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Just acquired a cello - help & advice please


PamB
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I have inherited a cello, which belonged to my great grandfather. As far as we know, he was given it in 1921 - but I know nothing more about its origins than that. It will obviously be going to a luthier to be checked out, but i wondered if any of these cracks are especially problematic. It won't tune as the pegs don't have enough friction, and I'm not brave enough to tension the strings that much either at the moment. The bridge had come off, but I've put that back on (I'm a violinist so not completely unaware of strings). What can anyone tell me about this instrument? Thanks.

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Edited by PamB
missed out some words.
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Do you want to play it or sell it?. To get it into playing condition could possibly be achieved with peg compound, a new set of strings and perhaps getting the soundpost adjusted. You are still left with the cracks. The problem with this is that, if you discover it sounds terrible you have wasted some money (cello strings are expensive compared to violin strings).

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6 minutes ago, Brumcello said:

Do you want to play it or sell it?. To get it into playing condition could possibly be achieved with peg compound, a new set of strings and perhaps getting the soundpost adjusted. You are still left with the cracks. The problem with this is that, if you discover it sounds terrible you have wasted some money (cello strings are expensive compared to violin strings).

I tried to compost one once – didn’t work either

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If you do tighten the strings, I would suggest tapping the top as you go to see if any of the cracks or (top or back) joint separations "resonate." If they do, they will probably resonate when you attempt to play it. Repairing cracks is a job for professionals. Regluing small joint separations with hide ("violin makers") glue, and artist's pallet knife and clamps is not tough at all.

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1 hour ago, Brumcello said:

Do you want to play it or sell it?. To get it into playing condition could possibly be achieved with peg compound, a new set of strings and perhaps getting the soundpost adjusted. You are still left with the cracks. The problem with this is that, if you discover it sounds terrible you have wasted some money (cello strings are expensive compared to violin strings).

I’d like to play it. No interest in selling at all. It has been played at some point in the last 20 years I believe, but I don’t know how much or what it sounded like.

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53 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

Before attempting to string this up, check the neck joint first, it doesn’t look in a good way, and would give you a fright if it suddenly flew out.

How do I do that?

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3 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

These are also better done by professionals, unless you want a pint of dried glue all over the inside.

Better, no doubt, but mine have been good enough since the first at least 60 years ago. When I lived out in the "boondocks" I had to do some 2 minute jobs myself rather than add at least one 6 hour round-trip to it.

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6 hours ago, PamB said:

How do I do that?

While holding the body of the cello with one hand, gently pull and twist the neck in every direction with the other.  While doing this, look closely at where the neck attaches to the body.  If the neck is solidly attached, there will be no movement at the neck/body attachment joint, so there's a better chance that this joint will be able to withstand string tension.  If there is motion at the joint, there a good chance that string tension would pull the neck off the body.

From your first picture, it is obvious that the neck broke away from the body at some point, and that the damage was badly repaired.  

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12 hours ago, PamB said:

I’d like to play it. No interest in selling at all. It has been played at some point in the last 20 years I believe, but I don’t know how much or what it sounded like.

One thought then (If you want to know what it sounds like without risking high cost). After taking the precautions already mentioned to avoid the neck snapping, contact a cellist or two and ask if they have any old strings you could borrow or have. Most cellists have a couple of sets of old strings lying around in case one breaks. 

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@PhilipKTThere are two bows -

one says 'golden strad' made in england. The other has no identifying marks, but is octagonal. What do you want to know/what bits do you want pics of? Music that's come with it is pretty standard Tune a day stuff. Nothing old.

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On 4/26/2021 at 6:42 AM, PamB said:

I have inherited a cello, which belonged to my great grandfather. As far as we know, he was given it in 1921 - but I know nothing more about its origins than that. It will obviously be going to a luthier to be checked out, but i wondered if any of these cracks are especially problematic. It won't tune as the pegs don't have enough friction, and I'm not brave enough to tension the strings that much either at the moment. The bridge had come off, but I've put that back on (I'm a violinist so not completely unaware of strings). What can anyone tell me about this instrument? Thanks.

1368009423_2021-04-2612_32_28.jpg

237659604_2021-04-2612_32_11.jpg

1889233070_2021-04-2612_31_58.jpg

808060398_2021-04-2612_31_34.jpg

993543292_2021-04-2612_31_09.jpg

2021-04-26 12.30.52.jpg

716969157_2021-04-2612_30_30.jpg

1042453405_2021-04-2612_29_42.jpg

2138115918_2021-04-2612_29_30.jpg

187238579_2021-04-2612_29_21.jpg

1271220528_2021-04-2612_28_58.jpg

1324200014_2021-04-2612_28_54.jpg

Ugg...

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21 hours ago, PamB said:

@PhilipKTThere are two bows -

one says 'golden strad' made in england. The other has no identifying marks, but is octagonal. What do you want to know/what bits do you want pics of? Music that's come with it is pretty standard Tune a day stuff. Nothing old.

These are not excellent photos but will give you an idea.

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F1573F32-105D-4BFE-80DC-F3B8209E7596.jpeg

CD836CCB-B005-4E4F-847F-6AD142A52595.jpeg

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