Thursday, March 02, 2006


I love my new cello

It is so fine! The whole instrument hums with a rich, warm, throaty voice when I play it. I especially like the D and G strings, and C is much better than the rental was, but I'll need to get used to the A string. They say it can take a week or so of regular playing to "break in" a new string. The action (the height of the strings above the fingerboard) is much smaller at the nut, so I don't have to use near as much finger pressure to stop a note. In fact, I think I'll be able to play without the rubber fingertip cot that I've been using. It seems so much easier to play; I felt like I was getting the right notes in the right rhythm with fewer errors.

Afterwards, I closely inspected the whole cello with my magnifyer goggles, examining every seam and fitting. I noticed that the little cylindrical "ball" on the end of the A string, which fits into the notch on the fine tuner on the tailpiece, was off-center; so I loosened the string and reset it. But I didn't get a chance to try it out. I wanted to play for many hours, but I had a lot of other things to get done today.

My teacher called and we rescheduled my class for this Saturday at noon. I told her about my new cello and said I was hoping she'd like it as much as I do. I described my sensations so far, and she said it was not uncommon for a student to play better when their instrument sounded better. She said they always encourage their students to get the best cello they can afford for that very reason.

We stopped at a fabric store in town today and bought several yards of a dark burgundy nylon/silk material. Y is going to make a slipcover for my cello. When I come up with a name (currently, I'm thinking about Arthur, Ellwood, or Anya), she'll embroider that onto the cover. It will slide down over the neck like a tee-shirt with a slip cord to pull the bottom closed around the endpin. We also got a piece of dark green velvet and some black velvet to make slipcovers for each of the bows. I don't expect that this will protect them from physical damage, but they'll help keep everything cleaner and at a more consistent humidity. And it will also keep the rosin dust from spreading all over the case.

I can't wait to play again tomorrow. I feel like I made a lot of progress today on my four newest pieces. Still a long way to go, but I'm getting there. I even started picking out the final piece in the book (Bach's Minuet in C). Tomorrow I'm going to take some pics and post them on Cello Heaven.

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