Purchasing an Erhu – Part VI

Erhu Scrolls

Erhu Necks

I returned to Jinling Lu with Mei’s mother’s surgeon’s son, a ballet dancer with street smarts who had his informed friends from a music academy on the phone while we browsed and haggled for erhus. His friends claimed that erhus without a brand name  are dubious and the wood would be likely to warp within a few years. That’s when I abandoned my inclination for the fake peach wood erhu I had found at the other shop. Unfortunately, as ornate as the erhu necks above may be, only the one with the Boa Skin Musical Instrument Registration card can be exported to the United States.

My Erhu Seller

By chance, we found the dealer above, whom I trusted more than anyone else I met on Jinling Lu. At his shop, I chose an erhu produced by Shanghai No.1 Musical Instruments Factory with a good sound for its price and bought it only after hearing the dealer play a beautiful melody on it. I made sure it came with a registration card as well as the necessary government export certificate. The case also came with bow rosin, extra bridges and padding, 2 sets of strings, a tuner keychain, and a VCD that lectures on how the traditional Chinese erhu is the best instrument ever made. There was a little nick on the body, though. If I would have pointed this out to dealers at other shops, they’d state that such things don’t matter and just talk the instrument up or desperately drop the price another 5 Yuan. Instead, this guy polished the nick with a repair kit at the shop and it looked fine.

Sichuan Meal

Lastly, as with all adventures, the search for an erhu ended with a feast. Above are three spicy Sichuan dishes: cold chicken, minced lamb, and some rice derivative. As I ate, I was choking on both the spice in the food and in the air of the restaurant.

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3 Responses to Purchasing an Erhu – Part VI

  1. myron says:

    That was a wonderful story! I’ve recently started playing the erhu and wish i knew more about purchasing one. They don’t have many players down south. I wish you well in your future adventures!

  2. MJD says:

    If I remember my orchestration class correctly there are 2 ways of notating music for this instrument. which are you using? traditional(chinese and apparently less precise) or western(5 line staff etc..). Stumbling upon these posts makes me wish i had been a bit more attentive that day.

  3. Bob says:

    How much did you pay for this erhu?

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