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  1. I've been lurking on this site for the past few months as I have done a complete rebuild on my cello - which I purchased on craigslist for $250 last Summer. I'm an engineer by education and have been taking things apart and putting them back together my whole life. After doing an initial set up, I wasn't happy with the sound, especially of the D string. I started with carving a new bridge, and have since carved 4 more, always trying to improve my skills. I tried different sound post positions taking notes about how it affected the sound. I then researched fingerboard undercutting and tap toning of the fingerboard itself - I finally got up enough courage to pull the fingerboard and relieve the back side - originally it was very rough, carved by a team of beavers, most likely. The instrument got better and better as I did this work but still wasn't even as good as some of the shop German cellos I played in local Portland shops. It became obvious to me that the plates were way too thick so I took a deep dive at platetuning.org and read every article I could find. After taking the instrument apart twice, I eventually came to realize that "free plate tuning" is not the final answer but fixed plate tuning (I ended up building a jig for the belly to hold the edges in place), worked really well and helped my focus on thinning the areas that needed attention. After my second regraduation session, the cello really started to sound great - better than anything I could find in shops up to $20K. I replaced the bass bar as well - ended up using a reverse triangle, Christian Bayon style, without the cut outs between the bass bar and the belly. I'm well aware of how resonance / stiffness works - the more weight away from the fulcrum, the lower the resonance frequency, and the stiffer the material at or near the fulcrum, the higher the resonance frequency - so it's therefore possible to both raise or lower the natural frequency of a fingerboard. Anyway, I digress. Nothing I mentioned above is all that interesting and certainly not unique other than tuning plates with jigs which doesn't seem to get enough recognition. I'm posting today because I decided to remove all that nasty sprayed on finish and recoat the instrument with what I think is likely a unique approach, at least not one that I have read about yet. Several years ago, in partnership with a Portland, OR based manufacturer of specialty coatings, I designed a wood finish for exterior decking and siding - usable on both hardwoods and softwoods (novausawood.com is my company and the product is ExoShield). We wanted to create something that would outlast all the Linseed Oil / Vegetable Oil based coatings that do not perform well in exterior conditions. We use only Pure Tung Oil from China, in a mix of polymerized and unpolymerized (we add some accelerators to the mix to help the overall finish dry quicker); then we add UV blockers, a fungicide, transparent iron oxides and just enough low VOC solvent to help it penetrate. It's technically a phenolic resin not an alkyd resin. We make this stuff in clear as well as 6 different colors. After reading about ground coats and how it can affect the sound of the instrument, I decided to give my Tung oil formula a try. I laid down a couple thin layers of clear on the entire instrument and then laid down a couple thin layers of a 50/50 blend of Mahogany and Walnut with a little added transparent dye from Rockler - I used the TransTint brand. I lightly wet sanded between all coats. The finish dries quickly - within 12 hours in 80-90 degree heat; remember it's made from polymerized Tung oil and has added drying accelerators. After working on this refinishing for the past week or so, I finally did initial testing last night. I was absolutely blown away by how much more beautiful my cello sounded. Gorgeous overtones, no harshness, long ring time. I still intend to do a French polish to finish off the instrument so I think it might brighten up a bit more. I started playing around 8:30 pm last night and just couldn't put the instrument down until well after 11 pm.
