Factories in and around Guangzhou are renowned for mass-producing a myriad of products that are exported the world over. Lesser known, however, are the few remaining families in this city who continue to make high-quality, hand-crafted products. The Guo family, which has been crafting flutes since before the revolution, is one of those clans. Nearly 50 years ago, Guo Yi Zuo operated Lingnan Guanyue She, one of the largest flute factories in southern China. These flutes, known as dizi, are classical wind instruments that produce a raspy sound, created by a vibrating piece of rice paper that is sealed over one of the instrument's holes. The dizi is commonly used in Cantonese opera. The family also produces other kinds of flutes, such as xiao and Japanese-style instruments known as ciba. Today, Guo's two sons, Da Qiang, 38, and Da Ming, 33, carry on his legacy. Tucked away in a back alley, off Hui Fu Xi Lu, the two sons and their father continue to craft flutes from a variety of woods, such as black sandalwood, suanzhi and bamboo. Ornate carvings, including dragon heads, decorate the instruments, which have caught the attention of flute players from all over China. 'We've had a lot of famous flute players come into our shop,' said Guo Da Qiang, who has served virtuosos such as Zhang Wei-liang and Dai Yu, who teach at the Central China Music Institute in Beijing. He said that many of their clients come from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and even the United States. According to Guo Da Qiang, his family is the only remaining group in Guangzhou that is still making professional flutes by hand. The family produces about 20,000 instruments a year, and they range in price from 10 yuan (HK$9.4) to 1,000 yuan, according to the flute's size and quality. The Guo family also runs a small workshop in Nanhai, where about a dozen workers help them to keep up with orders. Unfortunately for the Guos, today's youth are more likely to pick up an electric guitar or keyboard than play wooden flutes. Perhaps with a little more marketing, these craftsmen may be able to survive the MTV generation. Otherwise, flutes made by the Guos could end up becoming museum pieces.