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Tazling

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  1. I will not deny being somewhat out of my depth -- no brutality needed :-) OTOH I do own 2 vernier calipers, one digital, one analog. So I can remove an existing peg and build a pretty accurate model of it. (Step 1). Since I live on a remote island, 2 ferries away from the nearest town which I'm pretty sure doesn't have a luthier just popping over to the luthier shop is not really an option (the nearest pro I know of is a day's travel away). This is one reason why I'm still thinking about it and not rushing in all enthusiastic and underprepared :-) I understand the installation requirement (having read the Wittner install guides a few times) so my next move will be to pull one peg, get out the calipers, and get those accurate measurements to see whether their pegs will work at all. Busy right now with other projects :-) but will report back if I ever get anywhere with this idea. I do appreciate everyone's advice and info, many thanks!
  2. Thanks for the warnings and advice! I ran across a blog of a guy with a 1/8 cello who found that one size of the Wittners just fit perfectly out of the box, but maybe he just got lucky... Wittner also provides templates for shims (made of very fine sandpaper) to fit their Finetunes into just slightly oversize holes, so there's a bit of wiggle room there (so to speak) without going full-on luthier. I'll do my measuring very carefully before ordering anything!
  3. I am seriously thinking of installing Wittner Finetune pegs on a 1/10 Eastman cello. Foolishly I initlally assumed that all tuning pegs were of a standard size (I mean, they all look very similar). So I was surprised to learn that they come in many different diameters and even different tapers. Cello pegs differ from violin pegs in taper. Viola pegs are thicker than violin pegs. And most charts of peg sizes don't even mention 1/8 and 1/10 scale cellos. So hmmm. Any thoughts on which size of peg is most likely to match a 1/10 Eastman kiddie cello pegbox? Alternately, what dimension on the pegbox could I measure that would offer a clue? If anyone's already done this (to make tuning easier for kiddie hands) on the same size instrument I would love to know which Finetunes worked for you!
  4. So @baroquecello -- you feel strings for small frac instruments have improved a lot over the last decade? That would be good news. I did think about violas played vertically... but had read some reports that it's hard to keep them from twisting when bowing, because the body is just a little skinny for really gripping with thighs or knees. I will have a look at the "tenor violin" though, which sounds very attractive.... (googles)... oh, ouch, out of my price range. But if I like the kiddie cello enough to move up someday, the tenor violin might be a good "cadillac" upgrade. Not being a pro, I find over $2K for an instrument is pretty daunting :-) Meanwhile I know a string instrument shop in Ontario (I'm in Canada) that has been excellent in the past, so I think I'll talk to them about an Eastman kiddie setup. Maybe I'll get lucky and score one used :-)
  5. First off, let me admit that I'm a grownup, that I started off playing fiddle (with no ambitions, just for pleasure) and then had to back away from it due to shoulder/neck problems (a long story). I also found the treble sound very shrill and a bit unpleasant up close. I tried building an octave fiddle from a cheapie large-body violin, and that was easy on the ear... but still physically painful. I then tried the cello, which was way more comfortable, but a lot more work :-) and not portable. I spend a lot of my summer on a small sailboat, where a cello would be definitely de trop and at some risk of injury. That's when I have the most leisure time to practise and learn new tunes. So I became interested in "lap cello" instruments like gambas -- but they are very specialised and quite expensive... except for Ebay-from-China gamba-shaped-objects which I'd be scared to buy unseen. (Unless someone here has a solid recommendation for a particular seller.) Gradually I came around to scale celli for kiddies, like a 1/10 Euro (a bit bigger than a viola -- maybe comparable to a viola pomposa?). The dimensions seem fairly comfortable and I think I could play it sitting in a chair or crosslegged, like the erhu and some other bowed Eurasian instruments. I don't care much about playing with other people, so tuning is not that critical; I could pick any pitch to get the best tone, and still read as if violin-tuned (not having perfect pitch is sometimes a blessing). A kiddie cello is attractive partly because it's a standard (not exotic) instrument, available in various price ranges, usually not too spendy because it's only a student instrument. They are easy to find, and even fairly easy to find used. So far so good. But the next problem is strings. None of this will be worth while, and I won't want to play, if it sounds awful. I have read a few forum posts that suggest the standard strings installed for child learners are pretty bad -- muddy, too heavy for the small instrument. But what alternatives are there? the Euro 1/10 cello seems to have a vibrating string length unlike any other. The obvious alternative would be viola strings, but... seems like even the full 16.5 viola string would be too short. Alto gamba seems about right for length, but those are fairly rare, expensive, and most I have seen are all-gut (oh dear, high maintenance). I'm just a giddy amateur, very casual (as you can tell) -- the very opposite of expert in any of this stuff. If anyone can reassure me that 4/4 viola strings do indeed fit, say, an Eastman or Stentor or Hoffman 1/10 kiddie cello, then I may have the courage to pursue acquiring one. Or if you have a source for steel core gamba strings. Or if you have some other string that would suit... You are also, of course, free to ROTFL and tell me this whole idea is ridiculous :-) But in my own defence: I am not quite alone in my madness. I was inspired by http://cello.godiskind.com/2010/04/18-cello/ -- someone whose relationship with music seems similar to my own. I could, actually, blindly follow his recipe for strings (http://cello.godiskind.com/2010/10/strings-strings-strings/) but he was using a 1/8 instrument not 1/10, which might change things slightly. And besides... it's always better to get multiple opinions. Insights, warnings, hoots of skeptical laughter or viola jokes all welcome :-)
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