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Posts posted by baroquecello

  1. I'm a cellist and I recently discovered that just a little closer makes a world of a difference to me. It solves many problems. Probably the other way round is also possible. I have relatively average fingers but a small fourth finger, relatively to the others. For cello at least, I think the length of the fingers, and the relative difference in length between the fingers, may be more of a factor of importance than their girth.

  2. To me it looks as if the varnish has been meddled with, or at least as if there is not much left of the original varnish, apart from in nooks and crannies. The pictures are very unclear, but the scroll and back: don't they look like beech, possibly?

  3. What would interest me is what was used as an alternative to hide glue. It can't be casein glue either, so could it be something starch based? A kind of wallpaper glue on steroids? I would imagine something like that to be rather fragile, on the other hand also super easy to repair.

  4. So, the cello is done getting repaired. It costed about double what I expect I could sell the it for, and, due to unforseen defects, a little more than initially planned (but not ridiculously so). It has great string response, and a deep sound on the lower three strings. I'm not too happy with the sound of the a string yet, which is bordering the shrill, but maybe something can be done about it. Currently it has a belgian bridge, a carbon fibre tail piece and an ultra-close-to-the-bridge sound post position, all of them aspects of setup that brighten the sound, so there are some possibilities for tinkering still. On the whole, I'm really happy I did it. I absolutely love playing this cello. It has been an inspiring week playing it, I don't remember last time I had so much fun practising. I'm curious how it will hold up when playing with a piano or an organ, in a couple of weeks; I'm not sure how well the sound projects. But right now, at home, I feel no need to unpack my other instruments at all. Was it a mistake to invest so much money in the restoration of such a cello? I guess I will only be able to tell for sure in a couple of years, but right now, I think it was worth every cent. I haven't played many celli that gave me this much satisfaction. 

  5. @mendicus very nice indeed. And I want to laud the idea of copieing sich an instrument!

    Would you share with us how you attached the neck? With such a small button I somehow would expect a through neck construction.

    And -this is in no way intended at a criticism of your Interpretation!- the original seems to have a back with a non-standard wood. Do you know what it is? Maybe walnut?

  6. 8 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

    Why so blue?

    Sorry! This person had asked the same question on facebook, and there I had written this reaction. But it was immediately rejected by the facebook algorythm and not displayed. I really can't figure out why. Maybe it has to do with the prominent letters S.M.?  Anyhow, I didn't feel like rewording, so when I saw this person asking here, I just copy pasted my original reaction from facebook. This is what came out.

  7. If she talked about it, she must have played one somewhere. I must emphasize that there are not only the S, M and T series, but also that they have a number after that. In my experience, the bows starting nr 6 are interesting and those below are not (I found the sound they produce very superficial). The different series (types) are minor differences compared to the numbers (quality) in my book. If you could find out which bow she tried somewhere, that would help a lot because you will know what kind of quality she expects. If she tried a nr 7 then she will be disappointed by nr 4. In any case, I would advise you to decide what quality (number) of bow you wish to get her, then contact a dealer in your vicinity, or otherwise Arcus themselves, and ask them if you could try out an M, S and T bow in that particular quality. It is fairly common that they will send you a case with three or more bows to try out, after which you pick one you like and send the others back. I would like to point out that each bow is a handmade stick, meaning that each bow will have some individual characteristics as well, so the one T6 is not the other T6. I hope that helps!
  8. I don't think one can generalise how to best select an instrument for any player. It depends on many factors, like playing level, the kind of playing environment, the ensembles one plays in, or if one plays soloistically, with or without orchestra, with piano or whatever combination.

    As a teacher (I work mainly as a teacher for beginning to intermediately advanced students), I tell my students to also not forget the optic and haptic side of the story. It is great to open your case and find something that immediately gives you a little excitement. On days that you don't feel like practising, this can really help getting in the mood! I believe this also counts for professionals. Years ago (what!?! almost decades ago!), I chose my main instrument based on quality of make and "projection". This was a mistake. The cello is really perfectly made by a living, Cremona trained maker, new vanish, a Strad model with a very elegant execution. When I see pictures of myself next to other cellists, my cello always stands out in a good way, from a distance, it looks very very elegant and beautiful, so I think the maker got many things right that others, even famous makers, do not. But when opening the case, this beauty, with its perfectly done varnish job, just doesn't appeal to me, really. It feels cold and impersonal. It doesn't fit my personality, which is messier.

    Only after considering the optics and haptics, I consider sound and here again, first it has to be something I personally like, and then I'll see how it does in a larger hall. Again taking my own main cello as an example: it sounds rather good from a distance, but under the ear it sounds rather flat and subdued. It is easy and comfortable to play, with a wolf within acceptable limits, but it is no fun to play even if it sounds good in the hall. I'm currently looking for something else, and I'm considering everything I can get my hands on, including cheap instruments. First of all I want it to be a pleasure to play, for me, because I believe I will play better when I am enjoying more.

