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rainyann

Cello Fingers!

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I have recently taken up the cello. I rarely practiced until recently and now I find that I have to stop when my tip of my 4th finger hurts too much. I am using Helicore strings.

How long does it take before your fingers get used to the torture?

Thanks!

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I also got a cello recently (on May 3), but I find that the sore area is my right wrist. I find that the level of soreness is somehow related to the length of the endpin. Don't know how, but it is.

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Hi Rainy Ann,

While it might be your laft hand position, I'm thinking it very well might be the bridge. You have a C.C. Lee cello, right? My daughter's Lee cello had the bridge cut much too high. After it was cut down, the cello was much easier to play.

It seems like a high bridge would be especially hard on the fourth finger. Maybe you should visit a luthier & have him check it for you.

J.

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Yup, I have a CC Lee cello. I had in the back of my mind that the bridge might be a tad too high. I guess I will take my Mr. Lee to the luthier for an adjustment.

After practicing I see why it is always better to start off as a child when you are much less self conscience (especially in front of my son).

Thanks!

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Your fingers will eventually toughen up, too.

My cello has the same feel -- like it's stiffer or harder to push down the strings -- but the bridge height and setup checked out ok. I don't know what exactly it is. (It's a troubled cello in general... lots of problems, so any number of things could be contributing.) I used to have another cello that, in comparison, had a much "softer" feel on the fingerboard.

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So, what does your teacher say about this? You do have a teacher, right?

PS: look at how many posts we have under our names. It's like we've been here since the '80's.

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Some strings can be harder on the fingers than others. I noticed when I had Helicores on my cello that my fingers seemed to be more sore, even though I thought they had long-since toughened up. When I switched back to my other strings I didn't seem to have much of a problem. Just a thought.

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I am no expert, and I haven't tried tons of strings, as some have, so I can only say that of the strings I have tried, the Helicores seemed to be hardest on my fingers. I have known 2 or 3 other cellists who said the same, my teacher is one who doesn't like them for that and other reasons. I currently have an Evah Pirazzi A, Larsen Solo D, and Obligato G&C on my cello, and they seem to be fine. Before that I had used Larsen A&D, and Permanent G&C almost exclusively, and at one time, Spirocore G&C, which all seemed to be fine, too. Perhaps the string gauge may also have something to do with your fingers being sore, if they are the heavy gauge. Your fingers will toughen up before long, in any case. It will probably take at least 4-5 weeks of playing before that happens. Good luck with the cello, it's great fun!

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Hey Rainy

My Lee also was set up high. I think that might be shop policy, enabling you to have it adjusted to fit. I had my bridge lowered, as well as the nut. In addition, the soundpost was somewhat misplaced, and I had another one put in. Now its fine to play and sounds great.

So, if you have not had the setup checked, you definitely need to. Lee's shop builds very nice instruments, but they do not set them up well - common among luthiers.

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Rainyann,

Your 4th finger will always be the one hurting sooner than the others, particularly if you are accustomed violin - that is, until you start playing Dvorak Concerto or Piatti Caprices, then your thumb will feel like it is falling off. The A string height shouldn't be much more than 6.5mm, particularly for a beginner who is a 'violin convert', and the C string will hurt you most of all because of it's large surface area. The downward pressure required for playing cello is significantly different than the more diagonal pressure for violin, and given the much, much longer string length, the pressure is obviously not only greater to depress, but to hold in place. Keep at it - get those cello callouses developed!! Just think, one day you'll be able to take out cookies from the oven without a mitt just using the fingertips of your left hand!! (the tricky part is balancing it on your fingertips with your thumb callous, though...)

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Thanks to everyone for the tips! I am over 60, picking up cello, and struggling with finger tip numbness, questioning if this old body will be able to meld with the cello. I played violin thru high school and then put it down for many many years. I have hope for the cello after reading this thread!

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BeckiSue,

Get a copy of Victor Sazer's book "New Directions in Cello Playing." It is full of good information on how to play a cello. I have never really stopped playing cello since I started 71 years ago, but I did slow down a lot and when I got involved as cellist in a weekly piano trio 20-some years ago I realized I had sort of forgot some of the things I had learned - all I had left was "instinct." Sazer's book set me straight - fortunately my instincts had been correct, but it was great to have them confirmed. (I was also a violinist for 10 years before taking up cello - still am - viola too.)

One good trick to remember is to have your fingers come at each string from the right of the string rather than from above. It is not necessary to suppress a string all the way to the fingerboard, especially as you go far up (i.e., down toward the bridge) the fingerboard. I learned that was the way from this book - but apparently my fingers had remembered it.

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22 hours ago, BeckiSue said:

Thanks to everyone for the tips! I am over 60, picking up cello, and struggling with finger tip numbness, questioning if this old body will be able to meld with the cello. I played violin thru high school and then put it down for many many years. I have hope for the cello after reading this thread!

It might boost your spirits to read the book Never Too Late by John Holt: https://smile.amazon.com/Never-Too-Late-Musical-Story/dp/0201567636/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=John+Holt+Never+too+late&qid=1595341790&sr=8-2

Holt took up the cello in middle age and writes about the experience.  He discovered how rewarding it was that he described it as his soul work.

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