twcellist

Violin Cello Piccolo

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17 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I agree totally. For a simple answer, I again point to the Amaryllis Fleming of the Brothers Amati. 

What is strange about fractional instruments not being established later? Yes, as you say, instruments of a sizes have been made for centuries. However, only in the 20th century did organizations (ie MENC) decide to standardize what constitutes a full size or fractional instrument. 

But those standards did not exist in the heyday of the violoncello piccolo, and therefore have no bearing on its design, construction, and use. You have in existence a small bodied, five stringed cello from two of the greatest luthiers to ever live, which has a technical drawing with measurements available. Why would anyone start from a 3/4 cello drawing from the 20th century when you can start with the Brothers Amati?

As for strings, dozens of manufacturers of gut strings make them in all lengths, in all gauges. Start with something that seems sensible.and adjust from there as needed. It shouldn't be too hard. 

Isn't there a small cello by Strad as well? I am remembering perhaps an inlaid instrument?

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I have some other thoughts about this. If a cello piccolo really is around the dimensions of a 3/4 size cello then could you take a normal 3/4 size cello and just convert it?

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3 hours ago, twcellist said:

I have some other thoughts about this. If a cello piccolo really is around the dimensions of a 3/4 size cello then could you take a normal 3/4 size cello and just convert it?

Goodmorning, Twcellist, of course you can do whatever you want but you have to consider some practical "details": the fingerboard has to be larger that a 4/4 fingerboard. So that will be a new one. The bass bar will be not on the right place for the 5 strings: replacement of the bass bar. The bridge will be also not wide enough for the 5 strings, so a new one. The pegbox has to "host" 5 pegs: is it large enough? And than you have also to consider the fingerboard projection and the belly thickness etc ...(I think I don't mention everything here so.)  So, if you want to experiment a bit and if you want to see if you really want a cello piccolo it is an option. Otherwise it is a waste of your money. But it stays an option.

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At this years VSA convention...

Five-string Cellos of the Cremonese Period
Presenters: Matt Zeller and Chris Reuning
The co-presenters will discuss the history of the five-string cello in the Cremonese period and show specific examples of historical instruments. They will have at least one instrument (Giovanni Grancino, 1702) present for the audience to see.

https://www.vsaweb.org/2019-Convention

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So as I'm going along I'm thinking now maybe I should just make a standard size cello with baroque bridge setup. However, with the fingerboard does it have to shorter than a modern cello fingerboard. All the baroque cellos I see the fingerboard is way shorter. In short, I want the cello setup with modern specifications except that the bridge is baroque height. Is that problematic?

Also, I've been looking around it seems that for gut strings they don't make an E string for a 69 cm length and that most of them are for 64-67 cm length. Anybody have experience with getting a gut E string for a normal sized cello?

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24 minutes ago, twcellist said:

So as I'm going along I'm thinking now maybe I should just make a standard size cello with baroque bridge setup. However, with the fingerboard does it have to shorter than a modern cello fingerboard. All the baroque cellos I see the fingerboard is way shorter. In short, I want the cello setup with modern specifications except that the bridge is baroque height. Is that problematic?

Also, I've been looking around it seems that for gut strings they don't make an E string for a 69 cm length and that most of them are for 64-67 cm length. Anybody have experience with getting a gut E string for a normal sized cello?

The impression I'm getting is that you don't actually want a historically informed instrument. And that's ok! Build the cello of your dreams, string it with whatever you wish, and enjoy.

 

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I'm not sure why you want what you want. Things are all connected. A baroque Bridge sometimes is less high, and therefore in those cases is less curved, for the bow to stay away from the c bouts, which in turn makes it harder to Play, especially if you string it with Five strings. And the Bridge height is connected to the neck overstand, which usually is less high than on modern Instruments, so that in effect the string angle at the Bridge is not so much different from a modern Setup and the resulting pressure on the top similar. So from my Point of view, I'd either make a real baroque Cello with baroque neck, which will require one to be used to a baroque Instrument, or I'd make a real modern 5 string, with slender modern neck and modern neck overstand. You can shorten the fingerboard if you like (mostly different visually), but do not have to, and you can fit a baroque model Bridge in modern height, despiau has a good model. Then it will be easy for a modern Cellist to Play, and you could, if you would like to do so, at some Point fit it with steel strings too, (they do not usually Sound very good on real baroque Setups). 

As for your e string Problem, just contact a string maker, like Mimmo Peruffo at Aquila, give him your specs (Tuning pitch and string length), and he'll know what to recommend, it will be absolutely no problem.

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On 10/24/2019 at 12:42 AM, baroquecello said:

I'm not sure why you want what you want. Things are all connected. A baroque Bridge sometimes is less high, and therefore in those cases is less curved, for the bow to stay away from the c bouts, which in turn makes it harder to Play, especially if you string it with Five strings. And the Bridge height is connected to the neck overstand, which usually is less high than on modern Instruments, so that in effect the string angle at the Bridge is not so much different from a modern Setup and the resulting pressure on the top similar. So from my Point of view, I'd either make a real baroque Cello with baroque neck, which will require one to be used to a baroque Instrument, or I'd make a real modern 5 string, with slender modern neck and modern neck overstand. You can shorten the fingerboard if you like (mostly different visually), but do not have to, and you can fit a baroque model Bridge in modern height, despiau has a good model. Then it will be easy for a modern Cellist to Play, and you could, if you would like to do so, at some Point fit it with steel strings too, (they do not usually Sound very good on real baroque Setups). 

