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Up-Bow

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  1. Thank you, Jakob, I hope I got this right. Else, please let me know. Update: Seems two posts is the limit per day, so find below the right photos in this edit. Sorry for the confusion, I thought button was another term for some part of the end pin subassembly. Thank you, Shelbow.
  2. Thank you all for your very helpful replies. I feel more confident in my understanding of the options and what might be reasonable expectations (with all the caveats mentioned in your posts) and I'll make sure to discuss in depth with my next luthier. While I can't say what happened prior to 15 years ago that I acquired this cello, it has been a very stable instrument and hasn't shown any sign of creep with the passage of time (see string height measurements in my original post -and they all remain constant) and doesn't go out of tune either when left for considerable periods of time. I just measured again the string height with very low string tension (=out of tune) and when fully tuned at 440Hz and the difference was 1mm (6.5mm vs 7.5mm for the A-string), so I suppose this is the actual elastic compliance of the instrument. My feeling is 1mm of elastic deflection under full tension is normal -or please let me know otherwise. Of course it remains a question why the projection was low in the first place, so I am posting a few more pictures in case they might provide some insight.
  3. I'll appreciate some good advice on the following problem, see following schematic. Cello is very stable dimensionally and in terms of sound, have had it for 15 years, bought it used from another musician and according to its label is 1897 French instrument, although may be a 70's knock off. Beautiful sound and aesthetics, so history doesn't matter. Wood is in excellent condition, no distortions, creep, humidity problems etc and sound is consistent. Main flaw was what seems to be an original construction defect: The neckpiece projects too low onto the bridge. It had been bypassed by considerable trimming of the bridge, but with the usual downsides (see "original condition", thin black line shows theoretical optimal geometry, red lines how real situation, green numbers show string height for A-string, which was comfortable to play at 5mm). So I decided to bring it in for a substantial repair to place an all-new bridge and adjust the neck/ fingerboard as needed. The luthier I took it to replaced the bridge, kept the neck as it was, introduced a thin wedge to raise the fingerboard and delivered the instrument in a pretty unplayable state, with the strings far too high above the fingerboard. I measured A at 8mm. Forgetting the issue with the string height for a moment, the thickness at the neck has increased to a point that playing in the 5-6th positions is difficult and awkward. So even the thin wedge was not a good idea. Now she proposes to plane the fingerboard, making the neck thinner and lower the bridge for a few millimeters. In fact that's going to amount to several mm off the bridge (working out the projections, I estimate about 7-8mm minimum). I think these interventions are coming back full circle to the original condition, more or less, while turning a pretty instrument into Frankenstein's monster. Considering other red flags, such as two scratched(!) crosses on the top sounding board to mark the location of the bridge (admittedly an accident, but still...), advice such as "play on the instrument and see how it will settle" (which is fine, but not with an A string height of 8mm to hurt one's hand...), and overall attitude of not caring about the result, quality or the client's experience, I am certainly moving on to another luthier. But this is not why I made this post: At this point I am thinking that I should a) have the wedge removed (clearly this intervention created some new problems and did not solve the original problem -it's clear that it cannot without making the neck unacceptably thick) and to instead b) reset the neck, to allow both a proper projection of the fingerboard onto the bridge and a comfortable string height simultaneously. I like the new bridge and don't want to shave it off (except for a couple of mm for fine adjustments that may be needed at the end of any other major intervention). Money is not the issue; mostly I'd like to preserve the beautiful original aesthetics and playability of my instrument and its newfound sound projection. I am looking for a clean, elegant solution. This recent luthier refused to reset the neck, saying that this intervention might also fail (i.e. might still result in high strings, in spite of accurate measurement prior to and during the intervention), but I'd like to get some neutral opinions, so that I can know better what to expect and articulate what I want to my next luthier with confidence. Is it not possible for a luthier with skill and care to pull it off well? I'll appreciate the kind input from anyone who might like to share.
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