Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Maybe they'll ship my new cello this week...

I called my strings store in California today, as promised. J seemed to need a moment to come up to speed on my order, even though this ought to be a pretty big sale for him. He said the luthier had looked at the one Jay-Haide a l'ancienne Ruggieri cello that they had at their store, but he didn't like it for some reason. He has located another one (from stock? from another store?) and is currently setting it up (fitting the pegs, setting the soundpost, installing the tailpiece, putting on the bridgeboard, stretching the strings, and planing the fingerboard if needed). Then he'll make fine tuning adjustments to all this, changing out individual strings as needed to make it sound the best. It was supposed to be done in a "day or so".

We went over the extra bridge, the Wittner tailpiece with integrated fine tuners, the carbon fiber enpin, and the second bow. I asked about the strings. He said they always put their best strings on this line of instruments, selecting the individual strings as needed to get the most out of it. Haide specifically designed this line of cellos for professionals, and would only send them out "ready-to-play". The case was on hand at the shop and ready for shipping. He hinted that it could all be ready to go out by Friday. I said I'd call back Thursday after lunch, if I didn't hear from him first. I'm beginning to worry that I won't have it in time for my Monday lesson - I'd like to show it to my teacher. More importantly, I want to start playing it, now. Oh well...

Today, I quickly worked through the first half of the Suzuki Volume 1 book, getting it pretty clean on the first run-through. I don't have any illusions, but I'm playing the first seven or eight pieces pretty cleanly - technically - with good intonation (lots of ringing tones, now), smooth bowing, and appropriate tempo. I'll always need to work on quality... I ran through "Rigadoon" today with no errors, and even a time or two on the "Etude"; not so far on "The Happy Farmer", but I did get the hooked bowing right once or twice.. Still working on the first half of the "Bach Minuet #2" (I can't believe I'm already playing Bach!).

I finished up by running through the songs from my mind. I pulled up another one today - "Onward Christian Soldiers" (somehow it feels a lot like "Battle Hymn of the Republic"). These must come from church or school choir when I was a kid? Just for a change of pace, I've been playing a lot of these pieces in the C major key, second octave (which starts on G+4), which requires all different fingering compared to working from the open strings. Even though the fingers have to go to new places for each note, for some reason they "know" where to go. I feel like this is building good mind / ear / finger coordination.

I'm trying to find a place to keep my new cello. There's not much available space left in the living room, but I have to move it away from the window with the direct sun and cold nights. It needs to be kept in its case. I have an eye on one place, but Y was cool to that one... She thinks I ought to keep it in the bedroom and lug it back and forth to the living room every time - or even just play it in the bedroom. I tried to explain that I really enjoy playing in the living room in the mornings while the sun is coming up in the southeast. It helps my playing. I don't think she gets it. I also told her it would only increase the likelihood that it will get scratched and dinged up going up and down two sets of stairs every time I take it out or put it back.

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