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Dianne
I've been wanting to rent a cello to try it out as a possible 2nd instrument, but the rental cellos I have come across do not look very good for tone quality. Does anyone have a suggestion of how I could rent a cello for a month, or a few months, to see if I like cello, but a cello that is more of an advanced intermediate level and not beginner or early intermediate? A few years ago I played, just for a few minutes, an old German 1/2 size cello whose tone qualities were so good that I never forgot it, and I am interested in a cello of that quality to rent.

I know that in violins, I played two European instruments at the same price point for example, and one blew the socks off the other because of build quality and varnish. Price point had no meaning in that case. It was just hit or miss with the tone woods and varnish. They both had the same terrific setup. So in cellos, I would imagine it would be the same case. I just spoke with a cellist, and they rented a Chinese cello whose top plate tended to keep cracking, so they purchased a used German cello that sounds remarkable! and is solid with no cracking problems. That shop no longer exists.

There are a plethora of cellos I see in playing groups- some starkly orange, some bright and some mellow and not projecting, but some with the tone quality I am looking for and they turn out to be used German cellos. They have a deep but clear sound on the lower strings, are generally clear in high positions (hard to find), they are not tinny sounding on the upper strings, and they have a good setup and a good set of strings. If I like the cello, I would purchase it, so that is the reason for looking to rent a good quality cello. Just can't find a shop that does that! The cellos just don't look that good!

Thank you for any ideas or suggestions.
Dianne
31 Responses
Posted: September 21, 2018
Last Comment: October 7, 2018
Replies

Dianne
Posted: October 7, 2018
Thank you, Frieda! My email is: diannephx at gmail.com

Frieda
Posted: October 7, 2018
Hi Dianne,
Iíll give you all my information, links, etc... about cello-playing. If you are interested, just send me your email adress... I love violinlab, not only for the high quality of information but also for the kindness of everybody. I want to thank you for all your very helpful posts, answers, subjects, ... about violin playing, you helped me a lot!

Dianne
Posted: October 7, 2018
I thought I double posted so accidentally deleted my other thread, sorry!

I just want to say thank you for everyone's patience with my cello thread. Here you are trying to learn violin, and I keep writing about cello! There are quite a few old cello threads here that I discovered after Elke mentioned a VLab member trying cello. There are of lots of posts about viola here as well, but viola is a very close relative to the violin, so these tutorials can be used, but not the cello- it is entirely different. So I appreciate you letting me ask for help here.

One last thing, yesterday in rehearsal, I spoke with two cellists. One had a Gliga cello and Gliga case. It was a carbon fiber case in blue with a black interior. It was so light, and it had a music sheet pouch inside. The other cellist had an extremely heavy thermoplastic case. The cellist asked us to pick up his cello case with his cello inside. We were having so much fun. His case must have weighed 7 pounds or so. When I came home and looked it up, it was a low price when added to a cello package, but much more  expensive when purchased separately. I have read the comments and articles about how violin carbon Fiber is not a good choice for rigidity and temperature control, but the lightness of the case appeals to me to protect my arms, and it will give better protection than my fabric bag. Whenever I pick my cello up in the fabric case that was shipped to me, the cello strings sound. Not good!

Once again, thank you for helping me with my cello purchase and how to get started. It does not belong here in any extended thread for sure! But I feel I know you all well enough to trust your judgement. I also enjoy the camaraderie between the string players in my group, and I wanted to share that story with you as well.

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: October 7, 2018
loneliness
Yes, Janice, Gitlis often says violin is an instrument of torture,  I'm learning it is an instrument of loneliness too.  For solitaries, not for solidaries.

Anyway, here one can sometimes experience moments of solidarity.

Cynthia
Posted: October 5, 2018
I started cello before violin. Studying the violin is actually helping my cello because it is causing me to be more aware of bowing and fingering when playing my cello, also.

Spring 2017, I bought my first cello from the lady who is now my instructor. She wanted to upgrade and couldnít until she sold the current one. She had put gears on it, not geared pegs, cello tuning gears of gold color, removed the fine tuners and put a normal tailpiece on. I paid $1500 for it, bow and really nice padded, roomy case to go with it.

About 9 months later my husband saw one in a pawn shop in a nearby city (about 50 miles away) where I was taking a freemotion quilting class at. He texted me a photo and asked if I was interested. Said bow came with it, $125. We bought it. Beautiful cello. It has geared tuning pegs, and really good fine tuners.

