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help on recommending a luthier for repairing crack on my son's cello in DC area


alex2036
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UPDATE:

First of all, thanks every one replied, especially jacobsaunders and nathan slobodkin.

Second, so said, that I found a crack on C string side, while I was trying it and found the A string is superior (volume and base, felt like the entire cello is shaking and the house is shaking with it :), with its small size) while C, G and D has good bass but only half volume of A string.

The crack is about 5-6 inch. I must hit it some where when drove home or did not inspect close enough at the point of purchase (I spend 4 min to looking for crack on this cello when with the seller).

So, I will definitely see a luthier (probably with rehairing/new bow too).

Any one can recommend a good luthier in Fairfax, VA (DC area)? I only found 

Fairfax Fine Violins 10782 Fairfax Blvd ste b, Fairfax, VA 22030

Brobst Violin Shop 5584 General Washington Dr, Alexandria, VA 22312

Seems Fairfax Fine Violins's fee is 10-20% more than Brobst Violin Shop in general.

Any one has experience with the too or can recommend other luthiers in the area?

(sorry, complete new to music instrument, just start to learn string with my son who just start his sting class)

 

 

So my son want to lean cello and I brought him a used 1/2 Cello (The label says, HR String, Cleverland Ohio, Reg. H503, Model  9396, Oct. 1982), but he said the sound is not good (e.g. the C,G does not have enough bass). I think it is good enough, just not as good as his teaches $50K one.

So I brought him another one, this one certainly does sound deeper with more bass (when comparing to the other 1/2 cello). But it does not have any label in side.

It comes with two bows, one say Joseph Richter with very big tip and another bow does not have any name/brand but with a relatively smaller tip.

Both bows' hairs are old/loose, I called the local violin luthier, they said rehairing is about $70 and their brand new student cello bow is also $70.

Wishing if someone can provide some identification about the cello or bows. (if the bows does not worth more than $70, I probably will just buy their student cello bow instead of rehairing these two old bows).

Also, if some one can lecture me (newbie in music instrument), the seller told me this is 1/2 size, but when I got home, the newly brought cello (body length  24.5 inch) is smaller than my first 1/2 cello (body length 25.5 inch), so are these two bows, they are also shorter. So did he gives the wrong size information or there can be different size for 1/2 size cello? Is possible it is actual a size down from 1/2, may be 1/4?

 

The first set of pictures is the cello, the second set is the no-name bow that has small end tip than the other Joseph Richter bow (see the last picture), the last (third) set is the Joseph Richter bow, not sure if the regular factory bow that is no better than fire stick?

Many thanks

 

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thanks for replying, so I just run down and took out 4/4 violin bow and compared with this 1/2 cello bow (or may be 1/4 cello bow?), and found out that head of 4/4 violin bow is only 2/3 (or 1/2) size of that cello bow. Also, the unnamed cello bow seems much thicker then the violin bow.

I further took look, and found out that the unnamed cello bow tip is broken along with the top half of the white piece that is usually under the head of the bow, which make the tip of the head smaller. 

but even with the broken tip of the head, the head (bell shape?) itself is still kind smaller than Joseph Richter and my son's Glasser fiberglass bow (come with the first cello that I have brought), I will say it's head is only 80% of heads of Joseph Richter and my son's Glasser fiberglass bow.

 

Edited by alex2036
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2 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

The cello is a rather nice one from the Markneukirchen/Schönbach area from 1900ish, in unusually good condition. I hope your son appreciates it.

Definitely.

A good violin shop will be able to tell you if either of the bows are worth fixing/rehairing. If not since you seem to have lucked  out on the cello invest a few hundred in a decent bow and make sure to get a real appraisal on the cello before trading up to the next size. You want to be sure your son won’t  be  disappointed  in his next cello and you may be surprised at the value of this one when trading.

