Should I double on cello?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by pklima, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    I've been thinking it might be good to also have a cello around. I'm not talking about becoming a real cellist, I just want to make reasonable noise for folk or rock (which is all I do on the DB or BG anyhow, though I'm comfortable with the bow and making progress in thumb position). I could use a more portable instrument, too.

    I think I could pick it up pretty quickly because the tuning won't throw me off - I already have a BG that's tuned an octave below cello and have also played lots of other fifths-tuned instruments from mandolin to cello banjo. All I'd really need to do is learn the French bow hold and one-finger-per note fingerings. Or am I missing something important?

    Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome.
  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I have no advice, but I've been asked recently to try playing cello in an original pop/rock type project. The guy for some reason has a cello and can't find anyone to play it. I haven't tried yet and am not sure that I will get up for it, but I would too like to know from someone who has doubled what to expect my experience to be like.

    The guy does play some venues locally that I don't get to play as a jazz musician, so I have a little motive to give it a try.

  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I have a cello here and mess with it from time to time. I think that I could probably work out parts and play them in the stratosphere on bass more quickly than I could 'pass' on cello.
  4. I don't have a cello, but the few times I've dinked around on one, I've really enjoyed it. If you simply apply classical bass technique, you instantly get a huge sound and deep vibrato. I would definitely have to do some shedding to get around the fifth-tuning thing, though.

    I thought about getting one, but it would end up being strictly for my own enjoyment, as there are more than enough good cellists to go around in this neck o' the woods, and, with apologies to OP, Ray Brown Percy Heath et al, I really don't dig "jazz cello."
  5. I've been playing cello for about two years now, and the past year and a half have been strictly jazz. I know that most "Jazz Cello" is a variation off of "Jazz Bass," but that's not at all what I play. I am learning jazz the way that the wind instruments learn jazz. I am learning the skill of improvisation from a trombonist; the trombone being the sheet music I read for Jazz Ensemble. I was the only cellist EVER at my high school, so obviously I was the only one in Jazz Band, and I am the first ever cello in my University's Jazz Ensemble. Don't get me wrong, I still rely on my classical roots to accomplish all of this, but I am living through jazz. I believe the cello is the perfect jazz instrument (besides the trumpet, of course :smug: ) because of its sheer versatility. You can growl, you can slide, you can trill, you can play chords, you can play arco or pizz, and you can amplify and blast the brass section to bits! I am just starting out with upright bass, and I have decided that it can do no justice to what I've learned with the cello, so I am strictly playing classical bass. To all those who want to learn the cello, I say go for it! But just remember to GET A TEACHER! Trust me on this one, because it takes sooo long to re-learn what you've done wrong, especially if you've been trained on a bass or other stringed instrument. Well, I've rambled on enough, so hopefully I've helped someone with this mess. But to clarify: cello is an awesome instrument to play for ANY kind of music, but it's a hard one to transition to, even though it has been dubbed the easiest string instrument. Just make sure to avoid the clichéd "Jazz Cello" and you'll be fine! Make it your own!
  6. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Thanks, y'all. I'll see how my band goes once the lineup settles down. If we end up with 2 or 3 bassists (which I hope we do!) I'll start looking around for a cello I can borrow or at least mess around with.
  7. JayR


    Nov 9, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I picked up cello about a year and a half ago and it was a very easy switch. Took me about a month till I was able to start working on bach suite material. The only difficulty is getting used to reading the instrument as it's in 5ths, and the mental conversion for tenor clef becomes different and throws me off like no other. However, I'm pretty sure any bass player should be able to pick the thing up and be proficient after a few lessons. A warning, though, I've been fighting some tendonitis off and on for a few years and cello does seem to exasterbate the problem far more than bass does, simply because I find it much easier to build up tension.

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