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I used one of those Danish Butter Cookie tins. Y'know, the ones that Babczia stores her sewing supplies in and basically guards with her life. I had to skip the country when she realized that it was missing. Send help please.
I learned to play it in roughly the same way as any other fretless instrument. I took a wax crayon and the GuitarTuna app on my phone, tuned the melody string to E4, and plucked the string repeatedly, moving my finger up and down the string until I found any note on the Chromatic scale, then marking the position of my finger on the fingerboard, then doing this over and over again until I had every chromatic note on the fingerboard marked. As long as it's kept in tune, this method will serve you pretty reliably well.This is also how I managed to convert a Diddley-Bow into a functional cello.Also, the Er-hu is ridiculously fun to play as a slide instrument.