Hey everyone. Not sure if this forum is still active much, but I'm a westerner learning the erhu solo and it seems like a good resource.
Just curious, I've heard a lot of varying ideas on the difference between the main three regional erhu tones. Lots of subjective language like X is "warmer," or Y is "sweeter," etc. I find myself eyeballing (or earballing, I guess) various pro grade erhus since I just have a learner model now, but since I'm regularly spending around 6-10 hours a day creating / performing other music I'm looking forward to rewarding myself with a better grade erhu once I've earned it, so I can use it in my own music.
Basically I need some help finding the right starting point to getting right erhu for the right timbre I want. I've heard a number of demos that really capture the flavor of erhu I'd like to incorporate into my music, but I don't know where to start looking to match this sound in terms of wood and region.
I primarily compose and perform electronic / pop music that's very western in style, so the erhu would most likely be used in a similar role to a lot of Erhu Eileen's covers.
In fact, this particular cover nails everything I'm looking to achieve sonically. Obviously there's probably some reverb applied but I think you'll get an idea of what I mean.
So in terms of THAT particular erhu, what do you think would achieve a similar sound? Beijing, Suzhou, Shanghai? What about the wood? Obviously the snakeskin has a lot to do with it too but that's less easy to target I would imagine.
Any thoughts you experts could offer will be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
I've really liked the YKM erhus I've heard. I think that my problem is, when I'm able to upgrade I'm planning on spending around $2-3k, so aside from the Indian small-leaf sandalwood models I have too many to choose from. I guess I'm just looking for a better ballpark on what defines each regional tone, so when I buy one I know it's the right flavor for my needs. When you listen to tons of demos back to back they all seem to sound the same.
Incidentally, have you ever heard of the company/manufacturer Music of May, aka Ocean of Music / Mei, Jingya（梅婧雅監製)? I know Eason is the most well known name out there for vendors, but I ordered some smalls from Music of May and was impressed by some of the ~$2000 range erhus on their website. Didn't know if there was any existing opinion about them floating around.
Hi dekk, where do you live? Ideally it best to choose personally from a shop.
Eason and one or two others are recommended here solely from customer feedback and they are experienced in sending Chinese instruments to the West. My HHR erhu from Eason came with a CITES certificate.
I've not heard of Music of May and would be interested if you included a link.
The website for Music of May is easy to find with Google. They are based in Toronto. I have not ordered or played any of their instruments, but from what I can tell from the listings on their website the quality appears to be student/intermediate level. I think that Eason Music has the advantage since they carry more of a variety from different makers, from novice level to high end. The more expensive MoM erhus are out-of-stock.
Here is an Eason video from a year ago that may be interesting to you:
I find videos to be somewhat useful only in comparison with comparing instruments from the same vendor. When different recording equipment is used, it is hard to know how much of the difference is actually the instruments. Sample videos are useful when you can't be there yourself, but nothing beats doing your own playing and choosing.