Thursday, September 13, 2007


What an off week this has been...

My wolf has been prowling. Humidity has jumped after our recent constant incessant rains (another reason to dislike autumn, here). Setting the eliminator to bury the E/F wolf creates a booming overtone around C#/D on the g-string. The note actually *plays* clean, but it sounds so much louder than any of the others. If I slide the eliminator a little up or down on the string to try to dampen the booming, it holds it at bay - temporarily. But, then a day or so later it shows up again somewhere else - one morning it had moved down as far as the B. At my lesson last week it was affecting my C - only on the g-string.

Has anyone else experienced this kind of unexpected result with their wolf eliminators? Any suggestions?

All week, I've struggled with fingering - not intonation, but making my fingers play whichever notes I want them to. My eye-mind/finger coordination is out of calibration, somehow.

At Monday's orchestra rehearsal, it wasn't any better, but I muddled through. Wednesday, our cello trio met to rehearse and it was really tough. Today's practice session was so frustrating, I just quit early.

Of course all this frustration makes that little devil on my left shoulder chuckle: "I told you it was too late to start playing..." "What made you think you could learn to play an instrument..." - the usual blather that bubbles up from my bottomless vat of insecurities on dreary rainy days like today.

I'll climb out of this...

Meanwhile, here's the cat showing off his snowshoes:

Love that cat photo!

Sometimes I wonder if I will every really be a "cellist," but for me (and I am older than you are!), the journey toward being a cellist is worth the effort, and I think it is for you too. Enjoy the little accomplishments and the satisfaction of, even occasionally, producing those glorious cello sounds.

As for the wolf, I would check with my teacher or string shop. It could be the change of season that is causing the changes.
It seems to me you and your cello are in sync. and are both reacting to the changing seasons. Look upon it as a good omen! You'll both settle down sooner or later and make beautiful music together.
And never ever say you are too old for anything!
a very practical cello teacher once gave me this hint - which works perfectly for my "e" wolf. Get a piece of press-stick (blu tack? I'm not sure what they call it where you are - you know the stuff you use to hang posters and stuff on the wall, it's gummy and usually white or blue), experiment with blobs or rolled out bits, and put it where you'd put the wolf eliminator. The advantages over the wolf eliminator are numerous
* it's cheap
* you can adjust the weight easily by adding or subtracting the amount you stick on
* you don't get the "rattle" from the eliminator
* it's dead easy to adjust up and down and move
* if you have a sympathetic wolf note (I have one on my G string, and occasionally an echo on my D string) you just grab another piece!

Hope it works for you!
Wow, is that one of those special 6-toed cats? Those are some snowshoes.

Here's hoping you and your pack of wolves find some peace & harmony this week.
I hope your cello playing is on an upward swing. I think playing and progress is cyclical and that you're still making progress during those awful frustrating weeks even though it doesn't feel like it.

Those are some impressive snowshoes! Your cat must have to shake those feet pretty hard when walking around in the snow!
It's funny isn't it how challenging everything can be sometimes!
Have you read John Holt's book - never too late - I'm guessing you probably have -I'm mid read at the moment! It's just lovely about his musical and cello journey. I'd read his books about childrens education etc! Very interesting !
Yup, a polydactyl - he originally had 25 toes (now 24). All those extra digits make him pretty clumsy.

My cello and I are doing better, now. We just kept at it, and eventually got past whatever was blocking us. Thanks for all the support and encouragement.
My cello is wolfy beyond belief. I have two suggestions that may help, as they have relieved a lot of the gnarl on my own axe. A short term fix is to squeeze the cello with your knees on the offending note. It causes the top to flex, thus confusing the properties of the wood enough to mar the frequency cancellation. That one came to me via Andrew Cook. The other is a shop-centered fix, which involves the placement of a weight on the face of the instrument at precisely the place where the note exits the body. The improvement in timbre with this method compared to the wolf eliminator is meaningful. The note doesn't mute or pop or zing. It may require additional vibrato, but I have found great success with this, and the adhesive that was used has not been a detriment to the varnish at all.
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