Then in search of violin, viola and cello books (mostly a viola lesson book) we were in another part of that city and stopped at a music store. We asked the owner if he had any cello, violin or viola books. He did. We paid and were leaving and he said, ďYou play cello, right?Ē I told him I was still learning and still in book 1. He brought us to the back room and there it was, a beautiful cello. He wanted $75 for it. I already had two, so wasnít really interested. Then he said, if you give me $50 today, you can have it. It was taking up too much room in the storage room. We bought it. This store is a guitar and drum store, not orchestral strings, he took it as trade from a school student.

Sure, it did not have tuning pegs or a bow or sound post, but the cello had a terrific well made tailpiece with fine tuners and the bridge in a bag attached to it. The tailpiece goes for almost $100. I checked online when I got home, not on ebay, I checked stores that sell this model. I have never seen them like this before. My local music store checked their books, too, when I showed them. 

Anyway, we got the cello home and I shined a flashlight inside it. It actually has a label, the other two have no label. This was made by Andrew Schroetter in Mittenwald/Bayern, Western Germany, Model 212, size 4/4, in 9/83. It is a student grade, unless you get into a few thousand, that is what you will get. This is much better quality than my other two. Can tell by looking it over, inside and out. Much better quality wood, yes wood, not plywood. 

It is shaped a little different from the other two. The top has a higher curve under the string area and, what I refer to as the waist (I know that is not what it is really called), is a tad narrower than the other two. It is at our local music shop waiting to get new pegs, sound post, and strings. Then all the parts need to be reassembled. It has a really nice end pin. Canít wait to hear it.

Back to my Pawn Shop beauty. I wanted to make it bright. I purchased Spirocore steel core for the C and G strings and put Larsen Solos on the D and A strings. Wow! You should hear her. My $1500 cello has symthetic strings and is mellow. I am going to have brights put on the $50 cello, too. If it is too bright, I will have to tone it down with mellower synthetic strings, like the $1500 cello.

I actually prefer my bow that came with the Pawn Shop beauty over the one that came with the $1500 cello. 

Just thought I would share my cello story with you all.

I guess my point is, cellos can be found where you least expect it and maybe that inexpensive cello is a really good deal! I prefer my Pawn Shop beauty and $50 Andrew Schroetter over my $1500 cello, even though I have not had an opportunity to play the Andrew Schroetter. It is still waiting to be repaired in the music shop. She has been getting student instruments ready for rentals for school bands. I have two ither cellos, so told her to get those ready, first.

Janice Branley
Posted: October 4, 2018
https://cello-academy.com/learn-online-how-to-play-the-cello

If I were learning Cello, this site would be the kind of place I would expect to get lots of information and support about the instrument. 

When I wondered about that lovely deep sound of the cello, I cheated and simply bought octave strings for my second violin.  Wow, they are so thick, and really take more to get vibrating, compared with standard violin, but you get a very satisfying resonance with practice.

Good luck with your new instrument Dianne, it sounds like you are enjoying it.  

Elke Meier
Posted: October 4, 2018
Are you all aware that Christa Woodall, a former member of VL, has switched to the cello and started a cello beginners facebook page? I can't find the page right now, but you can contact her through https://www.facebook.com/christa.woodall. That would be an interesting place for you, Dianne.

Dianne
Posted: October 4, 2018
This discussion includes members-only video content

The Bow Hold & A Case Question
Maria, Frieda, Mary, I think I've got it!

While watching this video, the function of each finger clicked for me. We need a different fulcrum for the cello. The index finger serves the same purpose as on violin, albeit on cello it tends to curl over the stick. The pinky takes over the role of the 3rd finger on violin. The 2nd & 3rd finger on cello remain low and keep the bow from falling due to gravity. They may also have a further function, I don't know at this point. He had to use the fingers in this way to hold the cello bow upright and that helped me to see it. (His hold is a little further back than the standard hold, but I read that hold can be slightly different). I can hardly wait to work with this! But since it will work the top of my hand, I will take it in tiny bits, so as not to interfere with violin playing. I have many concerts coming up, but I can't stop taking the cello out!

Speaking of cases, are the Bobelock cases (fairly inexpensive as compared to Bam) any good? The slim is not a suspension case, and the suspension version is a little more.

Dianne
Posted: October 2, 2018
It's A Keeper!
Yes, thanks Barbara!