As for your e string Problem, just contact a string maker, like Mimmo Peruffo at Aquila, give him your specs (Tuning pitch and string length), and he'll know what to recommend, it will be absolutely no problem.

Thanks for your thoughts and perspective. To tell you the truth 1) I don't really know if I want to go all the way and get a 5 string cello and 2) I don't even know what type of 5 string cello I want (i.e. baroque setup, modern, or transitional and also the actual size.) The problem I'm facing is there are no 5 string cello readily available so there is no reference point (if you know what I mean.) I came across a very cheap 5 string cello on Amazon for only $400 and so I decided to buy it and at least dabble a little bit. Of course I'm not expecting anything wonderful from such a cheap instrument, but I mainly just want to see how it is to even play with 5 strings as I think this will help me answer a lot of questions.

As for the E string I did some more research and asking around and it seems that a 7/8th's cello would be at the upper range of in terms of what most gut E stings can handle right now (it would be right around 67 cm vibrating length.) If you go any bigger in terms of cello size then the string would have to be custom made.

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8 hours ago, twcellist said:

I came across a very cheap 5 string cello on Amazon for only $400 and so I decided to buy it and at least dabble a little bit. Of course I'm not expecting anything wonderful from such a cheap instrument, but I mainly just want to see how it is to even play with 5 strings as I think this will help me answer a lot of questions.

A well-made 5-string will be much easier to play than a poorly made 5-string.  Getting the bridge angle/spacing just right will make a huge difference.

As you're researching the violoncello piccolo (notice the spelling, it's violoncello not violin cello) also read up on the viola pomposa and the violoncello/viola da spalla.

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On 11/19/2019 at 6:34 AM, Stephen Fine said:

A well-made 5-string will be much easier to play than a poorly made 5-string.  Getting the bridge angle/spacing just right will make a huge difference.

As you're researching the violoncello piccolo (notice the spelling, it's violoncello not violin cello) also read up on the viola pomposa and the violoncello/viola da spalla.

Thanks. I'm not expecting anything spectacular with a $400 cello. The only thing I want to explore and feel is how it physically feels to play 5 strings. Many people have tried to learn 5 strings and many have given up stating that they're just too used to 4 strings. I figure rather than plunge thousands of dollars into a quality 5 string and then only have it go to waste as a piece of furniture spending $400 to figure try things out isn't such a bad idea . ;)

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On 11/20/2019 at 12:03 PM, twcellist said:

Thanks. I'm not expecting anything spectacular with a $400 cello. The only thing I want to explore and feel is how it physically feels to play 5 strings. Many people have tried to learn 5 strings and many have given up stating that they're just too used to 4 strings. I figure rather than plunge thousands of dollars into a quality 5 string and then only have it go to waste as a piece of furniture spending $400 to figure try things out isn't such a bad idea . ;)

twcellist, how is that $400 cello? I was looking at that for the same reasons because I'm wanting to try the 6th suite on a 5-string also.

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On 10/2/2019 at 8:15 PM, twcellist said:

You're thoughts on a top D string are interesting. However, the 5 string cello's I've seen at least have a top E and the string makers I know that make a 5 string make an E. Bylsma's Bach recording of the 6 Suite seem to me to be a E string too (Then I again I could be totally wrong.)

What are your thoughts (and anybody else really) on a 1/2 size vs 3/4 size in terms of sound projection. Is it safe to say that a smaller instrument will have less projection. Also, I've been reading around and most notably a website where a Japanese foundation was doing research on the 5 string cello. One of their findings was that when they made the 5 string cello the E string sounded very raspy  and in my limited time playing with a 5 string instrument I also find the E to be that way. Is there anyway to mitigate the raspy tone or is that just the way it really is?

I adapted a 1/4 size Eastman cello with a baroque fingerboard and it has a nice sound. 4 string, not 5. My sense is that a fractional size instrument is not necessarily going to have the volume that a full-sized instrument would have but it may have a beautiful tone.

Now, as for 5 string cellos, I have one made in China. Not a high end instrument, but nevertheless a nice tone. I strung it to have a high E. I'm not aware of any difference in the size of the body.

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On 11/19/2019 at 9:34 AM, Stephen Fine said:

A well-made 5-string will be much easier to play than a poorly made 5-string.  Getting the bridge angle/spacing just right will make a huge difference.

As you're researching the violoncello piccolo (notice the spelling, it's violoncello not violin cello) also read up on the viola pomposa and the violoncello/viola da spalla.

My 5 string cello is a $400 Yinfente from Amazon. The bridge was not adequate so I bought a bass viola da gamba bridge on eBay and adapted it and it works fine.

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