Cello poor sounding D


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Hello,

my first cello lacks of power in the D string. I tried different strings and I could have better sound but still it sounds like muted in this string. On the other way, the others three are quite resonant and rich. Some good player told me that D string is often problematic on new and even old cellos.

The cello is a montagnana model, full and high archings. I use spirocore tungsten for C and G, Thomastik Gold for D and larssen A.

Do you have any experience on this? Any tips on bridge, sound post or tailpiece to deal with this?

Thank you very much

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Hello,

my first cello lacks of power in the D string. I tried different strings and I could have better sound but still it sounds like muted in this string. On the other way, the others three are quite resonant and rich. Some good player told me that D string is often problematic on new and even old cellos.

The cello is a montagnana model, full and high archings. I use spirocore tungsten for C and G, Thomastik Gold for D and larssen A.

Do you have any experience on this? Any tips on bridge, sound post or tailpiece to deal with this?

Thank you very much

What style of bridge are you using?

Quite often with a new cello it can be a good idea just to leave it strung to tension for a couple of weeks or ideally more to settle in before making assessments of how it plays or how to adjust the set up. You might find that the problem solves itself by doing this. If it's already been strung for a decent period of time maybe try a bridge with a more Belgian style of cut if not done already.

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I never tried Tomastik Gold strings, so can't say wether or not that could be the reason, but as you say you tried several, will assume that it is not. My cello is very unbalanced when it has a french bridge on. The g string just is over resonant with a french bridge (I had three different ones made!), uncontrollable, while the other strings are somewhat pale. A belgian bridge gave the whole cello more power and the problem with the g string has disappeared completely. Bridges can make a huge difference. Before running to the lutier, check if yours is straight, not bent (if it is, you can straighten it by by holding it in steam and then bending carefully (!) by hand or with something that can excert a little pressure. Also, if the d string dug into the bridge that may have a negative effect on the way the string reacts.

That said, in some cases it can be a soundpost issue too. Or you could try Warchal brilliant strings. I think the top two are great, (the g is good, I didn't much like the c, but the top two should combine well with spirocore) and the d has slightly more power than in most other sets, I think. They might take time to get used to as they are synthetic strings (but definately the best synthetic strings on the market for cello). I would NOT recommend to only try a d string as it will probably not mix well with a steel a string.

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I think that you should put on a Larsen D, as Mike says. I have found that this combination of strings can leave the first octave on the A string a bit 'strangled'. If so, try a silver Spiro G - this usually frees up the top end, and makes the cello much more easily ballanced.

I think that a nicely cut French bridge is good for most cellos (and Cellists). The Quality and beauty of the sound can be compromised by a Belgian bridge, and with a broad Montagnana model there should be no shortage of volume and 'grunt'.

I try to make the legs long, by taking as little as possible off the bridge blank when fitting the feet, and by trimming the 'ankles' down to get nicely shaped feet. This leaves the body of the bridge a bit smaller, which I suppose is a 'nod' towards Belgium.

Congrats on your first cello. May there be many more.

Conor

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It is true that oftentimes french bridges offer a little more richness in sound. However, there are many possibilities between the two, "belgianising" french bridges or "frenching" belgian bridges is not uncommon at all. Have a look at this website, it offers many bridge blanks which are mixes of belgian and french bridges.

I do think the larsen d is not a very strong sounding d string at all, so I kind of doubt that will solve the problem. I've looked a bit for Thomastik Gold as I had never heard of it, and the only thing I found is Thomastik Belcanto Gold, which I assume is what you are talking about. They are generally regarded as loud strings, as far as I know (but no personal experience here), so I don't think changing it to larsen will help a lot. Doesn't hurt to try ofcourse, apart from that it costs.

Edit note: I missed that it is a cello built by yourself and that you are a lutier, not a cellist. I guess much of what I said must be known to you then, especially as you are located in newark, I am assuming you are being educated there to be a lutier.

