Ive seriously considered picking up the cello. Im curious from others who have done this, how has it changed your violin playing?
I play/read piano so reading the notes isnt an issue until i started going through some cello music. I thinkmy fingers might get confused. Open C looks like 1st finger on g to me, is this a major hurdle for others?
I have restrung a standard fiddle as a viola C3 / G3 / A4 / D4 (not a viola C I tried that, but it was far too low tension compared to the other strings (the original fiddle strings), it's a C intended for a 5-string EV) - and - apart from some "initial confusion" where the fingers just want to go where they usually go on fiddle ( if you know what I mean ) - within a couple of hours it's straightforward. The cello I believe is just the same - but another octave down from the viola tuning.
I say it is straightforward - that may depend of course on just exactly how "tightly" a player is "locked-in to reading music off the sheet" and hence the "automatic-once-learned" fingering.... I don't know about that, just conjecture, since once I have a tune familiarized, I just play from memory. I *do* read sheet (slowly), but rarely play from it, so I don't have that "close relationship" between the scored-notes and finger positions that others may have.
What I have not yet experienced however is the difference in the physical separation distance that's going to occur between semi-tones on either a real viola (and more so for cello).... I rather suspect if you are happy with finger positions for various keys / scales on violin, and a confident sight-reader it will be no real problem - just get used to the bass clef, and stretch those fingers ! I'm sure you'll be fine !
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
cdennyb: beautiful woodwork! I am dabbling in cello along with violin and I find that if I play it consistently, my fingers "remember" the spacing, as in the violin mostly. There is obviously more room for error but it is not too bad, very similar.
Biggest change for me was the music is written with bass clef rather than treble so if I practice cello and then violin in the same evening, my brain gets a bit confused.
Have fun, I love it as a complementary instrument to my fiddle.
Learning cello: watch the cello talks series but don't take notes (and don't use rosin as much as he suggests), then listen to the german guy (he's got some good ideas but it's basically learn all 3-octive scales and then speed them up). The left hand finger stretch is a big deal so you have to work on it, but its do-able. I have the most trouble with hitting the g on the d string (4th finger). Strings are very expensive so I bought Jargar for the a-d and helicore for the g-c because they will last for the rest of my life and they sound really good. The Essential Elements for cello is a good starting book. If you are going to play both, you must play both. Staying with cello for a week, will cause stumbling on violin for a day when you return to it, but as always, the more you do the better it will be.
There is no really good place on the net for beginners to talk about cello, so it is my hope that this place will be more active so that we can all learn as we go. Besides, I like seeing FM pop in from time to time and give some encouragement.
I dont think it will harm you violin play at all.
im actually the opposite of you ,i just ordered a violin and i am going the self taught route. I played the cello for 8 years when i was younger, but stopped first year college due to a plethora of factors (mostly girls and alcohol). I was really into it, was lead cellist in stringed orchestra, quartet that went around to different local events/churches/fairs/ etc.. not saying im yoyo ma, but i did look up the the guy.
Fast forward a decade and here i am trying to relive my youth, except a full sized cello I decided violin due to its portability. So from a cello player, here are things that come to mind...
OP, you said that you play piano so reading the bass notes arent and issue, its just getting used to the fingering as you already stated. It's all muscle memory in my opinion.
-Imagine a ball in you palm, the fingerboard is bigger and you going have to use you pinky to reach higher notes. This helped me keep my fingers extended and move around easily and i never really had hand cramps.
-I slid the tip of my thumb on the back of the neck, dont hold it flat.
Holding the bow is similar, pinky is a closer to the ring finger..well all the fingers are closer to each other... you should be able to handle fine...You're better off than most people because u have prior string experience. I'm at work right now, gotta wrap this up, but if u have any questions, etc post and ill do my best to respond
I started taking cello before violin. I am still a the beginning stage, book 2. I do find that since I started learning violin 3 months ago, that my cello has actually improved. I don’t do them back to back because I get confused with the change from bass clef to treble without some time berween the two.
i can’t do lessons on both at the same time, would cost a fortune, but I am continuing cello on my own. So far, it seems to be working out just fine.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”
Considering just the size, I have no difficulty switching between classical guitar and soprano uke. I can make a guess that muscle memory (by its nature) doesn't really have a problem memorising different instruments, in adition to what's going on with one instrument. That's not to say the necessary practice won't be required, of course!
