Is this a good Cello for $550AUD?


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Hey, guys! Anyone have any information on a Dolfin 910 Cello?

This is my first time here so I hope I didn't make any mistakes with this forum. Don't hate me o-o

I'm new to Cello (though I have played the violin for years) and are looking to get one before everything gets worse with all these recent lockdown and more shops are closed as being "non-essential" (except puzzles are for some reason and I'm actually getting this for learning and career reasons, so...).

I want something that I will keep for years without a need to replace it, something that would be decent enough for an intermediate player as well as a student, I just don't have that amount of money to throw around to just replace it after a few years lol. So I've been looking at second hand one's and found one, I'd like to know your opinions on it.

It's labelled as a Dolfin 910 model and I believe it's made in Korea. It's price online is $699AUD but they've told me they're willing to lower the price to $550AUD. It comes with a hard case and bow. I'm pretty sure it's a newer cello, but I can't find much about it, I am allowed to view it in store, however. The sale is only for Easter though.

Is it worth a shot? Or should I wait a little while before making a decision?

I know $550AUD isn't much for a Cello, but hey, I'm a lonely pauper, alright? That's a lot of money for an unemployed 19yrd student and that's all my savings of ten years gone until I can find a job to compensate (I'm trying, it's just that I've left school at the most inconvenient time in history). I'm not flinging it on something just because it's cheap without some thought.

Anyway, here's the adverts so you can get a look at it:

Official website: https://www.cashconverters.com.au/shop/music-tv-video/musical-instruments/guitars-string-instruments/cello/001300268259

Gumtree advertisement:

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/collingwood/other-musical-instruments/cello-dolfin-910-was-749-/1237985675

s-l400.webp

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Actually, scratch that. I just got a second hand vintage for 20 bucks lol It's in a pretty solid shape, but the sound post has fallen. Any idea how I can get it out myself? Otherwise, I might get my uncle (who's good with tools) and my grandad (once a violinist himself) to help me.

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17 hours ago, ConfusedMary said:

Actually, scratch that. I just got a second hand vintage for 20 bucks lol It's in a pretty solid shape, but the sound post has fallen. Any idea how I can get it out myself? Otherwise, I might get my uncle (who's good with tools) and my grandad (once a violinist himself) to help me.

Share some photographs. Even if it’s firewood, $20 is not too much to risk on a chance.

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20 hours ago, ConfusedMary said:

Actually, scratch that. I just got a second hand vintage for 20 bucks lol It's in a pretty solid shape, but the sound post has fallen. Any idea how I can get it out myself? Otherwise, I might get my uncle (who's good with tools) and my grandad (once a violinist himself) to help me.

Don't have your uncle or dad who's good with tools do it. Too many instruments have been irreparably damaged this way. Take it to a luthier. Having the post put back up shouldn't cost much if anything at all, plus it's a very quick job. Also, they'd be able to give it a visual inspection to see if everything is in good repair. 

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3 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

Don't have your uncle or dad who's good with tools do it. Too many instruments have been irreparably damaged this way. Take it to a luthier. Having the post put back up shouldn't cost much if anything at all, plus it's a very quick job. Also, they'd be able to give it a visual inspection to see if everything is in good repair. 

Thanks! I did ask one of the best rated luthiers in my city and he gave me instructions on how I could do it myself and said it woild be fine if I was very careful. Should I?

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7 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Share some photographs. Even if it’s firewood, $20 is not too much to risk on a chance.

Lol Yeah, but it'd feel like sacrilege to ruin an instrument, even if I got it for $20 lol

Plus, I could probably sell it off for much more than that and if it broke I'd have to scrounge around for money for a new one, so....

I mean, I just convinced my mum it was fine to bring another member into the family, this thing is huge!

Anyway, about the cello; I've checked for any identification as to who the manufacturer is, but found nothing but what appears to be "MD9" written on the back. I assume this is just the luthier marking the wood pieces for future reference. It's probably from some local Australian luthier.

The purfling is real, I found that out becuase a chip had come out of a small area of the edge and I could see it clearly. 

