I’m going to write some fun stuff here about nailing the neck on and holding my breath as I tune up the top E string.
This is a new model of cello for me so it meant making a new mould. After having constructed two Stradivari model cellos in quick succession I wanted something that would really contrast in terms of sound and feel which I figured meant either going large or going small.
There is a 3rd option though – the Guadagnini cello combines a shorter back length and overall string length with a wider central section, leading to an instrument which is (theoretically) more responsive comfortable for a smaller player whilst also delivering possible even more bass and volume.
This was my first experience of cutting ribs out by hand. It definitely makes one feel closer to the techniques of the old masters, but if I don’t have to do it then I’d rather not – it just adds an unnecessary day or two to the process really.
I look at making cellos not so much as “building a large instrument” but more as “building a normal sized instrument out of some very large pieces of wood”. In the end the finished product should not feel hefty or awkward to handle, it should just feel right – balanced and well proportioned. But to get close to that stage involves producing bucket load upon bucket load of wood shavings.
It becomes even more clear than with a violin just how small the amount of wood left is compared to the amount removed. If only there was some way to reconstitute the shavings into solid wood, an entire cello could be constructed several times over.
The sounds and feels very promising set up in the white. The next step is varnishing, but that will have to wait until I’ve moved workshops. Watch this space!