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Thread: LiuQin

  1. #26
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Jacob: I can imagine that the raised frets present a different need for set up as well as playing technique. I do see Chinese players using that fret height for note bending.
    The raised frets allow some vibrato and slight pitch adjustments.

    On the fretted instruments that use a lot of bending notes, the frets are wide enough to pull the string. Pipa is a good example of this. Not so much on ruan, yeu qin, liuqin, etc.

  2. #27
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Did you deal with Mr. Ma? His daughter?
    His daughter. Clara? It's been a long time.

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  4. #28
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
    His daughter. Clara? It's been a long time.
    Yeah...it's a shame they closed the music store a few years ago.

  5. #29
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Just an update. I had posted an ad in the classifieds that I was looking for a liuqin and one kind MC soul contacted me that in his local music store there was a Chinese instrument, not a liuqin, but a ruan—with similar raised frets but a wood-topped banjo-shaped body. The price was considerably less than anything decent I could buy from China, so I bought it.

    I just received it last week and it is actually quite nicely made. The top and back are made of paulownia wood. Mine is a xiaoruan—the equivalent of the mandola in the ruan orchestra family. The scale is 18" and the standard tuning is DADA (low to high). It is actually pretty loud but sounds quite nice. The raised frets take some getting used to. I lowered the two bass strings so now it is tuned like a mandola. I am thinking of maybe trying heavier strings and tuning it to octave mandolin tuning.

    Dig those frets. Each one is set into a small wooden bridge. These are pretty much modernized instruments based on ancient ones and tuned to the western scale.

    Attachment 189974Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Jim Garber; Nov-22-2020 at 9:04pm.
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  7. #30
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    It sure is pretty, Jim!

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  10. #32
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Just an update. I had posted an ad in the classifieds that I was looking for a liuqin and one kind MC soul contacted me that in his local music store there was a Chinese instrument, not a liuqin, but a ruan
    Congrats, Jim, I think you'll be just as happy - if not happier - with a ruan than a liuqin. Both work as "Chinese mandolins" but the ruan has a larger soundbox, and yours looks like a good instrument.

    What brand is it, please?

    sizes of the ruan


  11. #33
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    I think it seems pretty decent and well constructed. No surprise that it is a bit headstock heavy. I thought originally that those big tuning handles would be friction driven but it seems like there are gears inside that boxy head.

    I still am not 100% sure of the brand but I am pretty certain that it is one of the two big makers: either Xinghai (Beijing) or Shanghai Dunhuang. I think it might be Dunhuang at least by the type of bird-shaped soundhole. Mine seems to be more of a water fowl with webbed feet. I have yet to find any Xinghai ones with those soundholes.

    This was priced especially low because it must have fallen on its scroll and someone did an amateur wood glue repair. Still that should not affect the rest of the neck and nothing fell apart yet or exploded. Kind of fun instrument though to explore. I have been watching youtube players to see what techniques they use. Not much different from mandolin, OM or even guitar. A few players play pipa-style with fingers.
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  13. #34
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Mine seems to be more of a water fowl with webbed feet.
    Oh, this it this shape - cool, those are usually decently made. No specific decal under the tailpiece/bridge area as in the pic?



    enjoy!

  14. #35
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Yeah, mine is above but, for some reason the photo I posted is not showing up, only if you click the link. Here it is again. Mine didn't have a sticker and most sellers do not post a brand or they call it their own. I am convinced though that most of the lower priced ones are either Beijing Xinghai or Shanghai Dunhuang.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Probably same maker of this zhongruan (larger, alto size with ~22" scale). The soundholes and bridge seem the same as mine.

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  16. #36
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Yeah, mine is above but, for some reason the photo I posted is not showing up, only if you click the link. Here it is again. Mine didn't have a sticker and most sellers do not post a brand or they call it their own. I am convinced though that most of the lower priced ones are either Beijing Xinghai or Shanghai Dunhuang.
    Probably so.

  17. #37

    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I thought originally that those big tuning handles would be friction driven but it seems like there are gears inside that boxy head.
    Cool! I've become a fan of geared tuners. In earlier times, I played old wooden-peg banjos (it was what we had so that's what I played) and of course fiddles, and yeah non-geared wooden pegs will work ok *if* they're properly fitted and maintained (with gut/nylon strings anyway) but it was a bit fussy keeping them maintained. I eventually gravitated towards steel strings on all my instruments, at first trying to adapt by sticking those little accessory fine-tuners onto each string at the tailpiece (even on the banjos), but eventually just switched over to geared pegs on everything except the fiddles. Nice geared pegs let me spend more time playing and less time tinkering with things.

    On your instrument, I like how the designers/builders kept a traditional vibe but modernized the functionality. Looks like a very cool and fun instrument!

