Cello Help *Cello players please read!*

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by HunsBassist, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    I bought a Cello for my brother for Christmas. I made sure that it was shipped and arrived while he was visiting his girlfriend in Minnesota. So, the Cello arrives, in okay shape for a used Cello, and I see that the strings have been worn out and have all slipped off the fretboard. I set out to by new strings, and with some difficulty, not to mention expense, I got strings for the Cello. But I was suprised to see the string notes being C,D,G,A. I thought a Cello was tuned the same way as a Mandolin/Violin, with a G,D,A,E tuning. But when I saw the C string, I was thrown for a loop. I'm no longer sure which strings go one in what order. Could someone tell me the order of the strings from highest to lowest? I would like to know, and have time to string it before Monday (the 19th) afternoon when he gets back from Minnesota, so quick replies would be appreciated.

    Please and thank you,
  2. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    With the exception of the double bass, the "arco" string instruments are tuned in fifths (standard tuning, of course). Highest to lowest:

    Violin: E-A-D-G
    Viola: A-D-G-C (a fifth below the violin)
    Cello: A-D-G-C (An octave below the viola)
    Double bass (in fourths): G-D-A-E. The lowest E is a minor sixth below the cello's lowest C.

    Hope this helps.
  3. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    Yes, thank you. I knew all the other stuff, and after closer examinations of the strings I figured out that Cellos follow the path of sevenths like a Violin, but one 7th lower than one. Thanks anyway!
  4. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    Oh, I have some other questions about it too. When I got it, it had a piece of newspaper snugly fit under the bridge. I'm afraid to remove it because I don't know it's purpose. I assume it has something to do with the packing and shipping of the Cello, but I'm not positive. Could you tell me if it would be bad to remove this or it's just a harmless packing thing. Also, if you could link to a competent stringing guide, that would be great.
  5. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    sounds like shipping safety to me , you dont want newspaper between the bridge and body , ever , unless you're packing it for shipping.

    great gift btw , let us know how he likes it when he gets back
  6. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    Here's something interesting. I opened the newspaper and found a carved wooden thing. I think it's the piece that holds up the bridge to be level with the fingerboard. but I've no idea how to get it back on and now I'm faced with a new problem. The tuning pegs won't move for me take off the old strings on the Cello. They just won't budge, I don't know what to do! Once again, stringing guide link would be appreciated.
  7. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    I feel like Murphy's Law is coming into play with this Cello. It's kinda funny.
  8. Sevenths?

    Could we see some pictures? It would be easier to help if I could see what you're working with. What's this carved wooden thing you've found? How much do you know about the parts of a cello?
  9. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    What about taking it to the shop/luthier? You don't want to ruin a great christmas gift ey ;)
  10. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    In fact, the only machine heads that most of the times work with no hassle are those from double basses, since they're made from metal. Those wooden pegs are an annoyance. Most cello, violin and viola players use string adjusters similar to this one for accurate and hassle-free tuning.
  11. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Hmm... I didn't see that you can't remove the old strings. The only thing I can tell you is don't force the pegs because you can break them. You should take the instrument to a luthier.
  12. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    *Does best Professor Farnsworth Impression* Good news everyone! I took the Cello to my Dad who just touched the Tuners and they instantly moved. He unstrung the entire thing without effort (Once again proving that my Dad is magic) even though he knew next to nothing about the instrument, and, through some trial and error, I got the instrument strung then tuned and wrapped. Just 6 more days (well 5 since it's past midnight) til he gets to open it, I can't wait!!! Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions!
  13. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    what I meant by sevenths is that I was talking lowest to highest, not highest to lowest like what was previously said. That's just how I think. I probably should have phrased it differently, sorry. But everythings ok. The wooden carved thing was the bridge, and I set it up pretty nicely, I think the gift's gonna turn out great.
  14. I used to play cello, you have to be careful, its an old design. The bridge should sit flush with the body and is normally aligned with the notches on the F holes on each side. It can snap if you apply sideways pressure, so be gentle with it.

    Inside the cello is a soundpost that goes from the front to the back of the instrument - it is held in place by the string tension on the body, be sure that it hasnt moved during shipping or you will need to have a proffesional place it where it should be again. The tuning pegs work via friction - pull them out, tune each string a bit at a time and then push them in the holes to hold the strings in tension, then use the fine tuners at the bridge to tune up to pitch.

    Tune each string a bit at a time, and make sure the bridge doesn't move too much - reposition it if necessary. Its a wonderfully expressive instrument, and the bach cello suites are great fun to learn, even if I do normally listen to rock music...

    PS there is a great cello site called Cello Heaven I think, a resource like this with loads of info. Check it out. ;)
  15. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    If you're ever giving an instrument like this -- that is, any sort of classical stringed instrument -- please take it to a luthier before doing anything else. They can fix it up the right way, and get it in far better playing condition than you and your father, because they have years of professional experience doing it. I would really strongly suggest taking it to a luthier anyway, just in case you missed something, and to learn more about the particular cello you got for your brother.

    PS: GREAT gift! That's pretty rockin'. Oh, and Cello Heaven is a great site.`
  16. sgt.floyd


    Dec 5, 2004
    since you're probably not going to have time to take it to a luthier, there are a couple things you should know- It sounds like you already strung it, but here goes.

    When the strings are off, be really careful when you move it around. There's a wooden peg inside the body called the sound post that is held in place (partially) from the tension of the strings. This post is there to add support once the strings are tight, and to help the entire body resonate. Keep the cello on it's back while you're stringing it. You should be able to see it through the 'f' holes- it goes (approximately) under one of the feet on the bridge (i'm pretty sure it's the 'C' string side, but I'll have to check on mine when I get home). If it's not in there, or if the cello sounds like it has a wooden peg rolling around in the bottom of it DON'T put the strings on, or you run the risk of cracking the top.

    Before you put the strings on: take a pencil and rub a bunch of graphite in the notches where the strings rest in both the nut and on the bridge. This makes the strings travel more smoothly when bringing them up to tension. This is important because you can pull the bridge out of alignment as you tighten the strings.

    Now that you're putting the strings on: look on the top for the marks where the feet were. This was a used instrument and had to have been set up before. If there are no discernable marks, the rule of thumb (I think- I'll take a look at mine when I get home) is that the front of the feet line up with the notch in the 'f' hole, and the whole thing is in the center. The important part after that is to make sure the bridge is straight up and down so it doesn't warp under the weight of the strings. As you tighten the strings they will actually pull the top of the bridge toward the nut, making it lean. If left in this state, the bridge will warp, and eventually break. This is what the graphite from the pencil helps prevent. Some folks will even make the bridge lean back (toward the tailpiece) a little bit and count on the strings pulling it back to level over time. As the strings stretch, they will slowly pull the bridge forward, so it's somethign to keep an eye on.

    Hope this helps~!
  17. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    Thanks again everyone,

    I've already got it in playing condition and wrapped and everything. I don't think I need to take it to a luthier, and don't underestimate someone that's knows as much about music and instruments as My Dad or I. I think we fixed it up pretty well and I think it's all gonna turn out great, but thank you for your concern.