The pictures make the look so bad, it's a lot richer colour irl.

20200414_221116-min.jpg

20200414_220934-min.jpg

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6 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

Don't have your uncle or dad who's good with tools do it. Too many instruments have been irreparably damaged this way. Take it to a luthier. Having the post put back up shouldn't cost much if anything at all, plus it's a very quick job. Also, they'd be able to give it a visual inspection to see if everything is in good repair. 

Big ditto on that!! The "uncle who's good with tools"(and even the grand dad who was once a violinist), without proper knowledge and training, are unlikely to be able to do a decent job, and may cause problems that will be very expensive to set right. Take it to a luthier!!!  I've seen too many jobs by garage luthiers who do something stupid, like glue in the soundpost, or use Gorilla glue. Don't let it happen to you!

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6 hours ago, ConfusedMary said:

Lol Yeah, but it'd feel like sacrilege to ruin an instrument, even if I got it for $20 lol

Plus, I could probably sell it off for much more than that and if it broke I'd have to scrounge around for money for a new one, so....

I mean, I just convinced my mum it was fine to bring another member into the family, this thing is huge!

Anyway, about the cello; I've checked for any identification as to who the manufacturer is, but found nothing but what appears to be "MD9" written on the back. I assume this is just the luthier marking the wood pieces for future reference. It's probably from some local Australian luthier.

The purfling is real, I found that out becuase a chip had come out of a small area of the edge and I could see it clearly. 

The pictures make the look so bad, it's a lot richer colour irl.

20200414_221116-min.jpg

20200414_220934-min.jpg

He case looks to be quite useable. If the bow is worthwhile, it looks like a worthwhile acquisition. It looks like a former school instrument and the number might have been a school inventory number. If the top is solid wood the top may not be so check the back to see if it is laminated.

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For $20 you won the lottery.

Looks totally functional and worthwhile having a tune-up. At the very least have the soundpost reset and get new strings.

All instruments need regular tune-ups, so don't think of that as an added cost, just think of it as required maintenance.

The case is a nice bonus.

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Yes, strings, sound post reset, have the bridge checked, and bow re-haired.  See if you can get some instruction from whoever you choose to do the work. Also, in similar fashion to violin, there are a couple of good introductory basic books you can get online for a few dollars, I'm thinking, "Rough Guide to Cello".

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11 hours ago, ConfusedMary said:

 

Thanks! I did ask one of the best rated luthiers in my city and he gave me instructions on how I could do it myself and said it woild be fine if I was very careful. Should I?

Not a stellar idea. If you can convince him/her to call me, I will deliver an appropriate thrashing. :)

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8 hours ago, Fossil Ledges said:

Yes, strings, sound post reset, have the bridge checked, and bow re-haired.  See if you can get some instruction from whoever you choose to do the work. Also, in similar fashion to violin, there are a couple of good introductory basic books you can get online for a few dollars, I'm thinking, "Rough Guide to Cello".

My mum has a friend who was a professional cellist and played for cruise ships, maybe I should ask him for advice on luthiers in our area. I will be getting all the books I need ;)

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9 hours ago, Rue said:

For $20 you won the lottery.

Looks totally functional and worthwhile having a tune-up. At the very least have the soundpost reset and get new strings.

All instruments need regular tune-ups, so don't think of that as an added cost, just think of it as required maintenance.

The case is a nice bonus.

I know right? Even if it's just for learning until I can afford something else!

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16 hours ago, ConfusedMary said:

Anyway, about the cello; I've checked for any identification as to who the manufacturer is, but found nothing but what appears to be "MD9" written on the back. I assume this is just the luthier marking the wood pieces for future reference. It's probably from some local Australian luthier.

Um, err .. with respect, I don't think so.

Stay well.

Tim

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8 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

@ConfusedMary

 So what kind of bow is it?

Is the back laminate or solid? You can usually tell by looking at the purfling. If it’s inked it’s probably laminate.

The purfling is definitely not painted and seems to tick all the boxes of real purfling. 

