Known as Chinese zither, Guzheng is one of the most ancient Chinese musical instruments. Guzheng has been a popular instrument since ancient times and is considered as one of the main solo instruments of Chinese traditional music. Japanese Koto as well as several other zither-like intruments are all derived from guzheng.
Guzheng is built with a special wooden sound body with strings arched across movable bridges along the length of the instrument for the purpose of tuning. The middle part of the box is slightly higher than the two ends. The bottom board is flat or close to flat. It can be roughly divided to three parts: the head, the body, and the end part. The right bridge is at the head, the left bridge is at the end part, the body is between two bridges. The head has a foot at the bottom. The strings are set on the upper face of the instrument. Each string are suported by a paxilla which stands on the upper face. The paxillas can be moved on the right or left direction to regulate the pitch or the quality of the sound. The structures are different according to the type of the Guzheng. The quality of a Guzheng depends on the quality of the materials and the technique of the process.
In the early times the zheng had 5 string and quite probably with bamboo sound body; later on developed into 12 to 13 strings in the Tang Dynasty and 16 strings in the Song and Ming dynasty. A modern Guzheng typically has 21 strings over movable bridges, and steel strings wound with nylon, although ancient instruments used silk strings. These are mounted on a large resonant half-tube box made of wu-tong wood, and the instrument is typically about 1.7m long.