Quick update: We went back to Hammond Ashley this afternoon to try my top three again and decide on one to take home. As fate would have it, both of the Zubers were gone (one sold, one on trial) and they had a recent arrival – a Czech – for me to try out. The Czech had a great story – coming from a the Zudetnland area which is on the German border – it’s about as close to a German cello as one can be without having actually been made in Germany and was repaired and refinished several years ago by a luthier in Prague. After playing it with the unknown German and the Eastman, I was able to relatively quickly dismiss the Eastman: to quote TBF “It sounds dull.”
So that left my two European contenders. The Czech sounded immediately brighter and more open when I played the two back to back. But when one of the staffers played them, I was drawn more to the German. It had a really rich, resonant sound that was a little less bright but was as surprisingly big as I remembered. It’s also not as light as I remembered, varnish wise, and in really good shape. Turns out the extent of it’s “rebuild” was only a strip down and re-varnish, so I feel a little less like I’m considering a car with a salvage title. I had a tough time between the two – I’m still a little undecided – but that’s what trial is for.
The result: CC has company in the music room and I’ve got a lovely unknown German to try out.