    I rarely play in or with an orchestra, but I often play chamber music, so for me, it has to work well in a string quartet setting, or with a piano or organ (with organ is the large hall setting for me). So that is the last stage of trying out. I believe that almost any instrument can sound well in an unaccompanied solo setting, which is what most buyers try in the hall. I don't think that comparing sounds of unaccompanied instruments is very useful, as one rarely compares unaccompanied instruments in concerts. It usually is only one instrument playing, and as long as that doesn't have any obvious flaws, it is the player that will do the acoustic convincing, and if the player feels good, they will be more convincing.

    I understand this isn't really an answer to the original question...

    Edit note: the one thing I don't do is test an instrument outside. All instruments sound crappy outside, and I never play outside. I don't know if this is true scientifically speaking, but as a player I feel that in cellos, the back does quite something for the sound, especially for the players perception of it, but needs it a good floor and walls to have an impact.

  9. 5 hours ago, Flattmountain said:

    I am very interested as to where this topic goes… it so happens I have a lifetime supply of beech and nothing to do with it. 

    Beech has been used in stead of maple, often for necks and scrolls, but also for backs and ribs. By Saxons, but also by none less that del Gesù and Ruggeri. So there is a lot you could do with beech, if you like.

  10. @Giovanni Valentini or John Valentine?

    I had a cello with a construction similar to your violin in that the neck block region was much less high than the rest of the ribs. It possibly contributed to the bass bar crack in the top bout. It was resolved by making a higher top block and adding some wood to the ribs. The cello is probably central european (saxon/bohemian or so), possibly mid 19th century, so it otherwise has nothing to do with your violin.


    I agree more photos would be very interesting!

  11. Actually, to my own surprise, I quite like the way the violin looks with "white binding" (The Ficker in particular)! And I think the auction violin, as a set also including the original case and likely bow, and apart from the bow being in good condition, has some value to it.

    Thinking practically: I know a lot of cello that have heavily damaged edgework and would have benefitted from something like this. Although I could imagine the binding loosening quickly.

    Were these violins varnished after adding the binding, and was the varnish on the binding removed afterwards, or were they varnished before the binding was added?

  12. 37 minutes ago, fiddlecollector said:

    Acacia is a huge group and the specific type used by some bowmakers is usually camel thorn or giraffe thorn  ,it has various names .  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vachellia_erioloba

    it is an extremely stiff wood  often too stiff.

    As far as I know, what is used by bowmakers is usually the wood of the "false acacia" (because it actually isn't an acacia) Robinia pseudoacacia. I'll take your word for it that true acacia of the species you mention is also used. ;)

  13. If you are looking for alternative european woods for bow making: beech and larch have been used historically for baroque bows, and larch also for inexpensive modern bows. Lately, acacia (rubinia pseudoacasia) has attracted some interest, with people like Gilles Nehr using it for bows.

  14. @Wood Butcher interesting. First you say that things weren't as standardised in earlier times as they ate now (which I completely agree with) and then you say a 7/8th instrument should simply have everything proportionally smaller. Semms somewhat contradictory.

    Violas are different from celli in this respect, because the LOB influences the posture of the player much more with violas compared to celli. A large lower bout in violas makes a world of a difference for the left arm. A large lower bout in celli just requires a shorter end pin. Bout width does influence the playing of a cello somewhat, but not nearly as much as vibrating string length. And bout width is a parametre that is not measured with the LOB.

  15. @Yogic I've a cello with a rather short LOB, (can't check now how short, as it is being restored, but the restorer described it as right between 3/4 and 4/4th LOB) but the distance between the bridge and upper edge is 400 MM, which results in a neck length of 280 MM (so that the 4th position thumb placement is standard) and a vibrating string length of approx 695MM. This small bodied cello is therefore a 4/4th cello with a rather small lower bout. Cello size depends on vibrating string length primarily, because that is what influences the playing experience most. Only the string length is relevant when someone is looking for an instrument that fits a small hand. And think of electric cellos. Therefore: Size designation equals string length.

  16. I can't recommend a luthier since I am in Germany, and I also cannot help identifieing this cello. But, being a cello teacher myself, I would like to highlight the role that a cello teacher can (and in my opinion should) play in decisions like these. When it comes to sound and playability, a cello teacher can usually judge very well if its worth it getting things fixed up. With less valueable bows, it really is hit and miss. Sometimes they look good but are terrible players, and vice versa. If you can get a good player for little money, then you lucked out, and sometimes it is worth to get a really cheap bow rehaired nonetheless, if it is one of the good players. I would suspect this cello to be a nice students cello worth it being restored (especially as it looks to be in rather good condition, likely you'll only need a new set of strings, heck, the lower two may actually still be in fine playing condition). What is more important than body size (there is no standard for fractionals, and especially older instruments vary wildly in their measurements) is the vibrating string length (between bridge and upper nut). If that is a lot shorter (more than a centimetre) than on your sons current cello, you will want to consult his cello teacher beforehand as that will influence the way the left hand is used.

    So in my opinion before consulting a luthier, the cello teacher should be asked for an opinion about the equipment and if (s)he deems it good enough for the student.

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