My glorious cherry red case arrived last week and was promptly set back off on the next FedEx truck out of town to it’s originating location. Why?
I couldn’t get it closed over the top of the scroll. Making matters worse the angle of the scroll in relation to the body meant that in the case the back of the cello didn’t touch and I could tell the bridge and strings were pressing into the top of the case when the lid was closed.
Which I thought was somewhat suspicious because Cecelia is supposed to be a pretty standard 4/4 cello. Believe me, this comes into play later.
Back up to just after Christmas. When I swapped out the strings I noticed the bridge was really high – well above the notches on the f holes, so I lowered it to where it was supposed to be and noted that it did sound a bit richer. However, I’ve been practicing A major scale in the last few weeks and noticed a suspicious buzzing noise as I reach the higher notes that becomes a high pitched squeel that O refers to as “stepping on the cat’s tail”
At first I just assumed it was my playing – being a beginner and all – and really struggled with my form. It lead to a lot of frustration at home. When I went to lesson two weeks ago I brought the buzzing and squealing up to Kaia, who tried it herself and got the same result. She took a good look at the setup and realized that my strings are REALLY close to the fingerboard – which makes it easy to press – but creates the buzzing as too much of string touches the fingerboard.
We adjusted the bridge back higher, which did lift the strings off the fingerboard slightly, but compromised the overall sound. On her recommendation I brought CC into the local strings store for professional analysis. The verdict: all cellos are not created equal.
Turns out, the angle at which the neck and fingerboard is attached to the body of the cello is far to big(the projection). As a result, the strings are too close to the fingerboard. This is also why it won’t fit in the new case – the opening of that angle puts the scroll of the cello at a bigger angle to the body. In any thing other than the bulky, over sized, canvas covered foam case that came with the cello this was bound to cause a problem. And this is the unfortunate reality of many of the “student” model cellos available online.
The solution: surgery. Basically by opening up the cello and repositioning the neck/fingerboard the cello could be corrected to the proper angles. However, the surgery would change the look of the cello in regards to the shape and varnish. Cecelia would be a permanent Frankecello.
I have to say, I experienced a touch of a broken heart at the news – it didn’t help that I got a parking ticket while I was in the string shop – and I took Cecelia home to consider my options.
Next time…O the “force of nature” gets involved…