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German Guarneri Cello


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Hey ya'll.  I'm trying to get a little more info on this cello a client brought in.  It belonged to his late wife and he wants it restored but only if he can break even after selling it.  From what I can see, it needs about $2k worth of repair to bring it up to snuff.  

I'm not terribly familiar with what I suspect is a trade cello.  Anybody out there have any more info and perhaps a ballpark value once restored?  It actually sounds pretty great considering it's been sitting for 20 years, has multiple busted seems, old strings and is just in a wretched state.  

Thanks in advance! 









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1 hour ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

That looks like a pretty cheap cello, may not be worth $2000 fully set up, what exactly is wrong with it?

That was may assessment as well, just wanted to make sure.  Like I said, I'm not too familiar with trade cellos.  Top plate has to come off to repair a number of cracks and someone glued a lower bout on with wood glue.  Lower block is cracked horizontally along with the lower ribs.  Fingerboard dressing. Couple popped seems on the back plate.  One corner needs to be built up and matched, plus some edges need to be cleaned up and touched up.  New fittings. Bridge. Post. Strings.  Yada yada.  

Thanks for your insight.  Much appreciated. 

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I'm a cello teacher and I don't know much about instrument valuation (although I'd not be surprised to pay 2500 Euros for an instrument like this in good condition and well-setup), but I can tell you how I approach helping a student buy an instrument. My pupils usually buy instruments in the 2000~4000 Euro price range.

First, I look at wether the instrument looks stable, wood wise, in the sense that there are no cracks (repaired or otherwise) or deformations that point toward badly cured or weak wood. (a bending neck, for instance is an expensive thing to repair) So what that is concerned, this cello, if well repaired, is a good candidate. The neck has held up to being strung for a long time, there seem to be no cracks due to badly cured woods, the bass bar hasn't sunken in, and all this for about 100~120 years is something that makes me trust it wont for a long time to come. The cracks that are there are in non essential places (no broken off button, no SP crack (and I check for a badly damaged sp position on the inside of the cello with a dentists mirror), no bass bar crack, no long lower nut crack, no peg box crack) and can easily be repaired, and there is negligable chance of them opening up.

What I don't like are the damaged edges, and it will be a lot of work to repair those satisfactorily, but if you say you have calculated that into the repair costs, then fine.

Otherwise, I will judge its playing qualities and sound. In this price catechory, for me, these are absolutely the most important criteria (and I think that up to a point, these really aren't that subjective). You say it sounds good so that is a plus. The playing qualities, (string response and the coloring of the sound) are likely hard to judge now, in this state, so you'll have to take a gamble on that. You sound like you have full trust in your setup-skills, so that should be good then. I think most costumers will find that the cello has considerable charm, because of its age. So yeah, provided it plays well and sounds good, in repaired condition and well set up (good end pin, tail piece and high quality strings!), I would absolutely not hesitate to give my ok to a student of mine considering buying the cello for something like 2500 Euros. I'd explain that at least 600 Euros of those are "perishable"; they are what you pay for strings and a good setup, the qualities you as a maker add to the cello. If one wishes to sell the cello in 5 years, it is likely much of that needs to be redone.

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