Starting my first Cello.


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Hello MN.

I've been making several violins and but non of cello.

Having lot of time in the house during this period of COVID-19, I decided to start making my first cello that I haven't tried.

I thought sharing the process of my work here would motivate me to keep work.

Since i'm still in the leaning process of violinmaking, please excuse clumsy skills and I hope there would be not many harsh criticism. but any constructive feedback will be always appreciated. :)

and since english is not my mother language, tell me if there is anything that you don't understand.

Although most job on the head and ribs has been done, I just bowsawed the plates so still long way to go.spacer.png

The model I follow is Stradivari "Feuernann,1730.

It has quite narrow width of upper and lowe bout  compared to standard stradivari cello.

according to Tarisio...

Length of back: 74.6 cm

Upper bouts: 32.7 cm

Lower bouts: 41.9 cm

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Edited by Kyle Lee
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8 hours ago, Kyle Lee said:

The model I follow is Stradivari "Feuernann,1730.

It has quite narrow width of upper and lowe bout  compared to standard stradivari cello.

according to Tarisio...

Length of back: 74.6 cm

Upper bouts: 32.7 cm

Lower bouts: 41.9 cm

  

Yep, the Feuermann/De Munck cello is built on Stradivari's "B Picola" form, not on the more traditional form "B" (Davidov, Gore-Booth, Batta, Mara and many others) which is larger and usually referred to for Strad's cello measurements.

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6 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Yep, the Feuermann/De Munck cello is built on Stradivari's "B Picola" form, not on the more traditional form "B" (Davidov, Gore-Booth, Batta, Mara and many others) which is larger and usually referred to for Strad's cello measurements.

Thanks for the information, I should have started with normal form "B" but what can I do about what I already started :) Do people generally prefer cellos with wider and longer bodies? in terms of sound??

someone said to me that if the instrument have narrower bout(compared to normal one) arch should be higher for structural stability, is that right?? does curtate cycloid work like this??

Edited by Kyle Lee
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1 hour ago, Kyle Lee said:

 Do people generally prefer cellos with wider and longer bodies? in terms of sound??

In general, yes. Wider bodies can introduce playing issues, but longer doesn't seems to be any problem at all. If the player just doesn't pull the endpin out as far, most things are very similar to playing on a shorter cello.

My "large model" cello started as an outline tracing of a famous Mantagnana. But that particular Montagnana had insufficient C-bout clearance, and also wouldn't fit in anything but a custom-made case. So I did mess with that outline quite a bit. :)

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

In general, yes. Wider bodies can introduce playing issues, but longer doesn't seems to be any problem at all. If the player just doesn't pull the endpin out as far, most things are very similar to playing on a shorter cello.

My "large model" cello started as an outline tracing of a famous Mantagnana. But that particular Montagnana had insufficient C-bout clearance, and also wouldn't fit in anything but a custom-made case. So I did mess with that outline quite a bit. :)

It's silly but there was a time when I was playing and making solely violins and never interested in cello, cellos with very wider bouts don't look beautiful, too chubby to my eyes. I guess that's why I choose this model unconsciously, ignoring any tonal properties. Now my cello will be slim while I'm getting chubby during quarantine..

Edited by Kyle Lee
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2 hours ago, baroquecello said:

I've played on a couple of succesful DeMunck Strad copies. Very rich in a tenor kind of way, with a big and clear bass, but not a fat bass. Not everyones cup of tea, true, but good anyway.

What a good experience! I hope I get a good result too but It already starts to resemble me not DeMunck :angry: any way to alleviate this "not a fat bass" problem?

Edited by Kyle Lee
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14 hours ago, Kyle Lee said:

What a good experience! I hope I get a good result too but It already starts to resemble me not DeMunck :angry: any way to alleviate this "not a fat bass" problem?

I don't know, but I wouldn't expect there is much you can do, setup-wise, once the cello is made. 

Edit note: I decided to delete this part, because I feel my lack of factual knowledge should prohibit me from writing what I wrote.

