Thursday, December 22, 2005

Buying Guide for Cellos

The Cello is the second largest member of the String family and along with violins, violas and basses, an integral part of the Symphony Orchestra. It has four strings producing tones an octave lower than the viola and its voice closely corresponds with the human bass voice on the low end. The instrument is commonly associated with classical music, and is primarily found in orchestras and string quartets.

The cello is made in full and fractional sizes. While determining the appropriate instrument size for violin or viola can be fairly simple, (being basically a function of arm length) proper sizing of a cello is more complex, being a function of arm, leg and body length.

Proper cello sizing is accomplished by considering the interrelationship of all the body’s dimensions.

These cellos are designed for beginning students and are often produced by machine. Maple is sometimes used for high friction parts (pegs, fingerboard) and dyed to resemble the more expensive Ebony, which is found on most instruments. These cellos are excellent for the early stages of development and are priced to easily fit into most budgets.

These instruments represent better quality wood and workmanship, most (if not all) of which is done by hand. The result is an instrument that sounds better and will accommodate a player to more advanced levels of play. Pegs and fingerboard are usually made of Ebony. Extensive hand graduation of the top and back of the cello results in a more refined sound. If the wood is good and the maker has paid attention to the necessary details, some intermediate cellos may even approach the professional level of performance.

These are cellos made from only the finest woods and built with a near fanatical devotion to every detail of construction and appearance. Because of the relatively low number of craftsman skilled at this level, the number of hours required to produce an instrument of this caliber and the cost of select, premium wood, the price of these instruments is considerably higher.

Chris B's Music Cello Department