  2. Hi everyone, Topics about octave violas have appeared on this forum in the past, such as Viola to Chin Cello and "Octave Violin" & "Octave Viola"; however what is now available on the market appears to have changed. I have a Yamaha SVV-200K with a vibrating string length of 373 mm, which the Electric Violin Shop modified for me to be able to play on the Super Sensitive Sensicore Octave Viola strings and tuned exactly like a cello. Initially these strings were fine; however within months, they would repetively snap by themselves inside the case (either at the ball end or the peg end) unless I loosened them a few tones down during storage. I did subsequently have the octave viola examined by two different local luthiers here; the second who further smoothed out the grooves in case the strings were being pinched and resulting in breakage. Although Super Sensitive kindly sent me free replacements, they did snap and I currently have one full spare set and a spare C and D string. I had a look for alternatives online. D'Addario only makes octave violin strings. From memory I found these 1/10 cello strings online, but quite frankly they are rubbish to play on and the vibrating string length is too long for my octave viola. These 1/16 cello strings were even longer than the 1/10 cello strings; hence I didn't even try them on. Any tiny adjustments either via the pegs or fine tuners results in an unusually large change in the pitch of the string. Without any viable options left, my octave viola was left sitting in the case unplayed for several years. Recently having started practising regularly on my acoustic viola, I curiously decided to check out the current market situation for octave viola options. The Sensicore options have seemingly completely disappeared from Super Sensitive's product catalogue, which makes me wonder if they have been discontinued. Larsen recently released their Aurora line of cello strings, the smallest size which is 1/16 with a vibrating string length of 420 mm (this information was accidentally omitted from their information PDF; hence I had to ask them via e-mail what the vibrating string length was). Currently I have e-mailed Pirastro and Larsen to see if they can make custom extra small cello strings with a vibrating string length of 373 mm, but I have yet to hear from them. I figured it would be cheaper to get custom strings rather than a custom-made large electric viola with a vibrating string length of 420 mm. I can probably play a massive viola since I have long arms and fingers though, but I have not seen any viola in Australia thus far that is bigger than my acoustic viola. Or as my friend says, just buy a good, old fashioned cello and learn how to play it, hahaha! Does anyone else here have any tips or ideas? 16 March 2021 Jargar has replied saying they were unable to help. D'Addario replied saying that they have actually acquired Super Sensitive and there are currently discussions on which strings they will continue manufacturing. I have yet to hear back from Larsen, Pirastro or Thomastik.
  3. Aside from being converted from a viola de gamba by Stradivari, the adjustable neck is very interesting. Can some one explain how this works? http://collections.nmmusd.org/Cellos/Stradivari/10845StradCelloViol.html
  4. I just got a new bridge for my Montagnana cello yesterday and I'm finding out that the height between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge is 7.5mm at the A string and 10mm at the C string. I have Jargar medium gauge strings on the A and D and Spirocore, tungsten wound (also medium gauge) on the G and C. Aside from the string height, the my cello sounds much more beautiful with the new bridge and the only problem is the facility to play it. Should I bring it back to the guy who worked on my cello or just learn to live with the high strings?
  5. Yellow-gold cello LOB 74.5; 31.5 upper; 21.3 mid; 41.6 lower. Proportions a little like the Feuerman/ de Munck, except longer back. So the pattern looks extremely narrow waisted. The only place I think I have seen this color is on Tyrolean or German violins. It has a naive hand-drawn label saying Giovanni Dollenz Trieste 1850. Ideas much appreciated. Thank you in advance... (the neck has to be repaired, not attached in the pictures)
  6. Hi everyone, I need your help Recently I purchased a cello and I would like to know more of its origin. I did try to find some info about the make but I couldn't find anything except that the maker had made some Viola D'Amores. Although the label is most probably fake, because it does not coincide with the years of the maker's life. However, would be great if someone can help me to identify where and approximately when the cello was made Thank you I attached some pictures below
  7. Hi there I have recently purchased a refurbished cello from a reputable maker/luthier. The purchase was long distance, so I didn’t have the opportunity to see and try before purchase. The price of the instrument included a rather expensive total strip and re varnish,polish of the entire instrument charged at an hourly professional rate. ( total of 28 hours) The cello arrived packed with the bridge down and I could see the dark old bridge marks on the cello top. The varnish also smelled more like the old furniture that has been in a house for some time. I have no idea what new varnish should smell like. Is it likely that in fact this work was not done? I have no objection for paying for work like this that has been done, as it is probably very labour intensive. Many thanks.
  8. I've been asked to fit a set of cello fine tune pegs. I have fitted Wittner violin pegs on occasions , work fine but they protrude (pegbox to collar) more than the standard distance As they are very pricey does anyone have any experience of how well they last or which makes are best? Wittner, Knilling and Peghead seem to be the only makes around. Any comments gratefully received! Keith
  9. I had a few questions about this cello. First of all, has anyone ever heard one (not heard of)? Would this classify as a fairly well-built American cello? Ebony insert/purfling on the neck, or is that just an inked line (probably)? And, is there any benefit to the lining construction? https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F264676299826
  10. Hi all, I am currently looking to purchase a new cello. I'd like to gather some opinions on the instrument (can someone let me know how to upload photos?) and its authenticity. I am a player myself and know relatively little about makers and origins. It has rather large F-holes and a beautiful one-piece back (maple). The label reads: "Joannes Valletianus fecit Matrito anno 1799". Has anyone heard of this maker or seen and of his work? The varnish is mainly orange with hints of deeper red. The varnish on back is slightly harder and shinier. The back length is 752 mm. It has a fantastic sound (very rich and deep bass. Recently performed it alongside a G.B. Gabrielli instrument - the sound qualities were similar). I will post photos as soon as I understand how. Thanks a lot!
