How to Tune an Erhu


An ehru is a Chinese instrument that has two strings. It is played by using a bow to resonate the two strings while fretting the neck of the instrument to change its pitch, much like a violin. However, the ehru is not held; instead, it rests on the floor and the player sits next to it. Tuning these two strings is much like tuning a guitar or violin and is accomplished through the tightening of tuning pegs.

Things You'll Need

  • Guitar tuner with built-in microhone
  • Press the power button to turn on the tuner. If no cable is plugged into the tuner, it will default to the microphone setting that it uses to tune acoustic instruments.

  • Draw the bow against the inner string of the ehru to play the note. The first string is the one closest to you, or the inner string. Watch the tuner to see what pitch is being played. The string should be tuned to D. If it is not, it needs to be adjusted.

  • Adjust the pitch of the inner string by grasping the wooden tuning peg that the string is tied to, pushing it in and turning it clockwise to raise the pitch or counter-clockwise to lower it. Turn the tuning peg while drawing the bow across the string to see the note that you are tuning on the tuner.

  • Adjust the pitch of the second, or outer string -- the string farthest from you -- by grasping the tuning peg that the string is tied to, pushing it in and turning it counter-clockwise to raise the pitch or clockwise to lower it. The second string is tuned to A, a harmonic fifth from the first.

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