Wednesday, October 18, 2006

 

Wolfless!



I started with the 5-gram weight on the g-string. It really didn't do much; my E still screeched; I moved it up and down, but with little noticeable improvement. So I moved it over to the d-string and, immediately, I was playing a new cello! Warmer, richer, cleaner. Very noticeable on the g-string and the d-string. Some improvement on the a-string - it was obviously not as "brassy" as before. Even the c-string had a step change in quality. I could see the improvement in the spectrums on my tuner.

All this time I thought it was me! (Not that I still don't have a LONG way to go.) It all really sounded better, but there was still just a hint of screeching, so I tried the 7-gram weight, which appears to have totally muzzled that wolf! I had gotten so that I almost dreaded playing E or F-natural on a string crossing, because if I didn't hit the exact point, it sounded so sour... Even F sharp and G didn't really sound good. That made it hard to be very satisfied with my current Suzuki pieces, since they all seem to predominantly use the d-string.

Really, it sounds remarkably better. I can't believe how long I tolerated it. It was fun playing through my pieces. For the first time in a long time, I liked how I/we sounded. What a good feeling.

I'm patiently working my way through the three orchestra pieces. We're working on a piece called "Painted Desert" by Anne McGinty. The cello part is good, the whole is great! Our orchestra is beginning to come together as a unit, we are starting to smile at each other when something good happens, and yet grin encouragingly when someone royally misses one. Being the sole cellist, when I miss one, it is noticed. This pressure sure is a good motivator to make me practice a lot between rehearsals.

Yesterday, I mentioned another blogging cellist, who lives in Austria, and uses the name Mig. He is a very talented writer. He left a comment recommending another blogging cellist(!), Ruth, who lives in France, and is also quite an engaging writer - her blog is Meanwhile, Here in France. I'd run across her blog earlier this year but then lost the link. I've added both of these to my sidebar.

Comments:
Wow, I'm in complete awe of your mastery of wolf tone elimination. Congratulations on such a success. And on the orchestra, too.

The wolf eliminator looks pretty. Who would think a few grams of weight below the bridge would make such a difference.
 
It still sounded much nicer this morning, so I wasn't just imagining it all.

I made several minute adjustments up and down the string, today. Now I've got something else to tinker with.

At first I was sort of depresed that my beloved cello was flawed with a wolf. Like getting the first chip in the windshield of a new car (that happens a lot up here). But after putting on that eliminator, I haven't looked back...
 
Not a flaw, a sign of quality! It saddens me to say this, PFS, but no wolf is not a good sign.

My inexpensive (ok, cheap) laminate cello has very little wolfishness. My good expensive cello definitely has some wolf. I can play through it, so it's not so much that I want to put on an eliminator, yet. But I might try one in the future, especially in view of Guanaco's favorable experience.

I think if I started with my good cello I would have been very frustrated and disappointed. Too many things to work on to be distracted and discouraged by the equipment.

Did you find that the wolfishness came out more on up bows? It does for me. Up bows are still a weak point for me. If I get a weak sound or a scratchy note, it's always on an up bow.
 
Yeah, up bows were worse for me too. Still a weakness, especially trying to play the slow, quiet half and whole notes.

I spent way too many hours getting frustrated from trying to play through my wolf, thinking that my inexperience and low skill level were at fault.
 
The luthier who sold me my cello later installed something on the inside of it that eliminated my wolf. It looks as if what you're using would have been a lot simpler.
 
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