My personal qin was started in September 2015 and completed in March 2016. It was completely designed and built from scratch by myself, completely custom in all aspects, and represents over 150 hours of dedication and work. It hosts a variety of unique features that sets it apart from other qin, and is a one-of-a-kind qin in the world.
The top piece that makes up the soundboard is crafted from a beautiful piece of old growth curly redwood. The bottom piece that makes up the back board is made from an equally beautiful piece of figured fiddleback paradox walnut. The rest of the accessories (tuning pegs) and trimmings (scholar’s caps, dragon gums, bridge, nut, wild geese feet, peg protectors, peg pool, etc.) are made from jet black Gabon ebony. The rongkou are made from high quality turquoise colored 100/2 kimono silk thread. The form of this qin is a unique custom shape I personally designed, combining several qin forms, with some of my own unique personal touches. These forms include jio ye (banana leaf style) form, ci jun (bamboo style) form, and lian zhu form, with other custom touches. The hui are made from paua abalone shell, with the 7th hui specially chosen, depicting a pattern resembling an old, misty mountain. The finish is a high gloss hand-applied french polish from high quality blond shellac flakes, that took about two months of work in itself.
Internally, the soundboard includes no naiyin or sound posts, but instead carefully carved slightly thicker on the side with string 1, progressing slightly thinner to string 7. Wood choices, structural choices, and other design considerations were also made with careful research and estimation from prior experience to combine woods and design to shape a unique tone. The qin was designed and intended for use with silk strings particularly to compliment the tone of the woods, however all types of strings can be used on the qin.
As far as I am aware, there are only a handful of people that I have seen, including myself, that have made “non-traditional” qin in this nature, with alternative woods and clear finishs to show off the wood. It is my hope that more of these qin will be made – there are just so many beautiful woods out there with exceptional tonal qualities, and so many combinations waiting to be explored! Qin like these have the potential to offer many new exciting options and timbres to qin players. If I make more qin, I will definitely continue to pursue this rarely explored path of alternative qin making.