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Cello advice


JPJ
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Do we have any Cellists amongst our little community?

 

Looking for advice as a complete newbie. I’ve always hankered after the soulful sound of the cello, and always promised myself I would take up cello when I retired. Recent events have taught me that retirement isn’t a certainty so I’m tentatively considering bringing my entry into the world of cello forward.

 

Any and all advice gratefully received. 

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Cellist-ish here. I teach it, although I don’t play it by choice (the education system has strings split into Upper and Lower string tutors, so I teach about 85% cello to 15% double bass.)

 

Anyhow, advice to start with would be to get your scales/arpeggios together - if for no other reason than to gain familiarity with strings tuned in 5ths. For a long time I couldn’t improvise on a cello as my fingers would default to the shapes they’re comfortable with. Reading parts was a lot easier, probably because I was only focusing on playing the part and not creating it. Hope that makes sense.

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I'm in a similar position  - just started dabbling in cello - I need to get a few lessons.

 

So far  I've found the transition to tuning in fifths less painful than I expected.   And those Bach suites that are so hard on the bass are easier on the cello (well left hand anyway). 

 

My tip is to  buy a mute for practice.  I find the cello quite loud and strident and when its played less than  perfectly (ahem)  it can be a challenge for loved ones ,  neighbours and the local cat population.   I find a practice  mute helps take the edge off......a bit...and its cheaper than sound proofing the room.  

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Hi, I'm a cellist - main instrument. 

 

It is extremely easy to acquire bad habits which are hard to undo, so a teacher that you get on with is essential really. There's a lot to angle of the cello, how you sit, left hand technique, bowing etc. And... cello is NOT the same or even similar to violin/viola, so find a cello teacher not a generic string teacher.

 

The bad news is they're much more expensive than violins, the good news is there are very good instruments made in China at a reasonable price. Modern cello strings are much nicer/kinder on the fingers than the old cheese wires, whilst expensive compared to bass guitar strings, they last a long time.

 

Go to a specialist string store / luthier to get an instrument, not a generic music store that doesn't have string specialists. Set-up and action are important. They'll also have secondhand instruments. Some teachers do too. 

 

Expect to pay around 1/4 of your instrument cost on the bow, e.g. £1,000 cello, £250 bow.

 

Happy for you to message me if you want to chat more directly.    

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I was a cellist long before I bought any basses.  My dad was a pro cellist so I got free lessons ( and free cellos ) from an early age.

 

It is NOTHING like playing the bass. It feels tiny and there are a million ways of fingering everything.  articulation and vibrato are really important.   And fifths tuning with 6 semitones to cover with all four fingers ( plus a thumb on occasion) in each pposition 

 

 I'd advise a teacher .. else you might miss learning all the finger extension ppossibilities one finger one "fret" won't hack it.

 

You might find a good old cello at eg thecelloroom.com.  but a Jay Heide or Eastman Chinese made one, set up by a UK dealer ( eg Tim Toft or my local bloke David at Bassbags.co.uk ) would be lower risk.

 

I think 25% of the cello price on a bow is perhaps a bit much once you get a decent cello; my cello ( used to be my mum's ) is about £10k worth, my best bow cost £1300 and I used a £200 one for years.  My dad's cello is worth £10ks but he never spent more than £2k on a bow ( but he is from Yorkshire).

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