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A lot of info, as always, many many thanks!!!

I have now a french bridge, but yes I could have left longer feet as belgian. I will try next. I have a larsen D, it seems to sound more or less same muted, may be little more sound quality. Sound post seems to be ok, since other three strings have very good volume and quality, but I will try move soundpost north, just tu try.

Many thanks again.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/442/p1000857s.jpg/

This is the cello, before changin all larsen set of strings, as you see :)

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If the D sounds muted, try a Pirastro Permanent D for increased clarity of sound.

I always recommend medium gauge Spirocore tungsten for the C and G, and heavy gauge Jargar for the A and D (or heavy gauge Jargar superior for those who want an even more soloistic tone); when someone has a muted D string in need of more clarity and focus, I recommend a Pirastro Permanent D or a Kaplan Solutions D; when someone wants a D string with more breadth of tone providing a better transition between A and G, I recommend the D'Addario Helicore. Nobody's been dissatisfied with my recommended sets to date...

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If you get on the Internet Cello Society blog, which is a good place to look for cello issues, you will discover that many people venture on a quest to fix a bad cello by finding the ideal string combination. From my observation, it does not give satisfactory results, and you will easily spend a $1000. Usually, it is better to get another cello.

As usual on these blogs, we know nothing about you, your instrument, and your level of expertise on instrument adjustment. My suggestion is to take the instrument to a shop in which there is a luthier that plays the cello.

Mike D

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What can make huge differences is what gauges of strings you take, and then especially if you take several strings of a different gauge. I don't agree with Brian Lee's advise, tending to higher tensions as a rule for solving a lack of power. Though it could work for specific instruments, higher tension is not necessarily going to help. My modern cello functions best with strings that have a somewhat lower tension overall. And no, it is not less loud or projecting or thin sounding, rather the opposite. High tension works muting on that instrument. This could be the case for this cello too. The difference can really be so big that buying a different instrument is not necessary.

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Higher tension will not help unless it's paired with a good soundpost setup, it also doesn't work for all players or all instruments. What I find is that higher tension strings on the treble side of the bridge seem to exert a bit more pressure on the soundpost, making the soundpost fit slightly tighter without changing the position of the post itself. As someone who plays with a very tight post setup (as do the greater majority of the players I know) that is something that I personally like, and that most other people seem to like that I suggest it to. (On violin and viola, I use a medium gauge set of strings, with a high tension top string.) I do find that there are some people who prefer a looser setup, but that they are in the minority of the people I'm acquainted with.

I stand by my previous recommendation of the Pirastro Permanent D.

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Hi,

Mike, I finished my studies at Newark School of Violin Making, and still play DB in a professional orchestra, where I gained the post in 2003, you can have a look here OSPA. We closed the season last week, with the cellis TRULS MORK playing dvorak, by the way

MY cello was SLIGHTY :D worse than his Montagnana, but I would not say mine is a bad cello

I´m still learning, of course in violin making but also in double bass playing. I hope this learning last many many years, life would be really boring for me if not!!! :D . Setup is very complicated world, I agree.

The cello D string is getting better with all advices I read here, I hope will a little playing D is going to be at same level of other stings.

thanks!!!

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If the soundpost can't force the D when moved, put the bridge under full tension and then tap the treble foot of the bridge in a hair or two with the handle of a tool. Don't let the bass foot move. As minor adjustments go, it can increase the pressure on your center strings and give them a little more voice.

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the only thing this thread proves is that if you have a problem, a dozen or more people have the solution. Fact is, everything has to work together. And just to prove that opinions are just like noses (because everyone has one...), I think you made a mistake by not matching the A & D strings. Modern strings are highly-engineered, and I've yet to come across a situation where they need to be mixed and matched, except in the case of someone so impossibly neurotic that they can't be pleased anyway. Even in my professional orchestra, we match the bottoms together and the tops together, but if that doesn't work, the problem is pro'ly not in the strings.

But maybe that's just me.

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