The bow probably needs a re-hair, it's a little old but it still looks like it may have been re-haired a little more recently. IDK man, I've spent some time researching the violin and cello themselves, but not the bow. I don't know why, I just never thought about it too much. It came for free included so I guess it's OK for the moment? ¯\_( º_º )_/¯

Beggars can't always be choosers. But I might get it re-haired, I'll get the luthier to look it over for an opinion.

9 hours ago, TimRobinson said:

Um, err .. with respect, I don't think so.

Stay well.

Tim

Haha XD

If you mean Aussies can't make violins, you're wrong bro, there actually is a great luthier in Melbourne near me that has some amazing craftsmanship and has received recognition from André Rieu! But then, maybe that's just the Sydney rivalry coming out in ya lol

 

 

JK, I love ya Sydneysiders! Pls don't come at me...ŏ﹏ŏ

 

 

Anyway, guys, I contacted a few luthiers and one told me they'd do it for free as long as there weren't any complications (i.e. too short, needs a replacement, other causes to the problem) and said I could come over for him to check it over, so I guess I'll go see him and at least get a quote! :D

I guess I'll be taking all your advice and will be getting it fixed by a professional. My family has a running problem of "we can do it ourselves!", (i.e. made our own computers, equipment, clothes, some sock shoe thingies ((we don't talk about that one)), and refurbished our entire old house by hand) and although that has been great on many occasions, it may not work this time lol  

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15 hours ago, ConfusedMary said:

If you mean Aussies can't make violins, you're wrong bro, there actually is a great luthier in Melbourne near me that has some amazing craftsmanship and has received recognition from André Rieu! But then, maybe that's just the Sydney rivalry coming out in ya lol

JK, I love ya Sydneysiders! Pls don't come at me...ŏ﹏ŏ

 

 

What rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne?  Never. (Reminds me of about 20 years ago there was a proposal to build the highest building in the world in Melbourne.  We here  assumed Melbourne  was just trying to see Sydney :-) )

I didn't imply there were no Oz makers, sorry if you took it that way.  I'm reasonably aware of contemporary and historical local makers (and in an amateur way am one of them).

As I say, stay well and enjoy the cello.

Tim

 

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On 4/17/2020 at 1:35 AM, Rue said:

Make sure you update us!

I love the follow-ups!!! :)

Oh! I will! I'm going to book an appointment for today (hopefully!) And will tell you guys the outcome later!

It's getting harder to get around these days, they tell shops not to close (I think it's so they dont have to give the compensation) but then tell us we're not allowed to visit them because they're not essential??? Someone isn't thinking properly... I want to support local businesses and you're telling me I can only go to the big corp stores? So, I hope they take this as essential school stuff (it is) and pass me over. I live on a main road and hear the police giving their little warning "whoop!" at cars to pull over every few minutes x( 

 

21 hours ago, TimRobinson said:

What rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne?  Never. (Reminds me of about 20 years ago there was a proposal to build the highest building in the world in Melbourne.  We here  assumed Melbourne  was just trying to see Sydney :-) )

I didn't imply there were no Oz makers, sorry if you took it that way.  I'm reasonably aware of contemporary and historical local makers (and in an amateur way am one of them).

As I say, stay well and enjoy the cello.

Tim

 

XD haha! Nah, no way! That was a weapons tower to shoot oncoming people from Sydney from crossing the border lol

Really though, I think Melbournians must have got up in arms to stop that being made. They keep demolishing old heritage houses for ugly new buildings that seem to have no reason to be there whatsoever and end up getting demolished for something else again anyway :/  I think our Melbourne Star was another try at making a landmark but it's so copied off the London Eye lol 

But with all due respect, our Luna Park is older and the face-front looks better. And you stole it :)

Don't worry though, I was just joking ;)

Hehe

Thanks for all the support everyone :)

Edited by ConfusedMary
Forgot something
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Ok, I just took it to my luthier and he said both the strings on the cello and the bow hair don't need replacement at the moment and said that they're in surprisingly good shape (must have been replaced recently)! Plus, he recognised the endpin and said he knows it' good quality becuase he made it! Who'd have thought? 

