The guzheng or zheng is sometimes known as the Chinese zither, and in japan, it is called the koto. It varies from thirteen to seventeen strings tuned to the pentatonic scale with a range exceeding three octaves. Present day zhengs may contain anywhere from 21 to 25 strings. Standard zhengs today utilize 21 movable bridges. The zheng is played with plectrums attached to the fingers of the right hand. The left hand may press down on the part of the strings on the other side of the bridge, bending the notes to a different pitch. The left hand may also be used to pluck strings in conjunction with the right hand on the right side of the instrument.

Zheng playing has been heavily influenced by western music and has spawned many different styles/schools of playing. This has lead to popularity of the instrument within younger generations.