  11. Hello MN. I've been making several violins and but non of cello. Having lot of time in the house during this period of COVID-19, I decided to start making my first cello that I haven't tried. I thought sharing the process of my work here would motivate me to keep work. Since i'm still in the leaning process of violinmaking, please excuse clumsy skills and I hope there would be not many harsh criticism. but any constructive feedback will be always appreciated. and since english is not my mother language, tell me if there is anything that you don't understand. Although most job on the head and ribs has been done, I just bowsawed the plates so still long way to go. The model I follow is Stradivari "Feuernann,1730. It has quite narrow width of upper and lowe bout compared to standard stradivari cello. according to Tarisio... Length of back: 74.6 cm Upper bouts: 32.7 cm Lower bouts: 41.9 cm
  12. Hi, I had my endpin without a rubber tip, all the way retracted into the cello, and had knocked the sharp tip on the floor straight down, making a loud cracking noise on my floor. Could this have damaged the cello in any way? Thanks!
  13. Good day everyone, i decided to pickup the cello about a month ago. i quit smoking and was looking for a reward/ distraction. Ive played electric bass off and on for 20 years. I purchased a super cheap cello on eBay and im in love. Tuning this new instrument has proven to be a pain. getting accustomed to the friction tuners is a struggle. I used my tuner that i have for my basses and guitars. Then i downloaded a tuner app and then another. All three are giving me different results. any advice on a specific tuner/ app that works best for cello. Im about to download a tone generator so i can just match the notes. any advice is greatly appreciated, john
  14. Hi! I am new to this forum and thought I would get some insight on a cello! I bought this cello maybe a 1.5 years ago from a man who had it in his attic for a while, does not remember how it was acquired or that he even had it in his attic. It did not come with a case and was in very bad condition (my guess due to extreme temperatures in attic). The varnish is completely gone, there are cracks on the front of the cello, roughed up sides, scratches all over, and the seams on the side & where the neck meets the base were open, etc. Clearly this cello was not cared for at all, additionally, someone had "defiled" & engraved a name on the back of the cello and a number (why that was done, I do not know). I had some repairs done but not all due to time. I changed the pegs, tailpiece, and bridge ( bridge in photo is just temporary until I get one made for this cello) Inside the cello, there is a label that reads "ARRIGO TIVOLI FIORINI ALLIEVO E NIPOTE DI GIUSEPPE FIORINI FECE in SAN REMO anno 1961" However, reading previous posts, the writing on the label seems to be a bit blurry, almost as if it was written with a sharpie, which makes me doubt that this is an authentic ATF cello. I tried to google this maker but not much came up except for a few verified auctioned violas, violins and one cello, all made within a 1920-1965 span. I have included a lot pictures and would love to know what you guys think! Even if it isn't original, could it still be Italian? If not, I would appreciate if you guys could help me figure out the origins of where this cello was made based on design of the cello or type of wood used! Thanks!
  15. I blame Philip I live in an area with a dearth of instruments. Every now and then I see what's available in the neighbourhood. This is currently the only cello on offer. Is it a stripped Markie? Back looks nice. Cracks on the front concerning. Set-up looks questionable?
  16. Hello all! This very interesting Gaetano Pareschi 5 string cello made its way into my shop for repairs and consignment. Of note of course are the folk art additions most assuredly not by the maker. Any idea how additions like that would impact the value of a piece like this? Anyway, something you don't see every day, thought I'd share!
  17. What are your favorite things you've heard a luthier say? My favorite was when one day I was showing an instrument of mine to luthier Nick Frirsz. He looked it over for several minutes with a rather inquisitive expression and said: "Well, it's pretty cool. It was made by someone, who was sitting next to someone, who knew what they were doing." I got a big kick out of this and will never forget it. I still have the instrument, which has since been restored and is really quite exceptional, and I think about that line all the time.
  18. I haaaate ripples along the grain in cello ribs. The ribs I bent are supposedly all from the same chunk of tree, so I don't understand why some of them got the strong wrinkle and some not at all. Makes me want to blame the wood rather than my technique. So I guess my question has two parts: 1. Looking at unbent ribs, are there any signs that can tell if one's going to be a ripple-prone rib? Is it variation in grain? Did I thickness unevenly? Does it have something to do with seasoning? 2. Does anyone have some technique tips to share on minimizing the ripple? Photo comparing the two C-bouts below.... one has a nasty wrinkle and one does not, though they are from the same piece of wood. (This is my first cello.)