Gordon, it is weird. I thought that when I decided to give the violin a shot, the distance between fingers, instrument orientation, etc would be an issue. Strange thing is that it seems that when I hold the violin in the left hand the neck seems to dictate that it is not a cello. That is the only way I can figure that I do not seem to have an issue adjusting the fingering differences, even with the different orientation of the strings. Kind of surprised me. I seem to adjust when switiching with no problem.
Wonder if it is memory from the feel of the different neck widths registering with me. It is strange that my cello has improved since the violin was added, but I am very pleased. My violin is much more portable.
I find playing a song in the key of G easier in my cello, but it is helping me get it easier on my violin. It is easier to do the natural C followed by a B on the cello than the violin. I have issues with it on the violin. The natural C is too close to the B on the violin to be done easily by me, I have fat fingers. Just have to get used to it and get the touch memorized or imprinted, but it is taking longer. Getting better, though. Other things on the violin are easier than the cello and the violin has helped with that.
I also find that if I have the same song in both cello and violin, I can use the one instrument to help with the other instrument. I did not expect that. When I took cello, the Suzuki book was used. Now the violin instructor is using Suzuki. Most of the book one Suzuki violin are in Suzuki cello book 1 or 2. Songs I had issues with on the cello were helped by my playing it on the violin. The reverse is also true. Luckily for me, I have not come across a song that gives me issues on both.
One song is in my cello book 2 but not in my violin book 1. But, it is very simple and could have been in the cello book one instead of the middle of book two. I got out my staff paper and did up the treble clef version. I love that song and wanted to do it on my violin. It is an easy song and using notes that have been covered in my classes, so it was doable. Sometimes the progression of songs in the Suzuki books do not make sense to me, LOL.
I hope the original poster followed through and started cello, too.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”
Down the pub my uke friends asked me, "why don't you take up the cello?"
I replied, "because it would cost thousands, and I've have to schlepp the b*****d around with me."
On a more serious note, it might be nice to have a cello at home and solo on it as a form of meditation, but then I had that idea about the CG until I decided, no I'd rather have a social life. Hence the uke and the violin. And one day the viola probably. Mind, if all second violin parts are as boring as the Blue Danube, I don't know if I made the right choice!
I have a viola. After I get the violin down smooth, not to the point that I sound great, but know what I am supposed to do to make it sound good, and can pretty much do it, I will switch to viola lessons and then see which I want to take actual lessons for and adapt for the other. I have no desire to play in public, it is for my enjoyment, so details are not a worry, not sure I said right. Not after performance quality, just my own satisfaction, so this plan will work for me, and then progress from there for as long as I can. My sister-in-law said that I should get a song I can play on my cello and violin. Record my cello, play the recording while recording the violin! LOL I have yet to get through a song error-free on either. It would be interesting. I could try it with an easy one, though. There is a violin simple song that I can play with the D, A and E strings and then I move it down to the G, D and A strings. Sounds viola-like that way. Maybe I could do cello, then record cello with the D, A, E violin strings, then record that with the G, D and A string violin. ? Some day when I am better on cello and violin.
I love the mellow sounds of cello but it is not very portable. My husband often moves it to my chair in the house so I can play it when my back is giving me issues. Two days ago we rearranged the livingroon. I now have my favorite cello, Ada, on its stand closest to my chair. She looks really nice there. Very much on display in all her shiny glory! I can just get her when I want. Monte (Monte Cello - named by the husband of the owner I bought him from) is at the other end of my livingroom. Belle is between the two.
Favorite cello in order are: Ada, Belle and Monte.
Price from lowest to highest; Ada, Belle and Monte. Weird.
