument to help the performer play their best melodies effortlessly. It is a resonant and even-toned Chinese instrument that has the expected repercussions.
3. Best Value: Red Music Shop Paulownia Wood Guqin, 7-string Zither For Beginners
Dimensions: 48.43*8.66*4.72 Inches
Item Weight: 6.6 Pounds
Rating: 4.9 out of 5.0
The Red Music Shop makes Paulownia Wood Guqin. This product is made to perfection using the best material. It weighs about 3kgs and is made with a combination of raw materials. The basic is Paulownia.
The pegs are made of Rosewood, and the strings are made of nylon. The color is the traditional Fuxi style done with lacquer.
This guqin has a high rating of 4.9 stars on Amazon and is famous among qin lovers. It is proven to have a soothing sound and melts all your worries away. The beginner feels at ease and comfortable using this as it comes with proper gear that helps in its usage.
The Paulownia wood qin comes with: anti-slip pads, a set of extra strings, and a set of tassels (that make it more beautiful and give cool vibes while playing it). All these accessories, along with the bag it comes in, make it easier for the user to store and carry it.
4. Different Design: OrientalMusicSanctuary Vermillion Lacquered Aged Paulownia Guqin
Dimensions: 8” Wide and 50” Long
Rating: 4.2 out of 5.0
This is a bit different from the traditional guqin Chinese instruments. As its name suggests, this one has a different color from the Fuxi style. It is of a red color that is mixed in a unique manner.
The wood used for making the body is the same as the other ones, the Paulownia wood that has aged for almost a decade. The ancient technique of red glaze lacquer is used for the OrientalMusicSanctuary Vermillion Lacquered Aged Paulownia Guqin.
Lacquering the gu qin involves mixing ground Deer antlers with Vermillion minerals. This mixture creates a protective layer on the instrument and allows it to breathe, which means it stays fresh and proper for a long time.
The sound of this qin is more crisp and robust due to the different lacquer used in its making. The quality of these qins is tested and tuned by the Qin-making luthiers for timbre and tune before being dispatched to its worthy owners.
Not many performers can handle and play along the notes of this gu qin. The experts play around it and praise the melody that rings out of this instrument. Those who plan to buy it must be acquainted with the basics and have experience with the Chinese instrument.
You have an option while you order this Vermillion Guqin. Although it can be ordered with a Zhongni, Fuxi, and Hundun design, you will have to tell your choice before placing the order.
5. Top Rated: OrientalMusicSanctuary Reclaimed Century Old Fir Guqin For Performers
Length: About 4 ft
Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
This is one of the finest Guqin. Made by the OientalMusicSanctuary, it is made following the design of ZhongNi. It is made using the aged old fir from the furniture and beams. The gu qin Chinese instrument is made with the luthiers’ expertise and decades of Qin-making experience.
The Qin-makers also tune and test the qin for the timbre and tune. It is important as it may be critical for the qin player to set the instrument to the right tune. It has an inlay of mother-of-pearl. This mix of exquisite materials makes the qin long, mellow and deep sonority sound. The long mellows reverberate the long fir. The octaves resonate and are crystal clear.
The guqin is almost 4 feet long and weighs around 3kgs. The player can easily play the guqin as it comes with an anti-slip pad. The nylon steel strings are the game changer when striking the right melody out of the qin.
The lacquer used is not the same as the other qins. Instead, it is a different color as it is made in the traditional mixing used by the ancient Chinese. The lacquer has ground deer antlers and tree sap lacquer, giving it this beautiful and unique finish.
Guqin VS Guzheng
Guqin and Guzheng are both Chinese instruments that are famous and ancient. These instruments have been around for centuries, and some exquisite pieces of music have been played on them.
Are these two the same instruments the same? No!
These two Chinese instruments are famous but different. They have some very obvious differences ranging from the chord and octave to the number of strings.
- Gu qin has a maximum of 7 strings. Guzheng has 21 strings.
