Cello Diaries: One String at a Time

Why does that title sound like a soap opera? Hmm…

Anyway. Sometimes I wonder if it ever gets better. Kind of better is one thing, but does it ever get to a point where at least one song can be played beautifully without any cringing moments? For me I am not so sure it does. However, I found that changing my strings did kind of make a difference in sound quality that I didn’t realize was lacking. I think it’s because the decrease from what it should sound like to what it does sound like is so gradual that it’s not really noticeable. Kind of like that saying if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will hop out immediately, but if you give it tempered water and gradually turn up the heat it will stay in the water and boil to death. I don’t know if that’s true. I have never cooked a frog—living or dead, but I guess it could be. It’s certainly fitting of my cello strings issue.

Technically my strings were old. I figured missing about a year and a half of cello meant they were still possibly good. They were about four years old. Elizabeth Davis, a fabulous cellist on my Facebook friend list who said if I had any question I could ask, answered my question of when I should change my strings. Sadly, I found out I should have changed them like three years ago. They sounded fine to me. That’s because four years is a long time to listen to something wrong. You get used to it and it starts to sound right. With a fresh set of strings on it’s like, “oh, that’s how that’s supposed to sound.”

All strings are a go, but that was my last full pack of strings. My other pack is missing one. So I have to decide do I buy one of the cheaper strings to match and make a complete set just in case I break the one on the cello? Or do I keep saving until I can afford the better strings? On the other end of that, saving won’t help me if I break the string anytime soon now will it?

In other cello news, I have decided to make music love to third and fourth position. Yeah, I’m playing there more now and including harmonics. I was so comfortable in first that I didn’t want to move from there. I mean it was my first position after all. You can’t just abandon your first. Yeah, I was holding back. I didn’t want to move because moving wasn’t comfortable…but you know, I’m kind of loving the shift. I now spend more time there than I did before when I was first learning those positions. I do not want to go past that. I’ll get over that with more practice. Now if I could just record something that sounds decent I could share. That might not ever happen because it never sounds decent to me :).


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