Post #1: A Cellist without a Cello

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As some of you may know, I finally broke down and ordered the Lup-X wolf eliminator. The Neophyte Cellist uses one and recommended it, so I thought I’d give it a go. Surprisingly, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do: eliminates the wolf. It doesn’t move it; it just gets rid of it. Plus, it doesn’t dampen the sound on the whole string. Wow!

In the midst of playing around with it, I was checking each note on the cello to make sure the wolf hadn’t actually moved anywhere unexpected. As I’ve already said, it didn’t, but I discovered an absolutely atrocious buzzing on the E-flat on the G string. I removed the eliminator, fearing that it was the cause. It wasn’t, which was a relief — I’d hate to have to choose between having a raging wolf or a deafening buzz.

Not knowing much about cellos, I turned to my good friend Google for help. Usually, if a whole string is buzzing the string needs replacing (generally because the winding is coming undone) and if it’s a single note the fingerboard is uneven and needs filing. I was hoping it was the string, but after changing it out, the buzzing was just as bad.

The last month or so I’ve been thinking I need a bow rehair. I’ve had it nearly a year and lately it’s grip on the strings has been lacking and I’ve needed to tighten it a lot to get any tension at all. Plus, I’ve lost several dozen hairs by now, maybe more. Sadly, I only have one bow, so I’ve been reluctant to take it in for repair. I was waiting for something to go wrong with the cello itself and made a promise (to the bow) that I’d get her all fixed up next time the cello went wonky.

Thus, I am a cellist without a cello.

Fortunately, the visit to the luthier was totally fun. It was the perfect opportunity to get answers to all of the random questions about the instrument that I’ve never gotten around to asking my teacher. Yes, it’s normal for my less-than-a-year-old cello to have seams come undone: the factories in China that produce cellos like mine tend to thin out their glue and it easily comes undone. He taught me how to look and listen for the undone seams if I suspect I may have one (cool!) We had a nice discussion about string tension and how it influences the development of the instrument’s sound over time — he was happy I was using Jargar’s for all 4 strings because they tend to be higher tension than many of the more modern/popular brands. He also verified that my cello’s dislike of weather changes is normal and so is the movement of my wolf at various temperatures — a viola he made last summer does the exact same thing.

Can I have a pocket luthier to accompany my pocket teacher, please?

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