Like most of its relatives, the ''jinghu'' has two strings that are customarily tuned to the interval of a fifth which the hair of the non-detachable bow passes in between. The strings were formerly made of silk, but in modern times are increasingly made of steel or nylon. Unlike other ''huqin'' instruments it is made of bamboo. Its cylindrical soundbox is covered with snakeskin on the front end, which forms a taut drum on which the bridge rests, sandwiched between the drum and the strings, which are connected to a peg at the bottom of the soundbox.
In Beijing opera, the jinghu often doubles the singer's voice. ''Jinghu'' performers in Beijing opera rarely shift into higher positions, and instead choose to compress the melody into a single octave.
The ''jinghu'' was also featured prominently in the single "Shinjitsu no Uta" by the Japanese band Do as Infinity.