So this has been an interesting and kind of a stressful week for me. For some reason, I thought I needed a new cello. It all started last week, when I dropped by my luthiers to get my bow re-haired. I inquired if they had a Montagnana (We’ll call it Monty for the rest of the blog) style cello that I could try. Bad move on my part because this thing sounded amazing and it played so easily (and it cost 2X my cellol!). And it just made my cello sound very inadequate. So I borrowed it and another cello, 100 year old French Cello (we’ll call this one Pierre), for a week. Both Pierre and Monty were so easy to play, they were effortless and had wonderful tone. Neither had the projection of my cello but side by side by side, my cello felt lacking.
So, here I am thinking that I would trade my cello, Slava, in for a cello 2x the cost. I’ve only been playing 8 months and I’m thinking that I could buy a new cello to make me a better cellist. What am I thinking! The thing that really bothered me is that Slava sounded like crap, really dry, edgy, and the G and C strings were nowhere near as responsive as they were a few months ago.
A couple of nights ago, I was testing all three, when I realized that Slava had changed – he was easier to play and it was making these wonderful sounds! Why was Slava Behaving differently? Maybe he realized he was about to be traded for something better and he stepped-up his game. Uh…NO…Not sure when it started, but my form and technique changed. I’ve unknowingly changed my right arm position from elbow low, to elbow high. I went from a very relaxed weighting of the bow to a tense, put more pressure on index finger bowing – which, for me makes for very inconsistent tone, rough string changes, etc. So having figured this out, I tested all three instruments again, and I preferred the tone and projection of my Slava! Monty and Pierre, had wonderful tone but I just preferred Slava’s more. And neither could come close to Slava’s projection.
The one thing I really appreciated about Monty and Pierre is that they were so easy to play, the strings were so easy on the fingers (Monty has the same strings as Slava so I know it is not a string issue). I’m visiting the Luthier to see if they can make Slava like this.
Lesson learned – Be happy with what I have.