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Cello doublers?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Marcus Johnson, May 12, 2004.


  1. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Okay, I just got the umpteenth call for a string quartet gig, though I don't play cello. All the area cellists are busy on the afternoon of the gig, so they called me. Two of the contractors that I work for regularly have said that, if I chose to play cello, they could work my a$$ off.

    I genuinely like the cello; it's the only instrument that really causes my eye to wander from DB at all. Love the range, in particular. I'm already really busy with DB gigs, but a lot of these cello gigs are quartets or solo gigs in the afternoons (weddings, in particular). The pay scale for classical musicians here is very attractive :smug:

    Any of you guys doing any serious doubling on cello? We probably covered this before here, sorry if this is old news...
     
  2. When I was a music ed major in college I took lessons on the cello. My thinking was that as an educator it would be good to be proficient on both the "low strings". I took it pretty quickly, the physical aspect was quite easy. Producing good tone was fairly easy, the hardest part for me was adjusting to the fifths tuning. However, if I had put more time into it I'm sure that would have been less of an issue. I quit because I switched my focus to Theory/Comp so cello moved down the priority list.

    From your posts you seem to be an excellent musician so I don't think it would be a problem for you. If there are good gigs, go for it. It sounds like you may find yourself with the enviable dilemma of having to turn down DB gigs for higher paying cello gigs. But that's not the worst problem in the world.
     
  3. Gabe

    Gabe

    Jan 21, 2003
    I'm not gigging but cello was my first instrument. It still gets more attention than the bass.

    Like Jeffery said, the physical aspect of cello and getting tone is a lot easier. I don't have so much trouble with the 5ths tuning, but I think it playing bass has messed with my vibrato a little bit.

    Cello is a lot of fun and even though I did the transition differently (cello to bass rather than bass to cello) I can't imagine you would have much troble doing it.
     
  4. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I started playing the cello in college. I picked it up pretty fast and became 2nd chair in the UMaryland symphony. I still get calls for cello work and frankly i love it. Just have to remember to tune it in 5ths instead of 4ths...

    Actually i would love to play in a quartet again- that was some of the most rewarding playing that I have ever done...hmmm...
     
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    The other thing is, when some mom says to her kid, "That's a cello", I could finally say, "My God...you're right!".

    Thanks for the feedback, guys.
     
  6. Gabe

    Gabe

    Jan 21, 2003
    Whenever I'm caring my cello I seem to run into families that must have recently taken abuse from bassists, as that is often what it gets referred too. OR sometimes it is a guitar...
     
  7. When I was in college two of my high school friends came up to a recital where a piece I wrote was being performed. One of the pieces written by another student had cello and the program listed it as violoncello. Both of my friends were musicians (a guitar player and a trumpet player) but they had never heard the full name of the instrument. After a few confusing minutes of trying to figure out why they wanted me to describe a cello to them I realized they just hadn't heard the full name.
     
  8. I played cello for a semester in the orchestra in college. The cool thing is, the mechanics are already there. I was able to get a big tone, big vibrato etc. right away. The cello felt like a toy, frankly!

    The obstacle, of course, is getting past the fingerings. I should thing some diligent study in a good etude book would put you where you want to be pretty fast.

    That said, I used to play a lot of string quartet gigs on bass. As long as the range doesn't get too high, you can play a lot of the stuff an octave up, and the bass really works better on much of the "classical pop" stuff you end up playing at weddings.
     
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Yeah, I thought about that, it could do nothing but help my DB arco technique if I started doing a bunch of string quartet gigs. The other players don't seem to mind the bass invading their space.

    I think I'll go for it anyway. Practice time on cello should be beneficial to my bread n' butter bass gig, so I won't feel as guilty as if I were taking up, say, accordian. I really like the instrument & its repertoire. If it turns out to be financially rewarding, all the better.

    BTW, my wife says go for it, too. I've said it before; I married VERY well.
     
  10. Nick Ara

    Nick Ara

    Jul 22, 2002
    Long Island, NY
    Funny this thread came up just as I was reading about Percy Heath in Bass Player. It seems he plays a cello, tuned EADG, and his cello is equipped with geared DB tuners. Doesn't that kinda make his cello a tiny DB? If not, why? It seems to me that he's now playing something like at 1/4 sized DB? :help:
     

  11. I've heard Mr. Heath refer to it as the "baby bass."
     
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    But isn't his cello tuned up an octave from a normal DB? Isn't that like Ron Carter's Picolo bass?
     
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui

  14. Yeah, I love this statment from "drcello":

     
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Kinda reminds me of the old joke;

    Q.) What's the difference between a coffin and a cello?

    A.) With a coffin, the stiff's on the inside .
     
  16. Tee-hee!

    For what its worth, though, I was lucky enough to take bass lessons back in the day from the late cellist Harry Sturm, who had played 2nd chair in the CSO under Reiner. He taught me tons about phrasing, vibrato, interpretation, etc. He had a HUGE sound and gorgeous vibrato -- and that was on a crappy plywood school cello. I was honored to play the Rossini Duetto w/ him for a recital, still a high point for me.

    Anyway, no stiff he -- some pretty hair-raising stories from the life of an orchestra musician. They put the jazzers to shame in many cases!
     
  17. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
  18. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I just ordered an electric cello. I'll never forget when i was in college (i went to a music school that really pushed the avant-garde scene) i met a visiting cellist and th first thing he saidd to me (who was feeling pretty cutting edge at the time) "So, do you play electric cello ? " of course i answered :"no" But that always stuck with me for some odd reason ---Now I shall have my revenge on Fred Frith...I think that was his name
     
  19. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I have some really avant-guard guitar stuff Frith did in the 70s or maybe early 80s somewhere in my collection. There was a particular recording- possibly on ECM- I'm trying to recall that featured a group of guitarists.

    What kind of electric cello are you getting? Rob Wilson just fisnished his #2 and has a small production run in progress. He did #1 for a local goth rocker.
     
  20. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    ergo. same guy that made my EUB.