STQI Downtown Toronto School

Should I buy a used erhu or a brand new erhu?

admin | 22 April 2017 | Er-Hu-Chinese-Fiddle, STQI Toronto | | 0 Comments   

Article By: Amely Zhou, Music Director of STQI
If you are planning to start learning the erhu, this question will probably come across your mind at some point. Qualities of erhu in the market varies greatly, and because of this, you should always do some research to look into the kind of erhu sound that you are looking for first. In my humble opinions and many years of teaching, I try to provide some tips here for choosing erhu and the advantages and disadvantages of getting a used erhu or brand new erhu.

First of all, for starters, if I am guessing right, you are probably looking for something affordable to try on and get a feel first. That is totally understandable and in fact, many people are also thinking the same thing. My first suggestion is always talk to someone that you know who can play erhu, find an erhu player and ask questions like, how much did your erhu costs? or how much did your first erhu cost? If you ask enough people, then you will get a pretty good idea of price range of erhus. In the current market, a beginner erhu ranging from 300-600 Canadian dollar would provide a stable and produce a rather decent sound. You might see instruments that sales for under 300, sometimes with luck, you may still be able to get one that sounds okay but the chances of getting noisy sound increases greatly due to the cheaper wood materials and the unevenness of snake skin.

If you are determined and thinks this is a long term commitment for you, but don’t have the budget to afford an instrument yet. Sometimes I suggest my students to rent an erhu. The STQI downtown school provides erhu rental at 20$ per month which is very affordable and also gives students the chance to start right away. The result of this is usually good because by a few lessons, the student will have quite a bit of idea what learning this instrument is going to be like and they will be able to tell well enough whether if they like the erhu sound or not. Then, they usually did be able to choose their own instrument after!

For a used erhu, it really depends where this used erhu is made from, mainly its wood materials and quality of snake skins. Does it have a maker’s name printed on the erhu? Was it purchased as a first try out instrument? Those are the questions that you would probably want to ask for when getting a used erhu. Generally erhu prices doesn’t depreciated, the reason why I have the confident to say this is because:

1. Good wood materials appreciates over time, meaning it will only get more and more expensive because of the limited natural recourses and the time it takes for it to grow into the volume that can be used and produced into instruments.

2. Used erhu tend to produce a more vibrant sound because the fact that it has been played before

For a brand new erhu, you should always find a way to hear the sound first! Because that’s the most important thing. Due the work of snake skin, the sound can be very different even if it was made by the same craftsman or is the same line of product. Always find a way to hear someone play the instrument for you or preferably playing it yourself!