Hola, amigos! How's it going?
There's a newly launched brand of 古琴 guqin silk strings called Su Xin silk strings. There's a deluxe version 素心特级古琴丝弦 selling for RMB6000 (equivalent to about US$980 or about SGD$1243) per set and there's a more affordable standard set 素心标准古琴丝弦 selling at RMB2800 (equivalent to about US$457 or about SGD$580) per set. According to the manufacturer's webpages (written in Mandarin), the more expensive deluxe version has better tone color. However, the more expensive deluxe version seems to be more suitable for more stable humid environments, and the standard version seems to be more suitable for environments where the humidity varies between wet and dry seasons. Further, no artificial chemicals were used. Only traditional Chinese medical herbs were used in the production process of these guqin silk strings.
As far as I personally know, this is the highest priced guqin silk strings on planet Earth. I think it's only fair that the guqin silk string makers ask for a price that would help them to break even or at least make some profits for their research & development efforts. Nobody is being forced to buy it. I am sure any customer who is willing to pay the price for a very high quality set of guqin silk strings would very likely also deem it to be worth the price.
The last time I checked, Taigu silk strings (if you can even find them, that is) were selling for RMB1500 per set on Taobao. Price-sensitive customers can opt for more affordable guqin silk strings such as Jin Yu brand silk strings (about RMB340 per set) or Tobaya brand guqin silk strings (about US$232 per set) or Marusan Hashimoto brand silk strings (about US$200 per set). Guqin players who like to play with silk strings are spoilt for choice, as silk strings are readily available from online stores. This is unprecedented.
Customers outside PRC may consider using a taobao agent such as TaobaoRing.com. You may wish to consider using Sgshop.com.sg or 65daigou.com if your location is Singapore.
Well, I believe that Su Xin silk strings must be superb. That might be why the silk string makers could justify asking for such a high price for it. No doubt about that. However, since I am only an amateur hobbyist guqin player, I don't think I'd take the plunge and splurge US$1000 for a new set of guqin silk strings. haha... I'd let the professional guqin master-teacher players go for it first. haha
I'd just play my Tobaya brand guqin silk strings until they wear out first. haha
If you happen to buy Su Xin silk strings or have played on Su Xin silk strings before, please do drop me a note and share about your experience? Thanks!
(Pictured above: Su Xin brand silk strings)