  19. Hello, my name is Jim Biggs, I'm a student in the violin-making program at Indiana University. I'm starting my first cello, using the Strad poster for the Montagnana Sleeping Beauty. I have some questions for Maestronet members who've built cellos based on the Sleeping Beauty. 1) Scaling off the poster, I get 32.5mm for the top arching and 30 for the back. I've read the Sleeping Beauty has a lot of distortion in the back and possibly in the top, do you use these measurements? 2) The high points for both top and back seem to have migrated toward the tailpiece. Do you center the high points in the middle of the long arch? 3) To gain clearance in the wide C-bouts, do you raise the overstand or projection? What measurements do you use? 4) Do you prefer maple or poplar? What difference do these two woods make to the sound? 5) Do you have a preferred bridge type, French or Belgian? Favorite strings? 6) Do you have a Montagnana model that you prefer to the Sleeping Beauty? 7) Does anyone know who currently owns the Sleeping Beauty? Any other bits of information regarding this model would be greatly apprecitated. Many thanks, Jim Biggs
  20. I’d appreciate any insight you can lend about this instrument. I’m a lawyer but have a performance degree from Cleveland State and play with the Johnstown Symphony, which is a small orchestra with a $500k budget. I’m sure I’ll continue to play throughout my career, and am now on the board of trustees and players committee. I share that background because it relates to my perspective. My high school teacher (cello professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania) is selling this instrument for $17,000. I was her last student and we have a “Tuesdays with Morrie” type of mentor relationship. She bought it in 1979 from a dealer in Cleveland, but has no papers. She thinks it was played in The Cleveland Orchestra. I’ve contacted Donald Rosenberg (former music critic of The Cleveland Orchestra) and the current TCO archivist, neither of whom recognized it. There has been a photo posted of it in their hall for some time, with no luck. The only label inside is from a 1979 restoration by Kolstein & Sons in NY. It was restored by Fred Oster’s shop in Philadelphia last summer, which believes it to be at least as old as the 18th century. My former teacher from The Cleveland Orchestra was complimentary of its sound and said it is every bit as good as his backup (to his regular Forster instrument) that he plays on tour. I contacted a well known appraiser in Philadelphia who isn’t interested in appraising it and did not like the instrument, and had no idea where it was made and suggested that any value is speculative. He also does not believe it was ever played in The Cleveland Orchestra, at least under Szell. Terry Carlin in Cleveland said that it has had a lot of work (more than average for its age, which is unknown) but that the work was done well. It is 28.5”/73cm long. 13”/32cm wide (point to point) across the upper bout. 16”/41cm wide at the lower boot. I’d be grateful for any additional guidance you could lend, suggestions of an appraiser in the Pittsburgh/Cleveland/Philadelphia area. I’m willing to travel to learn more. Just at a loss as to what to do where the origin and value are so unknown. I feel like $17,000 may be a good price if all we know is that it is old. But it’s also tough to spend so much on such an unknown. Thanks very much. Brad Holuta IMG_0108.MOV
  21. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2020-07-22/the-mystery-of-a-stolen-rare-cello-has-a-surprise-ending The image revealed the luthier’s label, visible through one of the curlicued f-holes. Across it was a note inscribed in the feathery pen of the master himself: Pour la petite Comtesse Marie 1834. “For the little Countess Marie.” “I could hardly believe it,” she recalled. The cello had been given to her as a child by her father; nearly 40 years earlier, it had been stolen. Custom-made for the daughter of a French aristocrat two centuries ago, it was a spectacular, rare one-eighth-size cello produced by Bernardel, protégé of Nicolas Lupot, violin maker to King Louis XVIII. Bernardel’s craftsmanship earned him renown as among the finest string instrument makers in France.....
  22. I was planning on buying some gut strings for one of my cellos. Does anyone here have a particular pair of gut strings they would recommend? They could be pure gut or gut core strings.
  23. Does anyone out there in internetland recognize this music or is it just a cello improv? I’d like to find the sheet music if possible. Oh, and the fellow (Vincent) is super funny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUaZSVcD7UI&lc=z223vnjzusbjep0rz04t1aokgnmubovgd2klfwjadlx4bk0h00410
  24. Looking for some guidance here, label says Paul Bailly but it looks German.. Sorry the photos are not more clear! Taken from a listing. Thanks in advance.
  25. Hi All advice on good string combinations
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