Sign in to follow this  
Brad Dorsey

Need help with cello buzz

Recommended Posts

I’ve been wrestling with a cello conundrum lately:  Buzzing when the open C and G strings are both bowed very vigorously, and the same with the open G and D.  No string buzzes separately.  Of course I first suspected the bridge height or the nut height or the shape of the fingerboard.  But I have figured out that the buzz is caused by the two strings rattling against each other.  The arcs of the two vibrating strings visibly intersect each other when they are bowed together in a way that maximally displaces them, causing them to vibrate against each other.  I’ve tried several different strings including Dominant, Jargar and unidentified used strings with the same result.  Both of the cellos in my shop right now do the same thing.

I have asked several cellists performing in our area about this.  None could provide any useful information.  One of them could make his cello, a 1715 David Tecchler, do the same thing.

Questions:  Has anyone else here experienced this?  Is this common or normal for cellos?  Is it a problem?  Is there any way to stop it?  Is it something that cellists just have to live with?

I'm also posting this on the Fingerboard to get input from players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently tackled the same issue. Turned out to be a broken bottom bout top plate seam that did not show any signs of coming apart unless pressure was applied.  Light was not sufficient in revealing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see how an open seam would cause pairs of strings to rattle against each other (on three different cellos) or how gluing the seam would stop them from rattling against each other. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, Brad Dorsey said:

I don't see how an open seam would cause pairs of strings to rattle against each other or how gluing the seam would stop them from rattling against each other.

Yes, I see how that may have come across. I should have prefaced my comment by mentioning that I had Larsen Magnacore Arioso strings on, which are low tension. There was plenty of travel. I, too, thought they were buzzing due to contact with one another.  In my case, it was not coming from the strings as I had thought, but rather the open seam.  I checked everything I could have before that. It was a unique sound that I had not experienced prior with an open seam. Fair point though, Brad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are there any "fine" tuners on the tailpiece? In times past I had pinpointed it down to those being the issue. If there are tuners on,take them off and see if you can duplicate the buzz with them/it off...if not

Try a wider string spacing off the bridge if the fingerboard allows it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has metal fine tuners attached to an ebony tailpiece.  But the fine tuners are not buzzing.  The strings are rattling against each other.

And today another cello came in for some work.  The strings rattle against each other in the same manner as the other three that I have tried.  I'm beginning to think that all cellos do this.

I should have mentioned earlier that the strings don't rattle while they are being bowed.  It happens for just a split second right after the bow is lifted off the strings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/2/2019 at 5:27 PM, Brad Dorsey said:

I have asked several cellists performing in our area about this.  None could provide any useful information.  One of them could make his cello, a 1715 David Tecchler, do the same thing.

Questions:  Has anyone else here experienced this?  Is this common or normal for cellos?  Is it a problem?  Is there any way to stop it?  Is it something that cellists just have to live with?

My guess it is something that just doesn't happen in regular playing circumstances. Also, when you say "vigorously" how vigorous are we talking? It's a cello, not some sort of carnival game. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brad, you asked about this a couple of weeks ago. I told you it is normal but worse with certain types of strings, also, professional players will not notice this as a problem because the kind of bowing needed for this effect is not it a good kind. Pro player and teacher talking here. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brad ,

You mention that your client with the 1715 Tecchler could also "make  it happen" The question I ask all buzz reporters is "can you make it NOT happen?" Unless there is some technique or piece of music where the issue becomes an uncontrolable problem I don't worry about it. I think all cellos can be made to do this if bowed or plucked  too vigorously along with several other obnoxious noises.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, baroquecello said:

Brad, you asked about this a couple of weeks ago. I told you it is normal...

It must have been somebody else who asked about it, because I did not.  But I would like to read that discussion.  Can you direct me to it?

Edit:  I found the discussion and you're right:  it was me who asked.  Thank you for your insights -- very helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

...The question I ask all buzz reporters is "can you make it NOT happen?...

I like this approach very much.  Now I now what to say to the customer.  Can I quote you?

 

29 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

...your client with the 1715 Tecchler...

Lest you get the wrong impression of my clientele, I should make it clear that this was a performer who I went to hear, not a customer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Brad ,

You mention that your client with the 1715 Tecchler could also "make  it happen" The question I ask all buzz reporters is "can you make it NOT happen?" Unless there is some technique or piece of music where the issue becomes an uncontrolable problem I don't worry about it. I think all cellos can be made to do this if bowed or plucked  too vigorously along with several other obnoxious noises.

Agreed. Seems a search for a solution which may not be needed.

If the string spacings are standard, and the vibrating string length falls within the usual range, there is not much to be done.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a "buzz" and then there is string rattle. String rattle, in my experience, is something that just about any cello could be made to do [somewhat like a guitar}, and some may be more prone than others dependent on spacing and height off the fingerboard..... generally this is something that one needs to try to make happen usually preceded by lots of down force on the strings with the bow moving fast, with a very abrupt lift off and removal of the bow from the strings , strings can rattle against each other as well as slap against the fingerboard if enough force is put down with a quick release.

to me it's really a player control issue or a "right" instrument for the "right" player kind of thing, based on re reading things I don't think you really have an issue.

For example one who plays a guitar in dropped tunings might think they can walk up to a guitar that was set up for standard E tuning and drop it to C and think that everything will be fine, and it may be,but they will have to modify their "approach" and dynamics in order to make it so the guitar does not respond with lots of string slap. 

Many who play dropped tuning will have their guitars set up quite differently than a standard tuned guitar,mostly so they can really lay into them to get the volume, but generally always higher action on both the nut and saddle to reduce string slap and rattle.

Beyond "good,bad, or great with cellos, I classify them in 2 categories....1. tight...2. squishy.....squishy cellos feel like the strings are extra ropey , easy to depress, yet kinda flabby feeling, farty lows with mellow highs , slow to respond...I find larger cellos more prone to be squishy, yet have played some very tight responsive cellos that have been larger too. Methinks it's in the subtle nuisances of break angles and material choices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I am misunderstanding the effect, but I am wondering if this happens with the low cello strings because as you pull the bow across them they deflect in the direction of bow movement. If you lay into the bow this deflection will be greater. If you are bowing more than one string they will both deflect in the same direction. If you lay into it and then suddenly pick the bow up off the strings they are going to try to return to their undeflected state, but there will be some overshoot and back and forth, and this will not be synchronized, so you get the potential for the strings to contact each other. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/4/2019 at 6:04 PM, jezzupe said:

..String rattle...generally...is something that one needs to try to make happen usually preceded by lots of down force on the strings with the bow moving fast, with a very abrupt lift off and removal of the bow from the strings , strings can rattle against each other...

 

On 9/4/2019 at 6:58 PM, glebert said:

...with the low cello strings...as you pull the bow across them they deflect in the direction of bow movement. If you lay into the bow this deflection will be greater. If you are bowing more than one string they will both deflect in the same direction. If you lay into it and then suddenly pick the bow up off the strings they are going to try to return to their undeflected state, but there will be some overshoot and back and forth, and this will not be synchronized, so you get the potential for the strings to contact each other. 

These are both pretty good descriptions of what I have been experiencing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.