She’s Back!

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This morning I went back into my luthier (again) because she was still having buzzing/sanding/burbling noises. Her response had been much improved, but she just sounded wrong still. First things first, he played her and he actually heard THE SOUND. Yay! I’m not crazy! He tapped around her to listen for loose seams or other loose ratting things, but we heard nothing. He noticed that the bridge looked slightly crooked, so he went to measure the placement and compare it to before. It was off, so he fixed it. Along with that, he checked around the seams with this thin metal tool that can locate invisible gaps, which ended up revealing a loose seam (ie. it popped open right then and there!) So… I got to leave her (again) to be glued and clamped. While he wanted to adjust some other things, he said it was important that we wait until she was glued before we started messing around with stuff.

*Fast forward five hours*
He called saying she was dry and to come play her. Now here’s the fun thing: when he was moving her bridge around earlier, he had to majorly loosen her strings. And since we know her bridge tends to move when being brought to pitch, I had to actually tune her to where she should be right then and there. I was hoping he might have some sort of cheating device (ie. a tuner) but he didn’t. I had to tune her entirely by ear without a reference pitch! Surprisingly, I managed to do it. Apparently my ears do work! But this is beside the point…

I was still hearing THE SOUND after getting her up to pitch (and after he knocked her bride back into place.) While she was still more responsive than the day before, she was rather dull and THE SOUND could be heard over her so clearly it was distracting. What next? Let’s adjust the sound post! And so he did. (Which involves loosening the strings again and me having to get her back up to pitch entirely by ear again!) It turned out that the sound post was crooked, which he says had likely been the case since I got her — if they move at all they usually just fall over. So, after lots of measuring and nudging and measuring and nudging and tuning, I got to play her again. WOW!!! When he said that my crooked sound post wasn’t making good contact with the body of the cello and wasn’t transmitting the vibrations properly he wasn’t kidding!!! THE SOUND still exists — he hears it too — but it’s not so bothersome now because of her fantastic new ability to resonate like crazy. I swear the sound actually gets louder after I lift the bow off. And it just keeps going and going and going. Like the energizer bunny. Instead of dropping off after about a second, it keeps going for 5 or 6 seconds and even after I can’t hear it anymore I can still feel it with my body.

In conclusion, she’s still not the most beautiful cello in the world, but she’s fulfilling more of her potential than she used to. Many thanks to my awesome luthier!

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2 responses »

  1. Yeah, it was kinda strange, but it also wasn’t obvious. He had to get in there and measure it and only then it was off by maybe a couple millimeters. It was enough, however, that the ends of the sound post weren’t making good contact with the body of the cello. Then after it was straightened he moved it down a little away from the bridge, which helped with the unpleasant harshness of her tone. The vibrations are transmitting much much much MUCH more nicely now. The weird sound is still somewhat there, but at this point there’s nothing that it actually can be since we tried fixing everything. It may be she’s pissed off at our below freezing weather we’ve had for a couple days and as the weather warms up she’ll be a bit happier. I hope.

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