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Sound different near fingerboard vs. near bridge.


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I happened to play a cello the other day and it had this behavior I've never encountered and don't recall ever hearing about before. On the A, D and C strings, it was possible to play in first through fourth positions with the bow near the fingerboard or near the bridge, loud or soft, and the way the strings reacted to the bow and the generated sound was normal (in my experience).

If you played near the bridge on the G string, then everything was fine. If you played in first position on the G string near the fingerboard then still everything seemed normal. However, if you played any note in fourth position near the fingerboard on the G string, the character of the sound was drastically different, soft, muffled and stuttery like a wolf note but worse. The cello does have a slightly noticeable F wolf in 4th position on the G string but nearer the bridge it is manageable. Near the fingerboard, all the notes in 4th position are bad but the F is yet worse.

Any idea what would cause something like this? (Tried another G string of the same brand and got the same behavior.)

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What you're describing is typical wolf note behavior. When playing near the bridge you apply more pressure which reduces wolf note action etc.

To confirm this play the same notes all the way up on the C string, if you experience the same phenomenon then it's definitely the wolf note


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On the half dozen cellos I've played where I explored for a wolf, the wolf usually affected only one note but sometimes if it were between notes you would get some affect on the neighboring notes. I've always been able to minimize this wolf behavior with soundpost adjustments, wolf suppressors, knee pressure, tailgut adjustments and/or more bow pressure.

So, I guess it is possible this experience isn't typical but all I can report is my observations that in my experience the classic wolf issues on this cello responded to the normal sorts of wolf treatment. This G string, 4th position, near fingerboard issue was not really affected much by any of these things and feels qualitatively different than a wolf. Can there be two wolfs where one is on all 5 notes from D-F#?

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