  18. #38
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Pegheads makes geared tuners that look like traditional wooden pegs. (nfi)

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  20. #39
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by JL277z View Post
    but eventually just switched over to geared pegs on everything except the fiddles. Nice geared pegs let me spend more time playing and less time tinkering with things.
    I had my violin guy install Perfection (like Pegheds) geared violin tuners on my main fiddle which makes tuning and especially retuning much easier and they look very similar to normal violin pegs. Best thing I ever did.

    Whoops! I see Jacob posted ~the same thing.
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  22. #40

    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
    Pegheads makes geared tuners that look like traditional wooden pegs. (nfi)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Perfection (like Pegheds)
    Thanks Jacob and Jim! I had no idea those existed. Those look so much like solid wood pegs that it's possible I may have seen them in action at some point and didn't even realize what they were. (I haven't played fiddle in eons and guess I haven't been keeping up with all the technology changes.) I'm intrigued by those tiny little planetary gears inside the fiddle tuners, I'm guessing they must be made of pretty high-quality materials for durability at that small a size.

    Certainly good to have options!

  23. #41
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    Nice find. If you're interested in TCM, this forum - https://starvoid.proboards.com/ - has some folks with expertise.
    thanks so much for this link. This is the Mandolin Cafe for Chinese music.
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  24. #42
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    thanks so much for this link. This is the Mandolin Cafe for Chinese music.
    I sometimes check that forum. Good info!

    Many of the modern Chinese instruments have mechanical tuners that still look like the old simple wooden pegs but have hidden gears.

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  26. #43
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    thanks so much for this link. This is the Mandolin Cafe for Chinese music.
    I just checked the site and I take that statement I made above back. Not even close. The most recent posts (except one) are from over a year ago and many are even older, more like 5-10 years. I will see what I can glean—there seems to be some good info but I don't know if anyone would even check back to answer any questions I would have. One poster from some time back suggested that the Facebook groups are much more active than this one. Oh well.

    I did find one link to a site with lots of Chinese music notated in that number tablature, but, for some reason, Google translate will not translate the web pages. I can sort of translate with pasting parts of the page. Oh well...

    In the meantime, I will probably watch some of the videos of relatively simple tunes and try to learn by ear.
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  28. #44
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    This woman sounds like she could easily play bluegrass on the pipa. Combination of bluegrass banjo and mandolin techniques. That is one of the main differences between pipa vs. liuqin/ruan instruments: finger style with nails vs. flatpicks. Too bad the Facebook Video code did not work here.

    https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2719652744963202
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  29. #45

    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I just checked the site and I take that statement I made above back. Not even close. The most recent posts (except one) are from over a year ago and many are even older, more like 5-10 years. I will see what I can glean—there seems to be some good info but I don't know if anyone would even check back to answer any questions I would have. One poster from some time back suggested that the Facebook groups are much more active than this one. Oh well.

    I did find one link to a site with lots of Chinese music notated in that number tablature, but, for some reason, Google translate will not translate the web pages. I can sort of translate with pasting parts of the page. Oh well...

    In the meantime, I will probably watch some of the videos of relatively simple tunes and try to learn by ear.
    '
    Yes, compared with more common instruments/musics, some trad forums seem to be declining, going to FB, etc .. personally I haven't been on ZQG/TCM for years, but I got a couple of connections and help with my research there.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    This woman sounds like she could easily play bluegrass on the pipa. Combination of bluegrass banjo and mandolin techniques. That is one of the main differences between pipa vs. liuqin/ruan instruments: finger style with nails vs. flatpicks. Too bad the Facebook Video code did not work here.

    https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2719652744963202

    Quite similar to flamenco gtr actually - many same techniques.

  30. #46
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Any of you folks have clues on how to read that Chinese numbered music notation?
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  32. #47
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Any of you folks have clues on how to read that Chinese numbered music notation?
    It's pretty easy.

    It's called jianpu, and basically you pick a key, say G, and assign a number to each note:

    G A B C D E F# as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.

    A dot above a note makes it an octave higher, a dot below makes it an octave lower; 2 dots means 2 octaves above or below.

    The rhythm is notated by similar beams and flags as staff notation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbered_musical_notation

    This article explains it well and has a version of "Amazing Grace" in jianpu.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_musical_notation

    http://music.matthewlspringer.com/Ch...on_system.html

    a link from above article

    other links:

    http://jianpu-music.blogspot.com/p/c...gs-jianpu.html

    http://pu.onegreen.net/GePu/List/List_2.html

    http://www.jianpu.cn/pu.htm

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  34. #48
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I just checked the site and I take that statement I made above back. Not even close. The most recent posts (except one) are from over a year ago and many are even older, more like 5-10 years.
    I stopped visiting the forum regularly because it had very few new posts, but you can look at older posts.

  35. #49
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: LiuQin

    Thanks so much for all that great info.
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