I considered buying one of the two DeMunck model cellos I played on. I just didn't have the money at the time. Don't despair because of this model choice, it can make for a fine sounding cello. I know the person who bought it. A pro cellist with a passion for instruments, who owns 5 or 6 professional level cellos. He said to me that it is his most reliable cello, it never has a bad sounding day and is always easy to play. If he feels he didn't practise enough, or when there are particularly moisty or dry days, he usually uses hid DeMunck. I don't know if that has to do with the model or the particular piece of wood.

Edited by baroquecello
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3 hours ago, baroquecello said:

I don't know, but I wouldn't expect there is much you can do, setup-wise, once the cello is made. 

I'm not a maker, only a mediocre pro cellist working as a teacher mainly, so do not take this advise terribly seriously if you do not get confirmation from others here. This is all just subjective, based on observations and generalisations that do not always hold. Indeed exceptions are almost a rule. I have the impression that the fullness of sound in cellos, especially the bass, and especially what the player hears (as opposed to what the audience in a large hall hears), has to do to a rather large extent with the back. In violins, the back is often regarded as not such a major influence on the sound, but on cellos, I believe this is different. You can also observe that there are many cellos with "alternative" woods for the back, that really do sound markedly different in a relatively consistent (as far as anything in violin making can make a consistent diffference acoustically) way. I have the impression that a back with higher arching than the top often works well, and that cellos with back graduations on the thin side (I understand this to be characteristic of venetian cello making as well) often results in a fuller bass. But a thinner back is also more prone to sound post cracks and I have he impression that a too light back can also have negative influence on the wolf. (I've experimented with a krentz sound modulator on the back plate, and on some cellos it can have a profound influence on the sound, in particular in the close vicinity of the sound post) If a thinner, higher arched back works on such a DeMunck model is a question that I cannot answer. It is a Strad creation, and Strad did have the tendency to make very good instruments, so that it really is a big question if one can improve on strad models.

I considered buying one of the two DeMunck model cellos I played on. I just didn't have the money at the time. Don't despair because of this model choice, it can make for a fine sounding cello. I know the person who bought it. A pro cellist with a passion for instruments, who owns 5 or 6 professional level cellos. He said to me that it is his most reliable cello, it never has a bad sounding day and is always easy to play. If he feels he didn't practise enough, or when there are particularly moisty or dry days, he usually uses hid DeMunck. I don't know if that has to do with the model or the particular piece of wood.

Haha, the conversation reminded me of the Queen song Fat Bottom Girls. In this case the girls are celli. :) I work with statistics a lot, and always found the dismissal of violin back contribution as only 25% back and 75% top odd.  Even if the numbers are real, 25% is a lot. Think about how much better an instrument needs to be in a shoot out for one of them to be a clear winner over the other.  I agree that wood species is also a big contributor to the character of a cello's sound. I'm making mine out of willow, but the choice was really made because I liked this particular back, not so much because I wanted the tonal effects of using willow over maple. 

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1 hour ago, baroquecello said:

@Jim Bress I've never played a willow-backed cello: sound very interesting!

I recently saw guitars with elm backs and ribs. Had never heard of elm used as a tone wood before.

Nathan Slobodkin is a cello maker that uses black willow quite a bit for similar models to what I'm making, so I had confidence that the wood can work. Here's one of one of his cello's that he links on his website. To me this fits the fat sound you were talking about, and that I prefer. 

 

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17 hours ago, baroquecello said:

I don't know, but I wouldn't expect there is much you can do, setup-wise, once the cello is made. 

Edit note: I decided to delete this part, because I feel my lack of factual knowledge should prohibit me from writing what I wrote.

I considered buying one of the two DeMunck model cellos I played on. I just didn't have the money at the time. Don't despair because of this model choice, it can make for a fine sounding cello. I know the person who bought it. A pro cellist with a passion for instruments, who owns 5 or 6 professional level cellos. He said to me that it is his most reliable cello, it never has a bad sounding day and is always easy to play. If he feels he didn't practise enough, or when there are particularly moisty or dry days, he usually uses hid DeMunck. I don't know if that has to do with the model or the particular piece of wood.