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  • alex2036 changed the title to help on recommending a lither on repairing crack on my son's cello in DC area

I can't recommend a luthier since I am in Germany, and I also cannot help identifieing this cello. But, being a cello teacher myself, I would like to highlight the role that a cello teacher can (and in my opinion should) play in decisions like these. When it comes to sound and playability, a cello teacher can usually judge very well if its worth it getting things fixed up. With less valueable bows, it really is hit and miss. Sometimes they look good but are terrible players, and vice versa. If you can get a good player for little money, then you lucked out, and sometimes it is worth to get a really cheap bow rehaired nonetheless, if it is one of the good players. I would suspect this cello to be a nice students cello worth it being restored (especially as it looks to be in rather good condition, likely you'll only need a new set of strings, heck, the lower two may actually still be in fine playing condition). What is more important than body size (there is no standard for fractionals, and especially older instruments vary wildly in their measurements) is the vibrating string length (between bridge and upper nut). If that is a lot shorter (more than a centimetre) than on your sons current cello, you will want to consult his cello teacher beforehand as that will influence the way the left hand is used.

So in my opinion before consulting a luthier, the cello teacher should be asked for an opinion about the equipment and if (s)he deems it good enough for the student.

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I can't see a crack in any of your photos.  Could you show a close-up photo of the problem.  Some cracks can be left alone, some need immediate attention.  Some can be fixed quickly from the outside, some need a repair that requires opening the cello.  Presumably you will want something done fast, so you can get it back before the next lesson, right?  It sounds like you've already shown it to at least one shop in the area.  What did they say about the repair and the cost?

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  • Shelbow changed the title to help on recommending a luthier for repairing crack on my son's cello in DC area

many thanks to every one trying to help me out here. I can finally reply (new member can only post few per day)

Hi, Richf,

Here are pictures. It is very thin crack (from bottom to where fine turner) After doing research on the forum.

It seems the crack is next to the bass bar. No gap or pop up between two sides of the crack. if I don't press down one side gently, a person probably can't tell (may be that is why I missed it at time of the purchase).

The cause of the crack seems like a hit by seller (I now see the crack on his post) at edge, and because edge inlaid is chipping away, the crack just keeps going.

Could you let me know if it needs to be opened to fix the crack or it can be repaired from outside without affect sound quality? (Open-up fix is about $700-$1000)

 

@baroquecello 

yes, I was planning to take it to my son's cello teach, to see what he says.

 

I also have two questions to gain my knowledge.

1) I have searched the forum and the internet, it seems 1/2 size cello is about 26" to 26.5" (e.g. my first 1/2 cello is 26.5 inch) However, this cello's body length is 24.5 inch. I have found a site saying 23-26 inch is consider 1/2 size cello. So who, where and when they make 1/2 size cello with 24.5 inch", because I cannot find any cello that is not 26 inch (ps: finger board is about 18-18.5 inch)

2) Open A string is very loud, then C, G and D strings have less volumes, could this cause by the crack or loose sound post or bass bar?

many many thanks

 

PS: Due to the crack, I have removed the bridge and loosing the strings to take away the tension from top. But I have no experience, I put it on the side, now the sound post falls down (probably because no tension pressing downward). I guess I have used all me luck. Well, at least I love the sound of the cello very much. hoping to fix it up soon and have my son to play it. He can't wait.

 

 

 

 


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Edited by alex2036
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I'll repeat: the body size is not as important as you seem to think. It is the vibrating string length, nut to bridge, that counts. Even with 4/4 cellos a wide variety (much wider than with violins!) of body shapes and sizes are possible, but it is the vibrating string length (approx 68~71 CM) that makes a 4/4 cello a 4/4 cello.

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I would think it possible to repair that crack with only partially not completely removing the top, you separate the outside area of the top up to but not inside of the crack, work glue into the crack by lifting the separated portion up and down, then clamp, finally glue the section of the top you have separated, the downside to this method is it provides no way to easily cleat the crack but it is much cheaper than removing the whole top. I say this because I don't think that is a bassbar crack, it seems to be well outside the bass bar position. 

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Yes this is common humidity/impact crack. Since the cello is not particularly valuable gluing it back without opening is OK, IMO. Luthier should have thin long-reach clamp that could reach at least to the end of the crack to glue in a stud to prevent further opening and keep it in plane and only then slighty open top seam around the cracked area to glue the crack with strong hide glue. Guitar makers do it all the time on guitars, though the guitar hole is somewhat bigger.

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Thanks  to every one. I will take it to luthier on weekend (may be brobstviolinshop, they are like 15 min away).

I also called the violin beautiful, they said the lower volume on strings other than A string, could be resulted from bass bar issue, but need to inspect in person to able to tell.

@baroquecello, thanks understand now.

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