Wednesday, February 22, 2006

 

The A string has cut into the bridge


Today, I was not at all happy with the sound from the cello. The outside temperatures had fallen a bit, and humidity was maybe lower. After a while, the G string seemed to open up a bit and began to sound OK. The C also eventually sounded a bit better (although still muddy). But D and A remained shrill, squeeky, and whiney. I tried detuning and retuning; I tried more rosin; I tried different bow tensions; I tried different finger pressures and locations - with no improvement.

I gave up after an hour and a half and carefully inspected the strings with a magnifying glass. I found that the A string had cut a deep channel into the bridge, so that the top of the string was below the top of the bridge (supposedly only a third of the string's diameter should be "in" the wood). The D string was also cut in a bit, but not as bad.

On the Cello.org forums there have been some discussions about filling these cuts with superglue and then gluing a piece of parchment over the top before restringing it. I ordered some parchment online (along with some books), and it should arrive in a few days. Meanwhile, I recalled seeing some advice online (I can't find where, though) that suggested slipping a short piece of small diameter plastic tubing over the string to sit on the bridge. The smallest diameter I could find came from a ball point pen ink cartridge. I cut a few 1/8 inch lengths and slipped them over the A and D strings at the bridge. I was able to retune, but I didn't play long enough to tell if there was any improvement. I'll see tomorrow. If not, I guess I'll try the superglue without the parchment. In any case, as soon as my new cello arrives, I'll be playing on a new bridge...

I didn't hear from the strings store in CA today. I "hoped" they'd call, but I really didn't expect them to. I will call them after lunch tomorrow...

Meanwhile, I'm frantically trying to find where I saw that "trick"...

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