Well here it is!
I've been doing some work on it so I feel it is mostly presentable. So first things first... the Bridge:
I found out the bridge was warped (happens when you look at pictures and notice something off). Since I don't have a go to person for stringed instrument repairs getting a new bridge was out of the question. Those have to be custom fit to the instrument so a luthier would have to sit there cutting it down and sanding it and shaping it. So I looked up how to straighten it and found that is I set it over a pot of boiling water I could steam it for about an hour and then press it under some heavy books for a day and let it air out after that. The bridge would still be prone to warping but you're supposed to press the bridge back on a regular basis. That's tricky since you could force the bridge over and the sound of it falling could shave a few years off your life! When you tune the strings are pulled forwards and so is the bridge (hardly noticeable) and the bridge is held in place by tension.
Suffice to say I met with success and my bridge is straight but I wouldn't mind having a second one cut.
Next... the tailpiece!
I read up on replacing a tailpiece and watched a video on how to do it. I picked a tailpiece that had those fine tuners and looked like... something better than what I had! I got it yesterday and when I was trying to adjust the tailpiece before replacing the old one I started to ask questions...
If the placement of the bridge is crucial would the placement of the tailpiece also impact the sound of the cello?
When I googled around I heard people talking about some 6-1 rule or... 1-6? I don't know which way it goes but some ratio! I couldn't get a clear explanation or example or direction to guide me. I read someone's post that mentioned after-lengths so I looked that up. The after-length is the length of string that is between the bridge and the tailpiece. Someone said the after-length of the C string should tune to about 2 octaves above the next string (which is the G string). After-length of the G string would tune to 2 octaves above the D string and the D to 2 octaves above the A string.
I was getting a little frustrated after about 30 minutes to 45 minutes of reading and searching and I just threw up my hands and said "screw it I'm just going to replace the tailpiece and see what happens!"
Sure enough I managed to string it up and get the bridge in place and tuned... and tuned... and tuned until the strings seemed to settle and the bridge was fairly straight. The after-lengths seems to tune close to those notes and I was able to use the fine-tuners to get them a bit close. Since I'm new I have no real idea what impact any of this had, I can't said I heard anything... different...
I bought a new set of strings and waited until I got the new tailpiece before stringing it up! The strings were flawless and I liked how colourful the ends were. I watched a video on how to string them properly and I played it back several times until I was able to follow it. I fed the string through, leaving about a centimeter of excess and wound it up to create the X shape they mentioned, then kept bringing in the string making sure it never overlapped. I did that 4 times... and they all look pretty neat. Seriously, they were a mess before and now that they've been done properly they'll be easier to take out whenever I have to replace them.
Again, I'm new so I don't really know how the sound have been changed or the quality. When I play more and I develop some sense of skill then I might notice how using one brand of string is different, how the cores might be different. Tailpieces, bridge shape and position, etc.
I can... sort of play a C major scale. I can hear the notes but I don't know how in tune they are. It's a start and I can almost focus on bowing and I can feel my way to where my fingers should go when I play each note. I think I'm going to be playing a C major scale for a while, and I'll be bowing across open strings to try and get that down too.
I've got rosin for the bow so I feel a bit better there. The guy who also helped me buy this says he might be able to help me out if anything happens but he's also got a guy who fixes his string bass when something happens to it.
1 blog comments below
Nice L! When is the first concert for the pets? Sending 'the mop' some earplugs! laugh
standready on Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:11 am