[Way OT] Need Cello buying advice

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annadyne
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[Way OT] Need Cello buying advice

Post by annadyne » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:21 pm

Greetings einmal,

I've gotten really tired of needing electricity to compose music so I've integrated playing on cheapie 'Chopstick' cello into my life. I've reached my squeaky limits with this little laminated thing so I'm in the market for good step up.

I'm about to preview a cello made by Lothar Semmlinger. Does anyone know anything about this craftsman and his work? I've culled a little info here and there but maybe one of you has some personal input.

Any other advice, especially pertaining to a good pickup is really appreciated.

Thank you!! :D

Liz Lang - Aurascene
dual 1.8 G4, L4.14, microwaveXT, electrocomp 101, cello, hinges, chinese coins, rode nt2, other stuff.

http://www.mooneuropa.com

HD1
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Post by HD1 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:22 pm

lol...have you tried any cello forums ? They tend to know more about cellos...
bing bing!

leisuremuffin
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Post by leisuremuffin » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:34 pm

I don't know anything about the cello, i'm afraid.

But i do want your electrocomp 101!!!!!! What a great little semi-modular synth! There was one at the electronic music studio at Sarah Lawrence College and i never felt like i spent enough time with it. Great instrument.



.lm.
TimeableFloat ???S?e?n?d?I?n?f?o

DeadlyKungFu
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Post by DeadlyKungFu » Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:39 am

I know from buying guitars that you want to:
- bring a tuner
- check the intonation, an open string has the same note as the same string fretted at its halfway point
- check for neck buzz (action is too low)
- make sure the action isn't too high
-- for both of the above make sure the instrument is strung with the gauge of strings you prefer
- check for cracks, scratches, stuff like that
- make sure you get a case in the deal
- if nothing else, buy something that looks good and is in reasonable shape then spend $100 at a luthier to get it fixed up.

stuff like that...

There's a totally depressing french move "To All the Mornings in the World" - it has some of the most amazing cello music in it. Worth watching.

dje
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Post by dje » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:12 am

I have 10+ years on cello and have owned three. I have also played electric guitar for about the same amount of time and own two, so I'll try to help out a bit.
DeadlyKungFu wrote: - bring a tuner
- check the intonation, an open string has the same note as the same string fretted at its halfway point
Cellos (and, generally, instruments played with the bow) don't use fretted fingerboards. Intonation is usually tested at harmonics, and the cause of poor intonation is, more often than not, cured by simply replacing the strings.
DeadlyKungFu wrote: - check for neck buzz (action is too low)
- make sure the action isn't too high
String height on an instrument with a wooden bridge will change seasonally unless you are in a very stable climate. The only real way to fix it is to have a new bridge carved. Cellos don't have truss rods like guitars.
DeadlyKungFu wrote: - check for cracks, scratches, stuff like that
Definitely check for gaps along the seams, and cracks, especially on the front of the instrument which, on well made instruments, is usually not carved as thick as the rear. Wear in the finish of a cello may just be a sign of use and age, which unlike solid body guitars, can significantly improve the tonal quality of the instrument.
DeadlyKungFu wrote: - make sure you get a case in the deal
A good cello case will easily cost upwards of $500. Don't count on a dealer to throw that in for free. A private deal will be more likely to include a case.
DeadlyKungFu wrote: - if nothing else, buy something that looks good and is in reasonable shape then spend $100 at a luthier to get it fixed up.
Be very careful with this. A cello is not a guitar, and skilled guitar repairmen are much more abundant than those who work on classical stringed instruments. Example: I just took one of my guitars to one of the best luthiers in my (large) city and it'll cost me roughly $50 for a full "tune-up" and a new set of strings. A quality bridge recarving and a new set of strings alone will cost upwards of $150 on a cello.

Incidentally, the term luthier is not, to my knowledge, usually associated with classical instruments any more.

Some other notes:
- Make sure "Lothar Semmlinger" is the name of a man and not a factory.
- I have always preferred microphones to pickups when recording classical strings.
- This is really long and off-topic for my first post on these forums.

HD1
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Post by HD1 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:12 pm

wow, impressive first post!
bing bing!

mcconaghy
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Post by mcconaghy » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:58 pm

To add to dje's excellent fiirst post there, Lothar Semmerlinger could be any one of the multitude of stringed instrument builders from the area around Schönbach/Germany around the late 19th century. They were "mass produced", if you could call it that, but nonetheless good instruments - I'm going by acoustic guitarps (guitars with additional drone strings). The name could also be Bavarian in origin, best thing to do is have a look at the label, you'll be able to pinpoint at least region, if not date.

I don't know if it's important for celli, but a viola-playing friend of mine said to bring your own bow.

rikhyray
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Post by rikhyray » Wed Apr 12, 2006 3:36 pm

Where are you located ? I would recommend Czech republic, great luthiers and competitive prices before they ship to EU. It is definitely worth going there, naturally you must first contact some manufacturers. then take you bow and cash and make your choice. Whatever the travel costs you will save much more and nothing like knowing personally the person who built you instrument.