Fortunately I was able to read what you initially wrote and It was interesting point of view, thanks~! I've learned that as a liuthier it is very important to listen what players say. I can coutinue working this project with cheer because of you!

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13 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

I throw up a picture now and then in the Contemporary Maker's Gallery. Lots of eye candy there. I'm using the Strad poster of P.G. Rogeri. The cello will be Rogeri(ish). :) 

I didn't know there was a category we can share a fragments of our work. and I'll definitely follow your work~! keep posting for me and my DeMunck(ish)

Edited by Kyle Lee
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Cello specialist Larry Wilke makes both models; my daughter got to play them together when she was shopping.  Not everyone is built like Lynn Harrell (who would make a Goffriller look small), and instrument ergonomics is an important part of selection.  My daughter will top out at 5'2" or 5'3" and whereas a bigger cello may sound good it's not the best fit for every player.

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2 hours ago, Urban Luthier said:

Tons, I mean tons of recording out there - Search Steven Isserlis. He his records with Hyperion records - you can check the liner notes which often note which instrument he is playing. I think he gave the cello back in 2011. 

He has one cd with with the second cello concerto and the second cello sonata, and le muse et le poete (with Joshua Bell), all of it Saint-Saens, that really stands out for me amongst his recordings, and it is on the DeMunck.

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On 12/9/2020 at 7:02 PM, Kyle Lee said:

Thanks for the information, I should have started with normal form "B" but what can I do about what I already started :) Do people generally prefer cellos with wider and longer bodies? in terms of sound??

someone said to me that if the instrument have narrower bout(compared to normal one) arch should be higher for structural stability, is that right?? does curtate cycloid work like this??

The form you are using is not bad at all, I happened to hear cellos made on that form that sounded good, albeit in a rather bright register when compared to wider cellos. People's preferences are quite variable, many look for a deeper and richer low frequency sound, while others favor the ergonomics (comfort) that a narrower body offers. So don't worry, there will surely be someone out there that will like your cello. Ergonomics often overrides sound (within certain limits...) in the vast majority of cases, and there are far more students than professional cellists and soloists who have to play over a full orchestra.;)

As for the archings, I would rather say the opposite. Wide cellos need higher and more robust archings both to achieve greater structural strength and to move the bridge higher to achieve a better relationship between the height of the bow's contact point with the strings and Cs. Narrower-bodied cellos are inherently stiffer, so they could be fine with lower archings and thinner thicknesses (with the same material properties, of course). This doesn't mean you can't use high archings on narrow cellos, but you have to be careful not to end up with too much rigid structure.

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1 hour ago, Davide Sora said:

The form you are using is not bad at all, I happened to hear cellos made on that form that sounded good, albeit in a rather bright register when compared to wider cellos. People's preferences are quite variable, many look for a deeper and richer low frequency sound, while others favor the ergonomics (comfort) that a narrower body offers. So don't worry, there will surely be someone out there that will like your cello. Ergonomics often overrides sound (within certain limits...) in the vast majority of cases, and there are far more students than professional cellists and soloists who have to play over a full orchestra.;)

As for the archings, I would rather say the opposite. Wide cellos need higher and more robust archings both to achieve greater structural strength and to move the bridge higher to achieve a better relationship between the height of the bow's contact point with the strings and Cs. Narrower-bodied cellos are inherently stiffer, so they could be fine with lower archings and thinner thicknesses (with the same material properties, of course). This doesn't mean you can't use high archings on narrow cellos, but you have to be careful not to end up with too much rigid structure.

Thanks for cheering me up and yes! the measurement of poster that says arching high of belly is 24.5mm and 26.6mm for the back. Even allowing for expected deformation, I'd rather not go beyond 28 for the belly and 27 for the back.

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