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  1. I have been researching guqin recently, the photos of qin construction were well done… how did you design the template overlay for the cuts, also … for the routering ? I would like to make my own qin (although I am thinking of using nylon strings

    • Thanks for the comments.
      I read the instructions from Yuguzhai Qinpu (Abiding with Antiquity). There’s an English translation by Jim Binkley who lives in Portland, OR. Basically, the instructions are in words (draw a straight line, mark off 12 divisions, inscribe a curve, etc.) I translated that into math and just plotted it. But, I deviated a little but and tweaked the formula to get a wider instrument so I can play with the profile. Then I drew lines on the boards and routed away. I think I was too detailed, and if I do this again, I would make less contour lines. It was too tedious. Do you play, and where are you located?

      • Thanks for such a fast response… I have just started reading the book Yuguzhai Qinpu (Abiding with Antiquity) now… 🙂 I am at the very beginning in this pursuit … but I have heard that a long journey begins with but one step… 🙂 I will try to duplicate your method of translating into math formula… do you mind if I consult with you if I run into problems?

        • That should be fine. Let me know whenever.
          By the way, which city/state/country are you in?
          (I’m working on restructuring my blog, so links might change. You should be able to re-navigate back through my homepage.)

          • Hi Danny,

            What software did you use to plot the template? Also… which do you think is better, the silk string or the nylon/metal string…

  2. appreciate it… currently in Dallas area, Texas

  3. My name is zhangwenlong. I come from The Second Hospital of TangShan.I am a hand surgery doctor and want to touch with you.
    It’s ZhengXuGuang who tell me your website.
    My QQ number is 120467060.
    Hope your reply.

  4. Calculated contour lines and just plotted them x-y. Any simple program will work. Silk is very painful to deal with. The sound is rough. It goes out of tune constantly. Do you play?

    • thanks for the tip about silk strings… it saddens me to hear it though… I listened to “Wild Geese Descend On a Sandbank” played using silk string, and again using metal/nylon string… while not as loud, there was distinctive overtones… the research I did said the silk string last about 7 years… good sound between years 2-5… normally breaks at the point of contact at the bridge… extend life through splicing in more silk string at the point of breakage…
      I am literally just beginning… doing my background research first… studying the structure of the instrument…

  5. Hi Danny, as I slowly inch forward in my understanding of matters related to guqin… I noticed you are using a transduction pickup… why did you go that route? I have another question… did you vary the depth of the wood to accommodate the thickness of the string above it… thicker under the lower tone… thinner under the higher tone? I read this technique is used to facilitate the transmission of the formant frequencies into the sound chamber…

    • I happened to have that pickup from another instrument, so I just transferred it over. No other reason in particular.
      About the thickness: guitars have struts, and violins have the bass bar. In the guqin, because the design already calls for wood to be left thicker across from the soundholes, I didn’t vary the thickness.

  6. Oh my goodness, it looks so real, saturated with blood! Believe it must be fresh harvest, straight from OR with the operating room basin at the bottom. Well done, Danny. I vote this is the best dish for the Halloween. Believe that the ancient kings would love this dip better than the real monkey’s brain that they had!!

  7. Nice idea! Looks great and I am sure tasted the same…

  8. Danny, Beautiful loaf of artisinal bread. You are truly a polymath. Talents in all areas. There is magic in a great loaf of bread, some say religion is found in proper bread. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Monte. I love this basic bread recipe. It’s so simple yet wonderful. Chris Jobe shared the original recipe with me, and I think the olives add another dimension of complexity—a great loaf, especially with some assorted cheeses.

  9. a good time

  10. 《歸去來兮辭》, 一首很好的辭賦。




  11. Hi Danny,
    Your blog and photos are beautiful! The photo you took of the mountains from our condo is stunning! We are happy we could play a small part in your amazing family trip to the Canadian Rockies. Please come back and visit us again!
    Mike & Rachel
    MWL Luxury Rentals

  12. Hi Danny, I’m in Kunming now getting ready to begin building my guqin.
    My son gave me an older version of Mathcad his teacher had around so i will that for the calculations. I’ve been learning to play the guqin in Kunming 🙂

  13. I changed out the strings on my qin… the silk strings are much easier on my fingers and I like the sound more than the steel strings…. i coated the strings with candle wax and rubbed the wax into the string using a cotton cloth before using them… the first two weeks I had to adjust the strings constantly as they stretched out… however, after two weeks they settled in… several months now… they don’t change at all…

  14. what kind of wood did you use for the bridge?

    • Hardwood, like jujube or rosewood. I just met with Jim Binkley and had a nice talk. He and several other makers and I agree that the author of Yuguzhai probably never made a guqin.

  15. HEIIO!健盛!终于看到你们上次来澄海的照片了。拍得不错,good!

  16. Scott Pavageaux

    Dear Danny, I am looking to build my first Guqin and need help on the dimensions. Any information would be willing to give would be greatly appreciated.

    All the best, Scott

    • Good to hear from you. I mapped out the dimensions from Yuguzhai Qinpu, and then tweaked it. I recently started taking lessons, and my teacher said the top needs to be a little more rounded, so you might want to modify. Also, I had the chance to finally meet Jim Binkley, who translated the original construction text. His impression was exactly the same as mine–that the author of the Yuguzhai probably never made a guqin before. Following the directions precisely (what I did the first time) ended up yielding an instrument that doesn’t play well. Feel free to e-mail me: Where are you located, and what inspired you?