I've checked the rest of the cello positions, and there are no wolves on any string, but there is a wolf tone eliminator on the G string. I used finger pads, as I do not want to interfere with my violin playing right now. I think this is an excellent sounding instrument, and it seems easy to play and looks great. I think that a much more expensive cello would be easier to play way, way up, or I could see if I could get some changes done to this one at that time. I found this article on starter cellos, and it states that a beginner cello should be easy to play very high up. I found that approaching the last quarter of the fingerboard revealed a really high string height.

Here are some things that I have noticed about this cello and cello in general:

-Tuning the cello continues to be easy, with the exception of the A string, which requires more of a push into the pegbox. It may be the higher string tension on that string. ?
- String height in VERY high position is too high. I have found the same thing on my 1st beginner violin from Romania. It had a very high string height above 5th position- doable, but not comfortable. I think a more expensive cello would be easier to play up there. Not only nut and bridge heights, but perhaps even neck angle, just a guess.
- Bowing on the A string is hard- very high elbow position!
- It takes me a while to get the cello out of the case, tune it up, set the end pin, and find the right posture. At some point in the practice, the cello slips into the right angle, and then I realize I had it just slightly wrong. Then the cello playing is so much easier.
-I tend to think I have to over press the strings. Like violin, no over pressing is needed- lighter bows sound better. Just need bow speed, correct contact point, & just the right amount of weight.
-Right now the bow hold is the biggest challenge for me- keeping the hand relaxed, and the wrist straight. I need to look more into tutorials on this to be sure I am getting it right.
-Playing the cello is exhausting. Even when using lighter bows, I am using muscles in my arms and hands differently, and need to take a long break before heading over to the violin practice. I will eventually build up tone for the cello over a couple of months I believe.

So my plan is to spend a month or two on just open strings, investigating the sounding points, using different bow divisions and articulations, starting with just long, full bows, with smooth bow changes. I already have that one going pretty well. Also getting comfortable with the cello in general for posture, the bow hold, and building the tone to tune and play it. This took a while on violin, so this makes sense on this much larger instrument.

My gut feel is that this is an excellent cello for me at this time, much the same as I felt about the viola. And I really like cello playing as much as I thought I would! The viola will have to wait, as I cannot play it because of its size, pressing into my neck, which is still healing.

Mary Reeley
Posted: October 1, 2018
Thanks Barbara!  I didn't know you could set intonia for cello

Barbara Habel
Posted: October 1, 2018
Dear Dianne

congratulations to your new cello.

Remember that "Intonia.com" also covers the cello. Under  "opTions"  then   "Preset".

Enjoy the nice vibrations the cello gives off to your body. It is a very nice feeling.


Mary Reeley
Posted: September 29, 2018
Tuning with the pegs is a workout!  I had to get my husband to help me turn them.   I put geared tuning pegs on mine,  pricy, but  what a difference!

Dianne
Posted: September 29, 2018
Thank you, Mary! I'll check these out. I was thinking of not using tapes at first, but no, since I cannot see my fingers in 1st position without ruining posture, I am definitely going to put the tapes on, and do the catapult exercises. I also wanted to mention, I of course tuned the cello yesterday, and did need to use the pegs, and back off the fine tuners. I have never seen so much ebony in a peg! Although the pegs turned easily, the A peg required a bit more pushing in while turning, to keep it from slipping. I think the cello is going to get me in shape!

Mary Reeley
Posted: September 29, 2018
I am just full of suggestions, Here is another one.  I found The method book Artistry in Strings book1 for cello helpful for self teaching. Happy Learning! 

Mary Reeley
Posted: September 29, 2018
Hi  Dianne  How exciting!  Yes the whole steps are large.  I put tapes on my cello for 1st and 4th position, it really helped me. Get some pin striping tape from a auto parts shop, it works great.  Have fun learning,  I found learning, not too bad since some techniques transfer over. As far as reading base clef I have just found the notes on the cello as they relate to the staff but don't process the note names as they are in a different position on the staff, one line or space down.(  hope this makes sense) so not to confuse me when reading music for violin.  I got a cello note poster chart on Amazon to refer https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cello+fingering+chart+poster&sprefix=cello+poster+%2Caps%2C279&crid=X0VTPGJK28O4

