This is my recommended bass guitar chromatic tuner for guqin (which I use): the Ibanez-brand bass guitar chromatic tuner + Seiko wired clip for attachment to the guqin's bridge. (Each sold separately, batteries included) WARNING: please do *NOT* ever use Energizer alkaline batteries for your tuner. Ever. Not even 'spent' Energizer-brand batteries. They leak badly and may ruin your electronic devices.Thank you for your kind attention.
In my experience, regular guitar tuners may not work very well with guqin. They cannot 'hear' the low sonic range of guqin. Bass guitar chromatic tuners work much better with guqin.
There is a sale now at Singapore's Swee Lee musical instruments store (until 28 July 2013). Grab yours today!
In my humble opinion, guqin silk strings seem to be able to perform optimally (loud enough to 'cut through the mix' of environmental ambient noises) when all 7 strings are tuned relative to thickest 1st string being tuned to either B-flat (also shown as A-sharp on tuner), B, C-flat (also shown as B-sharp on tuner) or C. Yes, Tobaya silk strings can be easily tuned relative to C pitch on thickest 1st string and they feel super slinky. My kids find it very easy to flick those super slinky strings even with their thin weak fingers. They also feel smooth to the touch even when mounted on guqin, so kids may find it easier to slide their left thumb or left ring finger on the Tobaya silk strings.
Even for other brands of silk strings (such as Taigu or HuQiu or JinWu/JinYu) I still tune all 7 strings relative to B-flat (shown as A-sharp on tuner), even in humid Singapore. Silk strings seem to sound better and louder at this sonic range, probably because the higher tension in the strings can 'move' the bridge better which in turn vibrates the guqin's soundbox more.
In my experience, if the guqin is tuned relative to anywhere below A-pitch on thickest 1st string, it may sound very soft (almost inaudible) and the strings would feel 'floppy.'
Normally, in each practice session, I would take out my guqin from its hard foam case (I do not hang my guqin on a wall like others do), tune up my guqin, play the guqin for at least an hour, and afterwards slacken all 7 silk strings (most people may only slacken their thinner 6th and 7th strings), wipe the guqin fingerboard and silk strings with a piece of microfiber cloth (the same kind I use to wipe my computer screens) and finally keep the guqin back into its hard foam case for storage.