KungFu your innocent enthusiasm is unmatched, however it was a bit ( actually big BIT) funny to read.
My fav is this part:
"- check the intonation, an open string has the same note as the same string fretted at its halfway point"

it could be highly recommende to any struggling cellist, specially in combination with tuner,
Sorry, I am still laughing, but have you ever seen a cello?Please dont take it bad, it was very cute actually.

mikemc
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Post by mikemc » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:07 pm

the wood ones are supposed to be good.

4am
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Post by 4am » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:11 pm

rikhyray wrote:Where are you located ? I would recommend Czech republic, great luthiers and competitive prices before they ship to EU. It is definitely worth going there, naturally you must first contact some manufacturers. then take you bow and cash and make your choice. Whatever the travel costs you will save much more and nothing like knowing personally the person who built you instrument.


excellent idea! i play double bass and have many friends who are happy with the instrument they bought there! for something valid you will have to put some money... but well spent

lerky
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Post by lerky » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:02 pm

I used to play cello, and I've been seriously looking into one of yamahas silent(electric) ones
cello has a really great sound

mcconaghy
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Post by mcconaghy » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:11 pm

The NS Design celli are amazing, the bass cello is tuned the same way as the bass side of a Stick - I'm soooooo lusting for that...

lerky
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Post by lerky » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:22 pm

those ns instruments are looking realy good 8)

DeadlyKungFu
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Post by DeadlyKungFu » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:38 pm

rikhyray wrote:KungFu your innocent enthusiasm is unmatched, however it was a bit ( actually big BIT) funny to read.
My fav is this part:
"- check the intonation, an open string has the same note as the same string fretted at its halfway point"

it could be highly recommende to any struggling cellist, specially in combination with tuner,
Sorry, I am still laughing, but have you ever seen a cello?Please dont take it bad, it was very cute actually.
I'm glad I amuse you :D :lol:
I wrote out the typical guitar answer and I swear I edited the word fret out and put in 'the note at half the string length'. Ugh, I gotta edit that out. :oops: :lol:

The depth of knowlege that can pop up here is pretty amazing. I had no idea about the strange nature of cellos, very cool.

annadyne
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Cello advice :-0

Post by annadyne » Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:46 am

Well hello again and thanks for the great advice! Dje and Kingfu - you are marvellous! I thought it would be fun to hear ideas from my favorite trusted forum and see if there were any other celloists playing live, or live-rs who happened to play cello.

I have definitely scoured the net for information so I won't be totall blind at this. I started out playing guitar over twenty years ago and then got bored because guitars are ubiquitous and the palette limited. Plus they're way too easy to play.

Try doing hammer-ons with cello strings, no fret tangs and a curved fingerboard!
Yeah.. I really really was tempted to get a stick.. but I think the Steinberger cellos look sooo hot!

Yes of course the wooden cellos are better as I quickly found out. I didn't much care for the cardboard one I tried because it got soggy in the rain. So I tried a nice see-through plexiglass cello but then I left my soldering on near it accidentally one day and it wonged into the plastic and burnt holes into the side. I nearly fainted from the toxic fumes. I found cellos at Wal-mart but they were made from particle board and I knew that like all other Walmart products, a Wal-mart cello would have to be replaced quite often and that it was probably made with child labor. Interestingly, there's an American experimental cellist named Robert Rutman who plays a steel cello! Wow... now I'd LOVE to have a rusty cello although I'd probably injure myself on it on a cold-weld spot and have to get a tetanus shot... so yes. The wooden ones are better and safer. Hope I don't get a splinter. :D

I found out that Lothar Semmlinger is actually a living master cello maker who operates his shop in Baiersdorf, Deutschland, and is a member of a master cello makers guild in Nurnberg. Right you are to watch out for 'made up' names that just sound good when pasted onto cheapie laminated cellos. Anything Lothar would sound serious, ja wohl!

www.lothar-semmlinger.de

I haven't found anything he makes for under $2000. Then again that may mean nothing. Money doesn't always have meaning in that manner. However I've managed to play a few cellos since my post and the Semmlinger definitely has a rich pleasant tone, sounds even across the strings and up the board, and is very easy to play.

I did find several light dings in the edge - NOT good - upon arrival... but nothing that impairs the playing in any way or looks like a small animal bit into it. Tomorrow I'm having a violin/cello/bass luthier give Lothar a health checkup.

BTW the Electrocomp 101 synth kicks mama tera-booty - it's a grumpy old thing with oscillators that groan and vibrate the tectonic plates below my office building. Can't wait to track it with the new cello!

Thanks again for taking the time to write something very helpful or at least amusing! 8)

Cheers,
Elizabeth - Aurascene
www.mooneuropa.com

http://www.mooneuropa.com

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