Dianne
Posted: September 29, 2018
New Cello In Foam Bag w/ Bow and Rosin


Dianne
Posted: September 29, 2018
New Cello Arrived
I got my new cello yesterday! I looked it over closely and checked a few things. This was a blemished instrument purchase. It has a few superficial blemishes on it. There is one touch up spot on the back of the scroll, and a tiny one on the outside lower bout rib. The notches in the treble side F holes are closely matching, but not perfect. None of the this, or the oil varnish dings in two spots, or smudges around the lower back bout ribs, affect the playing. I've had touch ups on my 1st violin like this. I honestly would not have been able to ever purchase a beginning cello if it weren't for this kind of instrument. All I want is a good sound, no cracks, and as easy to play for a beginner as possible. It looks so far that I have it. It's string heights look great, and in fact the C string looks to be set up for young fingers, with a slightly lower string height. There is no buzzing and everything looks and sounds clear, with a lot of warmth to it (not overly bright and not tinny on the A). Really nice. Atleast to my beginner ears! The bow that came with it, although very inexpensive, is well balanced and feels very nice in the hand, as if I want to keep it in my hand and start playing. Can't ask for better than that. The cello sounds great across all strings. I looked for wolves on the C and went up to high B and no wolves. On the G, I only made it to next octave G before my fingers gave out. These are thick strings! I'll continue with that later. I played open strings yesterday, and will stick with that for a long while, to get the feel of the bowing. The bow hold is quite different, since it requires all fingers off the top of the stick, the thumb is the same as violin, and the bow tilt is opposite to that of the violin. This gives curved, relaxed fingers and thumb. Also, looking at the fingering on the cello of a 4th finger, it only gives you what would be the 3rd finger on violin. Very interesting because of the size of the whole steps. No wonder cellists shift a lot! I am going VERY slowly with this, and using the website Mary suggested, and double checking everything again elsewhere before I try anything, to be sure I am not setting myself up incorrectly because of possible misunderstandings. If I wasn't in my 7th year of violin, I would never do this!

Dianne
Posted: September 23, 2018
Great Cello!
Hi Mary! It's great to meet all these new cellists! Your cello sounds really nice. I wasn't that adventurous yet, and got a beginner cello, and hope it sounds good enough to inspire me to play. If not, that Bianca looks very good! Thank you for the information about the book and website- I will check them out. I've only been to one site for 'general' information so far, and that is Sarah Joy- very entertaining and informative! But no classical tutorials, which is what I am looking for. So I look forward to checking out that Suzuki book 1 site!

Mary Reeley
Posted: September 23, 2018
Oh,  and I forgot to mention a free web site for cello   Learn2playcello.com gave me a lot of help with basics and has instruction on Suzuki book 1. Click on the you tube channel in blue to take you to the videos.    Enjoy!

Mary Reeley
Posted: September 23, 2018
Hi  Dianne   Like you the Cello intrigued me,  and I bought the Otto Ernst Fischer Bianca from shar and really like it.  If you are looking for a adult learning book for cello,  the book Cello Playing for Music Lovers with CD,  A self teaching method by Vera Mattlin Jiji  available from Amazon and is a great book with some popular tunes you are taught to play pretty quickly which gave me a lot of encouragement. I love my violin as my first love but I am having fun learning the cello as well.    Good Luck and have fun! 

Dianne
Posted: September 22, 2018
Hi Frieda, that's great that you have a cello and that you like it! Yes, I will definitely post about my progress, if that's ok w/Vlab! :) There are a few things about the cello that inspire me to try it: the ability to play more of the bassline and hone my counting skills, the ability to improve my bowing skills on thicker strings- how to use more bow speed versus pressure, and eventually to find approachable solo parts that I could play for others, but as more of a background music, such as at a nursing home. This is definitely a few years out! However, I realize I will be learning the bass clef-yikes! Thank you for sharing!

Hi Maria, cello strings seem to be all steel core. I took a look at how the different levels of cellos seem to be strung on that website, and this is what I found:

Beginner/Intermediate Cellos:
-D'addario Prelude CGDA
-Prim CG, Jargar DA

Intermediate and Advanced Cellos:
-Larsen CGDA
-Jargar CGDA
-TI Spirocore? GC; Larsen DA

It seems, like violin, it's trial and error to see what strings work for each instrument, but these examples help. The preludes are very affordable, atleast!

