AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” Played on Ancient Chinese Instrument, the Guzheng

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Originating nearly 2,500 years ago, the guzheng is a traditional Chinese zither, a stringed instrument featuring up to 21 movable strings and bridges. The ancient instrument was the exact piece Chinese musician and professional guzheng player Moyun chose to reinterpret AC/DC’s 1990 hit “Thunderstruck.”

Moyun, who has gained a following covering more modern songs on the antiquated instrument—including Linkin Park’s “Numb,” The Kid Laroi’s “Stay” and more—plucked the strings following Angus Young’s iconic guitar riffs and tapped the wooden sections of the instrument to capture the thumping beat of the rock anthem.

To cover a song, Moyun has to first compose a rough draft of the track, then go through it section by section to figure out how to adapt each part on the guzheng. “Traditional Chinese instruments aren’t suited for adapting a band’s entire sound,” said Moyun. “Guzheng is like the bass. It’s hard to create variations with it.”

She adds, “There are many chromatic notes I can’t play on the guzheng, so I need to adapt it for the guzheng scale and use the right plucking techniques, but yet stick to the original chords. After that, I’ll try to add an even more guzheng-like feel to the song.”

Off AC/DC’s 12th album Razor’s Edge, “Thunderstruck” has already seen some interesting YouTube covers in recent years, with the song reimagined in stylophone by YouTuber MaroMaro1337, along with a more cyberpunk-synthwave version by the Melodicka Bros, and other renditions performed on bagpipes by Indian artist The Snake Charmer and the more inventive mixes of the classic with a washing machines and a baby gurgling.

The musician hopes to bring renewed interest to the traditional instruments of China by reimagining more modern songs across all genres.

“Chinese culture tends to be abstract,” said Moyun. “It’s not really accessible, but pop culture is accessible. By putting the two together, I hope the audience can appreciate my music.”

Read 7 of the Craziest Covers of AC/DC/s Classic “Thunderstuck” here.

Photos: Moyun / YouTube

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