I have now tested the silk-nylon strings. I recorded two videos of me playing Qiu Shui on my ZCW qin; once with the metal-nylon strings and once with the new silk-nylon strings. Here are the videos:
NB: because I have poor sound recording facilities, the sound quality recorded in these videos may not do justice to the actual sound of the qin. One must hear it in the flesh to make a better value judgment.
My findings are thus:
1. The sound quality slightly similar to that of m-n strings except that the annoying metallic sound is not present.
2. The volume is higher than pure silk but only slightly lower than m-n.
3. The sound quality is more earthy and captures much of the silk tone.
4. The bass register is deeper than m-n and the upper registers are clear with a lower treble.
5. The sustain of open strings is much reduced compared to m-n. For sliding, it is much the same.
6. The harmonics are richer than that of m-n.
7. The strings are softer than m-n so you do not need to use excessive force to pluck.
8. The strings are easier to press and slide on than with pure silk.
9. More easier to achieve note accuracy.
10. The strings are more stable than pure silk but you still have to tune more as the strings have a tendency to lose tone, esp. strings 3 and 4. Also, you have to re-string ever week for about a month until the strings stablise.
11. The strings could do with around 10″ extra length at the wrapping end so the strings are more stable.
12. The strings could be tuned to standard pitch or higher. The nylon wrapping gives the string more strength.
13. There is not the same amount of buzzing as in pure silk. There are *minimal and very short* buzzing here and there but not to the extent of distracting and could vary on depending on the qin.
14. The tone is much better, sweeter and softer than m-n.
15. Since the 3rd and 4th strings lose their tone more easily, you muct string using the traditional configuration (i.e. strings 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the outer foot) so they can be accessed more easily. Also, the position of the fly-knot must also be taken into account when stringing to compensate for the tuning.
16. Strings are smoother to slide on than pure silk.
17. The gauge is slightly thicker than that of m-n.
18. The colour is a much lighter brown once strung; similar to the colour of FW’s silk strings.
19. There is no problems about playing with sweaty hands since the nylon wrapping protects the silk core.
These are only initial observations. Of course, the strings need time to break in and stablise. One thing that my put people off is the stringing issue as you need to restring until the strings are stable (thus stringing difficulty is raised). I will update as appropriate in the future.
NB: it has come to my attention that the strings are not made of any silk at all and that they are made from a ‘modern composite.’ Therefore, the designation of ‘silk-nylon’ is now incorrect and it shall henceforth be known as ‘artificalsilk-nylon’ or ‘artsilk-nylon’ for short.