Ada - Music store, city 45 mins away, that majors in guitars, drums, keyboards, but sells orchestral instrument books for that city’s local orchestra players;
Belle - Pawn Shop in the same city I bought Ada in (45 mins away);
Monte - I purchased from the wife of the owner of our local music store that deals mostly with guitars, and the like, but does have a couple violins and odd instruments and an extremely helpful and friendly staff.
I am trying to find info on Ada. She is a tad different, has an inside label, and really belts out a tune! Waiting for my strings from Fiddlershop to arrive that should quiet her down a little. I will put the ones on her onto Monte to liven him up, the Preludes on him sound like duds now. Never liked them much, so not too sad about that.
I should start a post here in the cello section and provide the info I have on Ada but it does not seem like this cello section gets visited much. Maybe one of the other topics will fit this inquiry. Will have to check. I know she is worth more than I paid for her and the cost after to get her playable, but I don’t think it is a $10,000 cello. Maybe advanced student but I am not sure because of the quality of her sound.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”
Funny, Fiddlerman. My husband was at a pawn shop when I was at a pawn shop in Syracuse while I was taking a freemotion quilting class. He saw Belle (my second cello) there and texted me a photo and asked if I was interested for $125. Of course! He bought it. They had asked for $150, they took $125.
The next Saturday I had the second of three lessons in Syracuse for freemotion quilting. He went to that same pawn shop in Syracuse again, saw a bass! He almost bought it. He asked me about it when he came to pick me up at the quilt shop. I almost told him we should, but we downsized and have a smaller house. I was not interested after thinking it through. So we did not get the bass. I imagine keeping strings in the bass would have been really expensive.
That pawn shop in Syracuse is interesting to poke around in. They had some violins this past Fall (2018). They were working on them but brought them out so I could see them. I didn’t think they were going to be able to fix them very easily and the prices they were going to be asking was more than I wanted to spend. The glue around the edges of all of them was all bubbled and cracked. The tuning pegs looked dried out on a couple. They all had issues.
We will be going back again in a couple weeks, if it isn’t snowing, and see if the one they said they were working on when we were there right before Christmas is ready. Actually was looking for a good, medium weight wooden violin bow, and we are thinking the bow might be good if they had another violin. Should have asked to see that violin they were working on when we were there before Christmas, but we didn’t.
Why check it out for the bow, you ask? The bow that came with Belle (my $125 pawn shop cello) is fantastic! Music shop in my area, 45 minutes from Syracuse, said it was worth more than the price I paid for the cello. I love that bow and it is my go to cello bow. So, we are hoping for the same thing for a violin bow.
I prefer a wood bow. I prefer a little more weight than the carbon, actually viola bow weight. I am using my viola bow for my violin. So, maybe checking old violins that come with bows at that pawn shop will get me my wood violin bow.
Anyway, almost bought a bass. I could be Thomasima Smothers! I can do sarcasm like Tom Smothers used to do with his brother, Dick.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”
Gordon (Alf), We never went to a pawn shop until we spent time in Vegas. There was a pawn shop by a JoAnns Fabric Store in Henderson and we went there when I went to JoAnns. When we came back east permanently, we finally visited the pawn shop in Syracuse that we drove by many times. It is actually fun. They had an electric mandolin there once. I thought of my sewing friend who started wintering in Florida and took up mandolin down there. Then I started laughing, picturing her playing it like some teen with an electric guitar. Got some strange looks from people. LOL It was just so funny to me.
We are going to stop in again when we get out that way again, when there is no snow, we are supposed to be getting some starting tonight, and Syracuse gets more, so it might be a while if Winter settles in. Hopefully, it won’t come to pass, or maybe hold off until after next week. Rarely buy anything at the pawn shop, but fun to look.
We tried the pawn shop in our nearby city. It was not interesting at all and not fun. It was jewelry (luckily for my husband I am not into that), and tools. A lot of air conditioning units (would never buy one at a pawn shop), and things like that. Won’t go there again. Too bad, it is closer.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”