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What about a cello?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Sutton, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Sutton


    Mar 3, 2005
    Plainwell, MI
    I know there is alot different between a double bass and a cello, so please dont flame me. But finding an affordable double bass, is very tough work. I was able to find someone who is willing to0 sell me a cello, thats over 130 years old. It needs some work, but all the cracks in it have been repaired professionally. It looks nice, no doubt about it. but it needs new strings, the bow needs new hair, and it just needs to be polished a bit. I was able to take some pictures, and basically, I'd like to know what you guys think. also, if you think you can put a value on it, let me know, since i have no idea how much things like this run. Thanks a ton!

  2. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    Now that my neck is recovered from looking at all those sideways photos, I am pleased to offer my 2 cents. It's hard to base an opinion on just photographs but I would say you shoudn't pay any more than $500 for this cello. That amount would certainly change depending on whether it was made by a significant maker but it appears that it's possibly German, late 19th century, in which case the maker is not likely to be notable. The problem here is that significant damage to cellos such as this will greatly affect their value whereas damage on a bass will not affect the value quite as much. This cello has been severely neglected and I'm sure you're looking at over $1000 worth of repairs from any reputable luthier anyway (although the luthiers here will obviously have a more informed opinion on the repair costs than I). If you're serious about buying a cello, I would keep looking.
  3. Sutton;

    There are good basses available for $1000 to $1500. I guess you have to ask yourself what you want to play. I had a plywood cello and was going to start learning it when the opportunity to play Bass in a Gospel Bluegrass band came along. Sold the cello, rented a bass and never looked back.

    Started shopping for a used bass, found a like new Englehardt EM1 for 600 bucks and a 14 hour drive to pick it up. Had the fingerboard and bridge worked on, installed new strings, and about $500 later it is a nice bass. Until I was deployed to Afghanistan I gigged with it for 2 years. She's waiting patiently for me at home. So if you want to play bass, go rent one and save your sheckels to buy one. Most places that rent will apply the 1st 6 or 12 months rental fee to the purchase price. Takes some of the sting out.

    If you want to play cello, do the same thing. Rent one from a reputable dealer for a while. There are a couple of online places with a good rep also.

    Shar's music: http://www.sharmusic.com/welcome.asp

    and Cellos2go: http://www.cellos2go.com/index.html

    both have a good reputation, Shars also rents Basses I believe. It will be worth your while to find someone locally if at all possible. The forum link located here: http://www.cello.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=StoreLinks is a great rescource, lots of information.

    Whichever you choose, here is my advice; Get Started, Don't Stop.


  4. Do you want a cello, or did you just happen upon one in your price range while wishing for a DB? Not to say I've never done something like that, but I usually regret it. DB & cello are, IMO, two VERY different instruments a sfar as their respective 'voices' as well as technique & function. My advice would be to figure out what you really want & make it happen. BTW, I'd like to try cello, though I doubt I'd pick it up very quickly...
  5. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    No, you'd pick it up VERY quickly-- they're much lighter than basses. ;)
  6. I wonder how a cello would work as a bass. I've read that Al McKibbon, IIRC, installed bass-type tuners on his cello & tuned it in fourths, though I'm not aware what the actual pitch(es)was(were).
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    That is a piece of junk. No purfling.. Poorly repaired cracks. Cheap top and back wood. Broken neck buttuon and screwed in.

    About a 4-10k bill to repair it to a professional level for a Cello that cost $10-$20 when it was made. It may be german or even American but it IS a low cost, low quality cello in poor condition.

    Now, if you wanna play Bass, buy a Bass. Walk the other way on this one. It is not worth the trip to a repair shop. A new Chinese Cello from a company like Shen will keep you out of the poor house. As for repairs to old instruments, an hour of labor on a piece of crap is the same price as an hour of labor on an Italian Bass.
  8. Sutton


    Mar 3, 2005
    Plainwell, MI
    Sweet, thanks alot for the help guys....I'll just look into cheaper double basses
  9. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Not a great idea for an adult, but very young bassists are sometimes use a restrung cello when they are first learning, as an example.... The suzuki meathod (violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, guitar) is designed to begin students playing musical instruments before they know how to read. Sometimes young suzuki bassists will briefly use a cello or a youth size cello to learn basic posture and technique. I've even heard of (though not seen) young cellists using a cheap full size viola when they are just starting.

    My brother took suzuki cello, and his first cello was only a bit larger than a full size viola, and even though it was deeper, you could almost fit it under your chin!
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    You left out 1/10, 3/8, 5/8, 7/8, 5/4 and Monster Basses from 8ft to the Octobass...

    One of those for a Child? Is this the child from 'Honey, I blew up the Kid' that's playing the 4/4 Bass at age 3?
  11. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I was a cellist in a former life. I played cello for many years before switching to DB. The best things i got from my cello playing were a decent bow technique (IF you eventually decide to play french bow; the grip is the same as cello) and it vastly improved my ears for hearing proper intervals and the all important "dynamic tuning."
  12. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    The other thing is that the opera of cello compositions is vastly greater and of much higher quality than that of the double bass.
  13. Well I didn't think I had to go into specific detail about what's available out there for kids who are interested in playing doublebass but aren't big enough for the 3/4 or 4/4.

    And of course, I can hardly imagine a 3 year old playing a 4/4....
  14. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    In the movie 'Honey, I blew up the Kid', or some title similar, the 3 year old kid was a Giant. This was a Joke!

    Oh, and I don't know of any adults playing a 'true' 4/4 Bass either.

  15. Can you elaborate on that a little? I've had a double bass for about 2 years now, and I just bought a cheap cello on ebay to play around with because I'd always loved the sound of the cello.
  16. I have a question - there must only be a handful of 4/4 players out there. Are there any 4/4 in the jazz scene? Or are most of the 4/4 players in the classical scene?

    Speaking of different sizes for younger players, I always wonder about how I see really young prodigies performing incredibly well on the piano, there's never any issue about them using a 'normal' size piano. I mean, parents don't go out and buy a 1/4 or 2/4 piano for their five year old daughter and I've seen kids performing like seasoned adults on grand pianos at recitals...
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    We keep getting into this 4/4 thing. I believe a 4/4 is a HUGE almost unplayble size. 46" string length. 7ft tall? I have a Bass that is 44" SL and 6'5" and almost 30" at the bottom and I am told it is a 7/8ths. Actually, I have had and have total about 4 Basses or so like that give or take and they are all 7/8ths. So, what is a 4/4 then? Look at all the Basses on my website and tell me which ones you would clasify as a 4/4. I am curiuos.

    Pianos are all the same Key Spacing whether an upright or Grand. The space between the keys and size of the chair is the same. Basses are completly different in the sizes for the player.
  18. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    Eric Freidlander plays some lovely bass lines on the cello on a Myra Melford album