Sunday, June 29, 2008


New Strings

Yesterday I installed a new set of strings on my cello - Larsen A & D and Jargar G & C. Rather than experiment with anything new, I simply replaced what's been working fine - the old ones had been on for almost a year. It didn't take me long to switch them out, I guess I've done enough now that it was no big deal. I even rough-tuned them by ear, after first tuning in the D with a tuner; then I used octaves.

So today I fine-tuned it and started to play. A noticeable difference! Rich, warm, nice. I had purposefully left off the wolf eliminator just to make sure I still needed one... No surprise, it was lurking around the E, as before. I decided to try a lighter eliminator (the 5 gram one). It seemed OK, but then I noticed the Ds were "booming". I slid the eliminator up the string a sixteenth inch or so. That worked; the wolfy tone moved off somewhere between C# and D. All was well. I thought.

A half hour of playing later, I noticed a glint of shiny metal at the top edge of the eliminator. Dang, when I slid that eliminator forward, the sharp edge apparently cut the thin silver winding on the string and it was starting to unravel. I replaced the 5-gram eliminator with the original 7-gram one (which is a little longer) taking care to secure the cut edge inside the tensioned part of the eliminator. It was OK. But afterwards, I put the old string back on and sent an email to Ellen at Cellos2Go ordering a new one.

I'm slowly getting back into my practicing groove after a chaotic month.

So far, summer in Alaska has been lousy. Normally we can expect more than a dozen days above 70F, sometimes even breaking 80F. But this summer, so far, we've only seen one or two days above 60F. Lots of cold wind and clouds, and a few drizzles. Bummer. This is the time of year, with 19 hours of daylight, that the sun should shine brightly for all of those 19 hours.

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