- Qin is much smaller in shape and size than the Guzheng
- The volume and melody of the Chinese qin instrument are low. Guzheng has a strong and agile sound.
- The timbre of the qin is bright and clear. On the other hand, the timbre of Guzheng is comparatively loud.
- Guqin is used to play classical songs, while Guzheng is suitable for loud, pop music.
- Guqin is played by the right hand while it is held by the left hand. The melody is created by expert motion and movement of fingers directly on the strings.
- Guzheng is played using specific fingernails that the instrument player wears. These are professional nail pieces as pieces of music, and their quality depends on the movement of the nails.
- Guqin is almost 3000 years old and was found in the Fuxi era of the ancient Chinese.
- Guzheng is over 2000 years old and was found by the Han nationality in China. It is also known as Qinzheng, Hanzhong, etc.
Though these instruments share their roots but they are nothing alike. It is prominent that these instruments are used for different types of musical genres altogether.
How to Choose the Right Guqin?
A Chinese Guqin is a critical yet cherished musical instrument. However, it can be hard to decide which one you want, and how can you determine which would be the best with so many options?
There are a few factors that can help you in choosing the right guqin. These things are to be well-thought off as a different kind of gu qin means a different type of octave and melody. This may not be good if the melody is not up to your taste.
The facts you need to look into are:
Guqin comprises seven strings, also known as the lyre. One must distinguish between the shapes and see what they like the best. Some common shapes are; the Fuxi style, Zhongni style, banana leaf style, Luo Xia style, etc.
Workmanship and Details
The Chinese guqin instrument is an instrument that experts make. It would help if you looked for the sound of the strings. If you are buying online, see if they have a return or exchange policy so that you can check in person, and if it is not right, you can get it returned.
This can also be checked physically. When your qin arrives, you should play it a little and check if it is flowing with your fingers or not. You always have a chance to get it returned if you are not happy with the finger acceptance.
Structure of the Guqin
The structure of a guqin is somewhat similar to that of a Guzheng. It consists of five parts, including the head, neck, shoulder, waist, tail, and feet. On purchasing a guqin, you should understand the importance of each of these parts.
All the above-stated pointers and a few more in-depth details impact the decision of which guqin you want. This is a great and important decision if you plan to become a performer as the qin you will practice and play on will determine your excellence.
FAQs About Guqins
1. What Does the Guqin Symbolize?
The Chinese instrument Guqin symbolizes the union of heaven, man, and the earth. The ancient Chinese assumed the sky to be round and the earth to be flat. This is why the guqin is shaped like it is.
2. Is the Guqin Hard to Learn?
Guqin needs to be learned through instructions from either a master or by reading a book. To become a professional, one needs proper guidance. It is difficult to learn as the four octaves it produces are mellow and resonate. To make it hearable, you need to play it the proper way.
3. How Old is the Chinese Guqin?
The Chinese guqin is more than 3000 years old.
4. What are Guqin Strings Made of?
The qin Chinese instrument strings are made of nylon and steel. Nowadays, the steel strings are covered with nylon to get the same octave and sound to resonate.
5. How Many Quqin Players are There?
Playing a guqin is an art hard to master. It is an ancient art taught to generations in Chinese culture and heritage. Sadly, now this art is not well preserved. There are not even 50 masters of qin alive on earth. There are not even a thousand well-trained guqin players left.
6. How Do You Play a Guqin?
Chinese guqin plays three techniques, mainly with the left hand holding the instrument while the right hand pull the strings. The three techniques are San (the opening), and (the stopped string), fan (harmonics).
7. What is the Quietest Instrument?
Guqin is the quietest instrument. It has a mellow sound that resonates with other music/instruments. However, on its own, its sound can be very soft.
8. What are Famous Ancient Chinese Guqin Music Pieces?
Some of the famous ancient Chinese music pieces are:
- Mist and clouds over the Xiang river
- Three stanzas on Plum Blossom
- Flowing waters
- Moon over a frontier mountain
- Drunken joy