SampleScience offers Nu Guzheng, a FREE virtual guzheng instrument for macOS and Windows.
Nu Guzheng is available in 64-bit AU and VST formats for macOS El Capitan to Mojave and Windows 8.1/10. I have mixed feelings about this one because I’ve been foiled again by macOS Catalina. For now, I’ll have to rely on those of you who download Nu Guzheng to share your thoughts.
On the upside, it gave me an excuse to listen to some Guzheng performances on YouTube.
The Guzheng is a Chinese plucked zither, typically with 21 strings. It differs from other ancient Chinese zithers like the guqin because it has a bridge. The first 21 string Guzheng was crafted in 1961; until then, a traditional Guzheng had 12 or 18 strings.
Despite my appreciation for Chinese tradition, I must confess I did listen to Guzheng covers of Sweet Child O’ Mine, Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, and Camila Cabello’s Havana.
The Guzheng samples come from a traditional Chinese zither recorded in high-quality 32-bit, 44.1kHz audio. The GUI is identical to that of Rusty Piano, another Sample Science instrument that we covered recently. It looks good, and more importantly, it’s easy to use.
The multi-LFO is set and controlled via the central drop-down menus and depth/rate controls to the left. There are drop-down menus for LFO wave, target, and source. I like the LFO source options and said the same with Rusty Piano; the difference between setting the source to a mod wheel, aftertouch, or velocity will change how you play. The slightest difference in expression can make a big difference to your sound.
Also in the central menu panel are filter type, voice mode, and velocity curve selectors. There are two filter types, HP and LP, with controls to the left.
The 3 voice modes are polyphonic, monophonic, and legato. As the Guzheng can be a very delicate instrument, playing with the velocity curve options might help get the best out of it.
To the right of the drop-down menus are controls for pan, volume, reverb, and cutoff. Near the bottom of the GUI are ADSR, preamp, and glide controls.
I like how Sample Science put these instruments together. Even though I haven’t been able to play Nu Guzheng, I’ll definitely grab it if/when it becomes compatible with Catalina upwards, and not just so I can play Sweet Child O’ Mine: or is it?
Download: Nu Guzheng