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Zeng Chengwei
曾成偉 1
Top and bottom of a qin by Zeng Cengwei        
Zeng Chengwei began making guqins by copying those made by his fellow Chengdu resident
He Mingwei, whose instruments tend to be wider than the standard modern ones;2 to my knowledge those made by Zeng Chengwei still today follow those original wide shapes. Zeng subsequently became noted for his skill at aligning the strings close to the top surface without resultant buzzing sounds. This makes them easy to play with metal strings, but with the traditional silk strings, which vibrate with a wider amplitude, there may be problems.3

The qin at right was as instrument I had that was made by Zeng Chengwei around 1990. It has a small dent on top between the 5th and 6th position. This doesn't effect playing it. I played it using silk strings.4



1. Zeng Chengwei 曾成偉 (Wikipedia)
Zeng is also a noted qin player and teacher.

2. This simply explains their shape and has nothing to do with who makes the better instruments (assuming such a determination can be made). (Return)

3. Affect of strings on qin construction
Qin Body has some information on differing construction considerations for the two types of instruments. With an existing instrument, if there is a problem with the closeness of the strings to the upper body I find I can sometimes remedy this by raising the bridge slightly, e.g., by running a spare piece of silk string under them.

4. Silk strings on Zeng Chengwei instruments?
My Zeng Chengwei qin sounded very good with silk strings, but I had others with a richer tone; I assume this was because Zeng's had been made with the metal string market in mind. Others instruments of his are probably better with silk; nevertheless, he tends particularly to be praised by players who never use silk, such as Li Xiangting (further comment). He Mingwei also eventually made his instruments designed for metal strings, but on order he sometimes makes them specifically for silk strings. I do not know whether Zeng Chengwei does this.