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Choosing a cello model

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Hi! I have been experimenting for a couple of years with violin restorations. I recently built a violin, and now I want to build a cello, as that is my main instrument. I have a lot of trouble deciding on a model, though, and I hoped that someone here could help me with that.
I play a Stradivari model cello, set up with a belgian bridge. It is very powerful with wonderful resonnance, expecially in the top register. For a belgian bridge, it is very well balanced over the four strings. I don't hope to build a cello as good as this one, so I want to make one that is different. I was thinking of making a dark cello and try to get that slightly dry/raspy sound that I hear from a lot of old cellos. My impression is that this would best be achieved with a wide cello with a relatively low arching, is that correct?
However, I don't particularly like the look of something like the sleeping beauty Montagnana with the very wide, almost boxy look. I much prefer the look of a Strad, even though they don't typically have the sound that I'm after. However, I heard that it is simply the volume that determines this, so I should almost be able to get the same results by making the ribs higher on a strad model. Is that true?

Does anyone have suggestions for a model that is wide and/or deep sounding, but still elegant, and which I can either get as a strad poster or find a model for online? I would probably prefer a digital model rather than a poster, as I like to just tweak the shapes a bit to my liking before I print them. I know this may sound like a stupid question, but I really have a hard time finding a model that I like and would like to hear other people's preferred models and their experiences with the tone of them.

Thank you in advance, Tobias

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I started a cello loosely based on the Strad B form (Davidov / Gore Booth). Like you I laboured over the model choice and worried about sound considerations -- I even drew up different models  in CAD. In the end, I went with a strad and did the outline by hand from Roger H's Strad poster. There is simply more information available the Strad B form. (Image archives, Sacconi arching and thickening etc) 

What I've learned so far is that for the first time cello maker, there is a learning curve. Unless you have access to a good shop (with a larger and accurately setup bandsaw), making the form and preparing the rib stock is a huge effort. Bending the ribs takes considerably more skill and patience than a violin. I'm finding the whole effort of cello making very physically demanding. As time goes on, tasks are taking less time but starting out was a huge effort.

 

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Thank you for your reply. It's funny, I actually halfway decided to make a strad form B yesterday. My main reason is that it's damn pretty, and even if I can't make the sound amazing,  will have something aesthetically pleasing.
I still believe that the model makes a difference in sound, but in the end I guess the biggest difference is the wood and graduation, so I may still aim for that tone I had in mind, but I think at first I will just try to make a good instrument. And if it sounds too similar to my own, I will put a French bridge on it, and it will feel much different.

I think you're right about the learning curve. Even the violin was difficult at times, although much more enjoyable than the few electric guitars I've made so far. I ended up with a nice instrument, but I know already that there are a couple of steps which I will definitely need to spend some more time on.
I have recently gotten access to a workshop with a band saw, a table saw, a joiner etc., which is a nice and will speed up some processes, but in the end I think the last tool touching everything should be a hand tool. I get much better results like that usually...

Do you have any tips on making my first cello? Either on getting a good tone, graduation, tap tuning (if you do that for cellos?), where to get a nice model, etc.? I will probably let the wood dry for at least another year, so I won't be in a hurry, but I could start making a mold and things like that :-)

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Another good argument for the Strad B form - it's a "modern" sized cello from the start, whereas most other historical cellos of the 17th and 18th centuries survive in heavily modified, "reduced" or "cut-down" states, and are therefore unreliable witnesses to the makers' original concept, no matter how good they sound. 

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I love the Giuseppe Guarneri Filius Andrea cello model.

The Pietro Giacomo Rogeri 1717 cello published in a Strad poster is very nice too. It is square, with wide upper bouts, a bit on the small side, and with parallel f holes.

I hope Melvin Goldsmith will chime in.

 

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MANFIO, both good suggestions. I quite like the Rogeri, actually, although I would probably just round the top and bottom a bit. 
Right now I'm still leaning towards a strad afterall, but I'm haven't decided anything just yet

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You might want to try a Strad model cello with widened C bouts. The only thing that you have to watch for is bow clearance, though. I've heard of a lot of makers that have had success with Strad model violas with widened Cs. One particular cello that I know of that was made this way sounds exceptional. 

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MANFIO, why is it better for bass? I thought bigger was better.

Nick, I was actually thinking that myself. I bought the strad poster for the 1865 Vuillaume, as I can see it's very similar to the form B Strads. I may not build that particular one, but how much would you widen the bouts on something like that? Do you have picures and/or sound demos of that cello you have heard?

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13 hours ago, MANFIO said:

The Pietro Giacomo Rogeri 1717 cello published in a Strad poster is very nice too. It is square, with wide upper bouts, a bit on the small side, and with parallel f holes.

I drew this one up in CAD also -- I like the model - the wood is spectacular and the arching is very nice. There are many videos and recordings of Enrico Dindo playing  it. Couple of gotchas to watch out for in this model. The string length and stop to neck ratio are a little different than what many consider standard. Since the top where the neck joins the body is concave, one can add 5 or so mm to help correct and increase the stop.

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12 hours ago, MANFIO said:

I would not round the top, the way it is in the original is better for the basses.

The 1717 P.G. Rogeri clearly shows a sunken top around the neck. Perhaps caused by poor restoration at some point in its life? The so called Lancashire Strad by his father was likely built on the same mould and doesn't show the same sunken top. Adding about 5 mm to the top of the 1717 will help correct this and still retain the flatfish boxy look.

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13 hours ago, MANFIO said:

I love the Giuseppe Guarneri Filius Andrea cello model.

The Pietro Giacomo Rogeri 1717 cello published in a Strad poster is very nice too. It is square, with wide upper bouts, a bit on the small side, and with parallel f holes.

I hope Melvin Goldsmith will chime in.

 

I have made a few Strad model cellos, many on J Guarneri which have the advantage of having just about every measurement come out dead  center average of the many models I have measured and I have just started making a Rogeri pattern which I am also liking a lot. Strad patterns are harder for me to get the sound I want being a bit too simple without the growl in the bass which I think comes from a proportionally wider waist. I am with Manfio that the shorter and slightly wider cellos seem to work best and they also appeal to all sizes of player.

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Nice thing about cellos is that there is such a variety of models that offer a wide variety of tonal colours. I can more easily tell cello models apart by their sound than violins! 

There's even great variety among strad cellos!

 

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Thanks everyone :)

Yes, I have watched that video and played quite a few very different strad models myself, and that's the reason why I'm slowly abandoning the idea that model is super important. I am still convinced that it makes a huge difference, but maybe not so much on your first one... Right now I'm leaning towards a Strad B, maybe with a widened waist. I don't know by how much though

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