“cello buzzing in my brain”

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Before I blocked search engines on my blog, this was actually the top search for finding it. So, for whoever out there is reading this and hears buzzing that no one else can hear, IT’S NOT IN YOUR HEAD. I promise. Because otherwise it means that my cello’s buzzing — which is really more of a sanding — is in my head. But I swear it’s not. It wasn’t there before. And it sounds horrible. It’s worse on G & D, but still there on A & C. Just because my luthier can’t hear it and just because my husband can’t hear it, it doesn’t mean I’m imagining it. It’s just like being able to hear the hum of electronic devices that are off but still plugged in. No one else can hear it, but that doesn’t mean the sound isn’t there.

On the plus side, her response to bowing is much better and she is much more resonant.

But unfortunately there are more problems. When I was tightening her strings with the tuning pegs (again for the 3rd time because she doesn’t want to hold a pitch) I heard this pop and saw the bridge move. I put a straight edge to the bridge and it was once again bent. I bent it back, but she’s still all wonky. And she still has that damn sanding sound that no one else can hear. I’m taking her back in to my luthier tomorrow in hopes of finding out what the heck is wrong with her.

Oh, and if I feel along her lovely maple sides, instead of feeling smooth, she feels bumpy now. As in there are ridges. Which weren’t there before. I know the weather makes her all crazy, but this is ridiculous.

But, on another positive note, the biggest perk of having a really shitty cello is that it doesn’t matter one damn bit if you harm her. Which is good because I managed to accidentally give her several new scratches today. And no, that did not happen before the buzzing/sanding sound. I did not cause her to behave this way.

Oh, yes: another good note! My playing actually sounded pretty decent today. So far. Off to go practice again, so we’ll see if that holds true!

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3 responses »

  1. Can you hear it when someone else plays it? My teacher showed me how my cello sounds from across the room and there’s a bunch of noise and stuff that just doesn’t carry. Unfortunately, Mr Flubby is back and he does carry 😦

  2. Well, now, if I turn my cello around so I’m in front of it, I don’t hear it *as* much. But it’s still there. I can ask my luthier today if he’ll just play an open bow for me. What’s interesting, though, is that I’ve had a sound like this when the A string’s parchment on the bridge was coming off and when the D string, without parchment was digging into the bridge. Really close sounds. But my parchment is in place and the G and C aren’t digging in. I bet if I was 10 feet away I wouldn’t hear it, but I’m finding that only partially relevant: I have to spend hours a day behind this cello playing it. And hearing that sound.

  3. I have this same issue with playing violin or flute on loud upper registers. I first noticed it after sitting infront of the trumpet section for a year in band class in high school. It may be damage to the inner ear, but I suspect it may be congestion in the eustachion tube vibrating around sympathetically with the pressure waves in the ear. I do have chronic congestion issues so, that may not be actual damaged loose parts of the ear drum vibration (my GP’s initial guess).

    To clarify, the noise that I hear is like a electromagnetic interference causing radio static. Buzzing and crackling kind of like a bad cell phone connection or an angry gnat stuck in my ear. It is only at certain frequencies and above certain volumes, althought the right frequency will cause it to happen.

    I think that physical connection and promiximity play a role too, because the noise is worse when the vibrations travel from the instrument through my body surface touching it and then to my ear rather than just through the air. This is why playing the violin and flute are so much worse because the sound production is inches from ear and can directly vibrate my head.

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