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Note to self when trading my cello for a new cello
I need to remember to check to make sure the fingerboard is normal width.
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cid
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June 25, 2019 - 10:19 pm
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I have noticed something that I have to pay attention to the next time I trade in my cello for another. Trading up is a way I can afford to get to the cello I will finally stay with. If you want to know why, ask and I will explain in a different thread.

The best of my cellos (Belle) really feels good in my hands; she is also my newest. It is extremely comfortable. After I bought her about three months ago and brought it home, I played it and loved it. I put it on its stand next to Ada. I noticed the neck looked slightly narrower, but was not sure. I measured Belle at the nut, I measured Monte at the nut and I measured Ada at the nut. Yep, Belle was narrower. I checked other places too. The body itself is normal. I found out that the violin shop will occasionally get a cello like this because there are people who like and/or need the narrower neck. It feels really good to hold, but I am discovering an issue that I did not have with the simpler songs I was playing.

Now, narrower neck also means the strings are a little closer together because the fingerboard is a tad narrower all the way down, but just a tad. The curve on the bridge seems to be curved more, also. I am doing the sonata for cello that has much more difficult fingering and bowing than songs I knew when I was playing this cello in the violin shop. I am having issues playing the sonata on my lovely cello.

I try the same song on Monte. Monte does not sound nearly as good as Belle. He also does not project as well as Belle. Monte is a lower end student cello. The sound and projection gives me issues with Monte because I am so in love with l, and used to l, the projection of Belle. But, the fingering and bowing on Monte is so much easier (easier, not easy because I have issues with the sonata). What a pickle.

When Belle is paid for, I think about 3 months, I will be trading Belle in for an upgrade or lateral change (I can trade her for one of equal or greater value, minus whatever cost to prepare her for resale.) I have to remember to pay attention to the width of the fingerboard. Monte and Ada feel fine in my hand, so the normal neck will not be an issue. Belle just felt different and I noticed it right away, just did not know why she felt so comfortable and had no idea they came in different widths like that. It is a 4/4 cello, just the fingerboard is different.

I will have to remember that when I test cellos in about 3-4 months.

I can play simpler songs fine on Belle, this sonata is different and I can feel myself fighting Belle with it. Since this is a more advanced song, will be best to get a cello that will allow me to advance.

Strange how that tiny width change affects it like that. I can’t remember exactly what the measurement difference was, but it was minute, even though in my hand it made a big difference.

I love Belle, but she does not work for me as smoothly as a cello with a normal width fingerboard.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Irv
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June 26, 2019 - 7:02 am
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@cid .  If the cello is otherwise satisfactory, check to see if there is any room available on the fingerboard to increase the string spacing by recutting (or replacing) the nut and bridge.  The outer strings can be spaced very near the edge of the fingerboard and still work.  

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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cid
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June 26, 2019 - 7:49 am
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The strings definitely cannot be moved over. The C and A are where the fingerboard curves downward.

I am not a fan of modifying a good instrument from the way it was built. Maybe an inexpensive one would be fun to play around with. This is what I consider not to be inexpensive. It is not a $10k cello, but more than $4k and I am not interested in messing with it. Also, if you do that and it does not sound right afterwards, there goes the trade-in value. Poof, out the window. The trade-in value will be poof out the window even if it does sound good afterwards because I messed with it. It would cost to do that anyway. I intend to trade it in a few months, as I work my way up to the cello I have my eye on, a Jay Haide I played. I might be able to swing it with this trade.

I am not talking having my eye on a $10k cello. The only one I liked more than this one was a little more than this one, but I am strict with my monthly budget and the next one up would have been a little over what I was allowing. So, I am working my way up. This gives me time to make sure I want to pop for it, also. So far, I do. I am loving this cello playing. Having played the sonata on Monte, with its normal width fingerboard, I know I can do it, just have a difficulty with this cello’s narrow neck and more curved bridge. Just a few more months to go.

I will be trying other cellos in the Jay Haide range to make sure about that one. That was the only one in that price range I tried because I knew it was just above what I was allowing. I tried it for the heck of it. I know it has a normal width fingerboard, but it felt really good, too. The body of the cello felt nice and the sound was wonderful. We will see when the time comes. Until then, I will just muddle through. Won’t be long.