It must be an old one, because he said the shape of the fingerboard is made for gut strings and the reason my soundpost has fallen out is due to the shape of the bridge and fingerboard being ill aligned. 

He was rly nice and was so excited to show me around his workshop that we would have been there all day if it weren't closing time lol But he has a lot of work, the shelves are covered to the roof in violins!

So he'll be putting the soundpost in place dor no charge and then it'll be $250AUD extra for fixing the fingerboard and cutting a new bridge. He told me he wouldn't suggest it unless my cello was worth it :) lol And I only got it for $20 so I have much more to spare for repairs!

I'll come back next week after he's finished to give ya'll updates :D

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Fossil Ledges

@TimRobinson

@Rue @PhilipKT

Ok! Sorry for the long wait, I haven't been feeling well lately and only just remembered to update ya'll :'|

I took more pictures this time so you could see for yourself the nice colour on the back!

20200425_113822-min.thumb.jpg.064b388462ff2db6ab0750af405c3aff.jpg20200425_114051-min.thumb.jpg.37ae9e74d888c7bffef04534512ae30b.jpg

So, the luthier gave it back to me last Saturday and fixed a crack he found near the f-hole free of charge and cleaned the cello up a bit! 

It sounds amazing! And so stronh! But my left hand isn't yet strong enough to keep the strings down consistently without scratching. 

As for vibrato, I'm not going to dive into it yet before I master the finger placement (why does this look like it will be hell!) though I have managed to get some decent sounding vibrato with my knowledge of the violin. 

It sounds OK for a first, but a little scratchy. I feel my bow hold and position are the culprits. 

The strings are higher than my expierences with the violin so it's hard to keep my fingers down. Guess I'll have to get the muscle. 

20200425_113931-min.thumb.jpg.19e2557f30201a24c8439a5c84f58a27.jpg20200425_113516-min.thumb.jpg.6f9f68a2f9b17d376dcd449716f623f4.jpg20200425_113802-min.thumb.jpg.cc522cdf8e9549cccbf19a5db24bfe29.jpg

I see it's a little more difficult than I assumed (coming from someone who mostly learnt violin at home via YouTube and books) but I'm more patient with this sort of thing (I've also got a kalimba to learn too). I have been thinking though, the luthier (he's so awesome! Like that encouraging Grandpa you always wanted! Reminds me of Geppetto from Pinnochio lol) said he knows several teacher and he could help find someone that might suit me and I'm thinking I might take his advice. I have to get a job first to afford them lol, it's so hard now though! I'll always have a job open as a postie because my dad's one, but I'm going to look around first before I do. 

So, I'll record some sound tomorrow (open strings, because my hand is floppy and I'd probably make a million-dollar cello sound like a two-dollar one at this point lol), but I'm pretty sure this is a good cello. I'm no expert, but I've played the violin for about eight years now and I feel like my ear has gotten better for these things over time.

I still need to start over learning to read music sheets and brush up on my scales. Admittedly, at one point, I didn't think they were useful and skipped to learn my favourite songs lol Admittedly though, I was like twelve and if I had been forced to go over Beethoven I would have never gotten this far. I was one of those kids who hated classical music lol I still find some boring, but I've come to appreciate it more after hearing Holst.

 

Also, my cat loves the cello more than I do apparently....

20200430_193407-min.thumb.jpg.d5055ba02e9fed7aea53c161bc58e783.jpg

I've had to hide it from her lol We've been having some problems with her sleeping everywhere lately (spent a whole day trying to get her off the sofa, table, shelves, fridge, you name it, because she needs a flea bath lol).

Anyways, thanks for all the help! I mightn't have gone to a luthier if it wasn't for you lot and I'm so glad I did! It's like I don't have to worry about anything for once and can just get straight to learning ^^ 

One day, maybe when I've mastered it, you never know, I might start a YouTube channel because I hardly see enough of cellists on YouTube doing covers and I feel it's underappreciated. 

Thanks again everyone! 

Luv Mary ^^

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