Frieda
Posted: September 22, 2018

Hi Dianne, I rented a cello (4strings.be, online shop in Belgium). I could choose between a basic, advanced or premium cello. I rented a premium cello (bow, soft case, rosin included) for Ä35/month. After 4 weeks I received a call from the shop; they would know if I was satisfied. I really appreciated their call and let them know that the cello has a wolf tone and that the distance between the strings and the fingerboard is too large what is definitely not comfortable to play in the higher positions.
They answered me to bring the cello back to adjust but until now I did not. I rented the cello for three months, (already six weeks) and I think Iím going to complete my renting period with the cello without adjustments. The idea to rent a cello was only to see if I would like playing the cello after my experience of playing the violin. And YES! I LOVE IT! So, after completing my three months of renting Iíll go to the luthier were I bought my violin to see what he can do for me. Hopefully my three months of playing/experimenting/studying/watching tutorials etc will  help me to try different instruments to compare and maybe Iím lucky to find a highly-tuned instrument to rent/buy...
I really hope you will enjoy playing the cello as much as I do, please let me know and good luck 😊

Maria
Posted: September 22, 2018
😮✅wow it looks really nice  and the price it just right , I should have bought from Shar but I forgot ....

I heard the strings are costly too?

Maria
Posted: September 22, 2018
Dianne I chose the most inexpensive one just to protect it then I covered it with 4 cotton quilts.... let me check your case  of choice- brb

It's good that u bought instead of renting bec if you add it up it's like paying the costs of the instrument...Brb, going to look at your link...

Dianne
Posted: September 22, 2018
Very nice, Maria! Yes, cello cases are expensive! I really like the new lightweight bam cases, but they are so much more $ than my cello, so that does not seem right! There is a case at Shar that looks interesting. Not sure if it will keep the humidity levels inside- an important detail for here. I will ask them.

Maria
Posted: September 22, 2018
Dianne I'm glad you finally decided, happy that your quest to learn cello may encourage me to wake up Corazon (that's my cello name) and give it a try- I may need a new bow though because the hair's half gone. Lily claimed it as hers when she was still a kitten.

My cello is 7/8 not 3/4 lol :) it's my sleepy head...It's advanced level, I will check later the model I got it on sale for 2.5K ...the case was like 500 dollars, I bought it a year later because too expensive for me already. It's from Gliga I've searched for sound sample at least and lesser costs of course... 

To be contd

Dianne
Posted: September 21, 2018
Thank You For The Suggestions
Thank you Maria and Alan. Alan I looked at the website and it is very interesting that they offer three levels of rental instruments: standard/advanced/master (professional)! There is nothing I would like better than to rent, and eventually own, one in the middle category, but alas, I revisited my budget and saw that only renting would be possible in that range right now. And before I read your response, I had made a decision on a standard level instrument, just to try and see if I even like cello as much as I think I will. :) But I will definitely keep this in mind. I think this is a great find!

Maria, thank you for reminding me of Shar. I called them after I read your post, and they only rent two levels of standard, or beginner, instruments. I chatted with a rental associate and a sales associate, and explained what I was looking for, and they did have an instrument that I wanted to try, but I could not afford it. They offered some alternative suggestions. So I hung up and thought about my options and intent. I ended up calling them back, and purchasing a heavily discounted late beginner instrument package, minus the sale they were running, which I didn't even know about. I have purchased a few instruments in the past from Shar, and was able to say what I liked and didn't like about the models of the late beginner instruments in violin and viola. They suggested I give this one a try and said I might be surprised at how much I like it.

So my new cello package is arriving next week, and I am so excited to try it out. I can always return it if I don't like it, and revisit Alan's suggestion. And I didn't break the bank! If I had visited cello shops in this area, or online, a purchase would have to have been made for prices that exceed my budget. Cellos are expensive! If this instrument sounds good and fits my current needs, has a good setup and a decent set of strings, and the bow isn't too bad, I will be happy! A bonus is that this instrument may be a smaller profile 4/4. I was actually interested in a 7/8 because I am petite, so this instrument might be perfect for me. We'll see!

Alan Barnicoat
Posted: September 21, 2018
Cello Rental
Hi Dianne,

You might also check out Johnson String Instruments, Inc.
I have not rented from them, but I know they have several levels of cellos to choose from for rent. I purhased my Coda bow from them online after they sent me several samples - they were very helpful.  You could even ask to speak to John Guarino in customer service who was particularly accomodating...hope he is still there.  Classy website too.

Maria
Posted: September 21, 2018
Shar music dot com

Excited that you are going to learn cello, I have a 3/4 size Gliga I bought 2 yrs ago- I didn't get to it yet.

Good luck  on your cello hunt and please post soon...Gudnite

Maria
Posted: September 21, 2018


Got it! SHAR...

Maria
Posted: September 21, 2018


Dianne, there's this on-line store that rents cellos...I just can't remember the name, it's a popular on-line store...Ah, when the brain is too tired and sleepy.

I'll type the name once I remember it [it's on the tip of my tongue-yet can't remember it...]