Cello Chatter is where you'll find helpful hints and important information to get the most from your instrument. Come back and visit often. Send us a question and we'll try to answer it here.
ACQUIRING A CELLO IN A SOFT ECONOMY
As we have found since the financial downturn beginning in 2008, cellists do not consider their instrument a luxury item: the equivalent of say a new boat or a hot tub or a large flat-screen television.
That said, there is now less money available to most of us and less confidence that, with the 2013 financial picture, government shut-downs and what have you, there will be more any time soon. It doesn't inspire people to begin, or move up in this instrument that we love. So what does one do to acquire a cello, the kind that that makes the sound so important to us. Read more...
Home Repairs on Your Cello. Things You Can Do & Things You Shouldn't.
As of this writing, it is March of 2009 and the recession is on everyones mind. Theres more thought happening before cellists put their instrument in the car and haul it to the nearest luthier. Many might be tempted to enlist the help of Uncle Fred who, already this year, has managed to fix the toaster and unclog the drain, and always has his tool box with him. Read more...
How large should your cello be?
If you go into any reputable shop that sells cellos, most of the new ones available will likely be somewhat larger than many of the 100-150 year old cellos. So what constitutes a large cello and does bigger cello mean bigger sound? Read more...
MORE ON CHINESE INSTRUMENTS
Not infrequently we get requests from customers for a cello that is not Chinese. When we ask why, more often than not the answer is something like nothing specific really, I would just prefer something that isnt Chinese. Read more...
MORE ABOUT TEACHERS AND PURCHASING A CELLO
Earlier this fall (2007) we received a telephone call from a cello professor at a university on the west coast. He requested that we send him, for trial, up to 4 cellos, older but in good condition, worth $30,000 - $60,000 each, preferably in the higher end of that range. Read more...
GETTING A PROFESSIONAL QUALITY CELLO ON A (very low) BUDGET
Both Melissas and my cellos are of definite professional quality: dark complex sound, great volume and projection, Belgian-chocolate C-string, warm focused A, and wonderfully even from one to the next. I have to admit (reluctantly) that Melissas is slightly better than mine. Read more...
FURTHER TONAL IMPROVEMENTS TO YOUR CELLO
Last time we discussed cello tonal improvement possibilities, mostly involving tailpiece & tailgut combinations. This time lets consider things like strings, bridge, endpin and, yes, fingerboard. Read more...
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO MY CELLO TO MAKE IT SOUND BETTER?
Short of getting a different cello, most cellists at one time or another are interested in improving the sound and playability of their instrument. Is there really that much that can be done to improve a cello, or should we be resigned to accepting its sound as our lot in our musical life? Read more...
WHAT REPAIRS ARE ACCEPTABLE IN THE CELLO YOURE BUYING?
A cellist from Georgia wrote us that although she prefers older cellos, she doesnt want to own a cello with repairs in certain areas, or a lot of repairs in general. A nearby cellist who plays in a major symphony was able to afford the cello of his dreams because it has a (well-repaired) soundpost crack in the back. Read more...
WHEN IS A CELLO WORTH RESTORING
Restoration , as well use it in this text, refers to the act of bringing a stringed instrument as close as possible to new condition using as much of the original material as is feasible. Read more...
YOU, YOUR TEACHER, AND PURCHASING A CELLO
Most students ask the advice of their teacher when purchasing an instrument. Well focus on cellos here, but what we discuss pretty much goes for any instrument. Read more...
FACTS & FICTIONS ABOUT BOWS
Instruments in general and cellos in particular are often a mystery to their players. And even luthiers who claim to know everything about cellos cannot consistently craft or adjust a cello to sound terrific. Bows, however, have a mystique all their own. Read more...
YOUR CELLO IN SUMMERTIME
Summer in Vermont is beautiful: hot, but much less so than most of the rest of the country, lush vegetation and we are in the east after all humid.
It is the humid part, probably more than heat, that will affect our beloved cellos. As we talked about in the Cello Chatter on humidity (mostly winter conditions), the wood in our instruments expands in moist conditions, and shrinks in dry conditions...read more
LOOKING FOR CELLOS IN THE $2000 - $7000 RANGE
No matter what cellos we have in inventory at any given time, the bulk of requests from customers comes for cellos in the above price class.
Which brings us to an oft-asked and somewhat sensitive question: how much do I have to spend to get the really great sound I want?...read more
CLIMATE & YOUR CELLO
The effect of humidity on bowed instruments is a subject that, for some reason, has been discussed publicly only recently. Resulting studies indicate that a large percentage of cracks in violin-family instruments are weather related. It certainly seems to be true of instruments that come to our shop for repairs...read more
MORE ABOUT WEATHER & YOUR CELLO
A cellist (L.H.) from Minnesota writes: I get all the stuff about humidity, in fact Im a bit over the top in keeping my cello room as close to 40% as I can. I lug literally buckets of water a day there spilling as I go and I still have two problems. 1. At least once a season, I have seams open and need to be re-glued, and 2. My strings are always too low at this time each winter and too high in August. What am I doing wrong?...read more
YOUR NEXT CELLO: OLD OR NEW
Most photographs of any great cellist include a fine old instrument, usually Italian, usually 200-300 years old. Many players come to our shop specifically to try older instruments. Often people who do buy newer cellos prefer them to be antiqued so that they at least look old. Yet there are some great makers working today: are their instruments always going to be inferior to older ones, or is the old-instrument belief a myth?...read more