Who knows, I might find one that is an even trade. There was one I wanted to try that is the same price as my current one. It was out for home trial. It was out the last time we were there, too. We were there a month and a half ago getting something done to a viola. Oh, geared pegs. I played cellos while I waited. Such fun. But, that one was still out, or out again. Dave remembered I wanted to try that one and told me before I had time to ask. But I got to try the luthier’s newest cello he made. Wow! Loved it more than the first cello he made that I tried when I bought my current cello.

Irv, I am going to PM you about the strings you PM’d me about. Have a question.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Irv
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June 26, 2019 - 8:41 am
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Replacing a nut does not devalue an instrument.  Held in with hide glue.  A two minute job for a luthier.  A little more work to shape a bridge (perhaps an hour).  If room was available, I would do that before I considered instrument replacement.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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intrepidgirl
Bragg Creek, Alberta
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June 27, 2019 - 11:44 pm
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@cid Very interesting observation. I have long skinny fingers, maybe you could send Belle my way. Seriously though, I agree every instrument will feel different. It is interesting that you did not see or measure the exact difference until you purchased your cello. Maybe a good lesson is to bring your old one with you when shopping, or have a take-home test period with the new so you can more thoroughly explore how she works. Best of luck in your upgrade/change out of Belle.

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cid
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June 28, 2019 - 11:04 am
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intrepidgirl said
@cid Very interesting observation. I have long skinny fingers, maybe you could send Belle my way. Seriously though, I agree every instrument will feel different. It is interesting that you did not see or measure the exact difference until you purchased your cello. Maybe a good lesson is to bring your old one with you when shopping, or have a take-home test period with the new so you can more thoroughly explore how she works. Best of luck in your upgrade/change out of Belle.

  

I don’t think people bring a measuring tape when they look for a cello, viola, or violin, or guitar for that matter. I am not complaining about Belle. She is really comfortable and has a great sound. Just, for this bowing and fingering, for me, she is not working as well as the average width fingerboard. For the simpler songs that I was doing at the time of the purchase, it was great.

I don’t think there is any “lesson” here because I did nothing wrong. I just wanted to point out to others how the subtle differences of an instrument make a difference in level of play, by posting my experience. Two reasons students, and probably professionals trade up, or just get a different instrument without exactly “trading up” may be due to a change in their ability, or type of playing.

Bringing a cello with me in my car is really not practical, and I really do not think it is necessary. I doubt anyone, or very few people, do that. I would have had to bring two cellos home with me if I had brought a cello with me. 

When I purchased that cello, a trial at home was going to yield the same results because I have not been doing this sonata for that long. That trial period would have been with the same songs, and by the time I started the more advanced fingering and bowing, the trial period would have been over.

You can do home trials with that violin shop. They also have a very good trade-in policy of instruments you purchase from them. Personally, I either buy something, or I don’t. I am there testing instruments all afternoon when I go. One reason I go on Tuesday or Wednesday, it is their slowest time.

When I purchased Belle, I knew I would be trading her in after she was paid for. I am stepping up to keep payments low. I am not interested in taking money out of the bank, and I do not pay interest. I had a plan, as I did with the violin and viola, to work my way up to the instrument I want, within reason. I won’t spend beyond a certain amount for an instrument for recreation, even by doing baby steps.

I have had three months on Belle, longer than a home trial, to figure out what I like and do not like about her. More likes. I will have another three months while I finish paying her off. When I bring her in, I will get full amount I paid for her towards the new one, unless something happens to her between now and then. I am extremely careful with my instruments. If something happens, they just deduct the cost of getting it fixed from the amount of trade in value towards the new one. I have always received full purchase price of the instrument I am trading in towards a new instrument of equal or greater value. This system works very well for me. The one I have my eye on is more money than Belle was, but, Belle was a good between instrument. The one I have my eye on is a little higher quality level than Belle, which I was aware of then. Belle was a good step up from my extreme student level cello, that was not purchased there.

When I trade Belle in, I will again, spend an entire afternoon playing, and letting their cellist play multiple instruments, and repeat the process on those that catch my ear. The look of the instrument is not as important, it is the sound. I often close my eyes when their cellist is playing. I lucked out that Belle is super pretty. Nice reddish tint, not red red.

So, I do not feel I did anything wrong. Everything I do when searching out an instrument at the violin shop, is calculated by my plan and expenses.

I hope I cleared up the purpose of my post. 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 1, 2019 - 4:14 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14472

You live, you learn. 😁
It's definitely something to be aware of and thanks for the post. It will give others interested in learning cello something to think about as well.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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