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He Mingwei
何明威 1
Top and bottom of a qin by He Mingwei 2        
The qin at right was made by He Mingwei of Chengdu around 1990. Until I acquired recent qins by
Tong Kin-Woon my main concert qins had aways been ones made by He Mingwei. Now I tend to use one or the other, depending on the occasion.3 (For example, He Mingwei qins tend to be somewhat larger and so until recently they didn't fit into the available styrofoam cases, so I was less likely to travel with them.)

Although the sound of my He Mingwei qins is generally very good, their finishing was not: the top surface could be a bit rough and there were some other problems.4 Then instruments by him that I heard later in the '90s seemed to have better finishing, but their sound did not appeal to me as much, the difference perhaps being due to He Mingwei by that time using metal strings while testing the sound of his qins.5

In the late 1990s I heard that He Mingwei had stopped making qins, but then in 2006 I heard he was making them again, that their finishing was now very good, but that they were also very expensive. I also heard that he was sometimes making ones he said were designed specifically for silk strings. If this is true they might very well be worth the investment (though I am still quite happy with the ones I have.)





1. 何明威 He Mingwei
He Mingwei stopped making qins for a while, but in 2006 I heard that he had started making them again. I saw several in Singapore around 2012; they seemed almost garish compared to the earlier ones.

2. Image
The pale wavy effect on the top and bottom surface of the qin is the reflection from a white radiator that was standing behind the instrument as I took the picture.

3. Commonly used qins
I also sometimes use one by Wang Peng.

4. Improving the He Mingwei qins
Subsequently Wang Peng did some considerable refinishing of my three earlier He Mingwei qins, improving their appearance dramatically. On some I also had a violin maker, Ute Zahn, rub the top smooth with a cloth normally used for smoothing and shining the varnish on violins.

5. Characteristics of the metal string qins
The top of these qins was closer to the strings, as they should be with metal strings, since the amplitude of vibration for metal strings is less than for silk strings; I had to compensate for this by raising the bridge (only slightly: by putting an extra piece of silk string along the top of the bridge, under the strings). This helps prevent a buzzing sound when stopping the strings in a lower position.