Sunday, August 07, 2005

Recent Cello-related Purchases

I have been re-investing in my cello recently with a couple of accessories. First, my wife helped me find a truly professional music stand, which I love. It's the type I've seen used on MTV; black with a pattern of circular holes. It's really solid and stable, but it does fold up. It has a thick edge, so it can hold my heavy binder of music without swaying at all. Also, I picked up a solid metal folding cello stand, so that I can keep my cello out for easier access both at performances and for practicing. I picked it up from a neat shop run by Dave Wascher, an old college friend of mine. Also, I have been buying up a lot of new music and making even more arrangements. We bought my daughter a 1/4 sized cello which is due to arrive soon, and also a 1/2 sized one (and a soft case) to a student of mine until she outgrows it (at which time it should fit my daughter).
Along with my recently purchased Jargar strings (see earlier entry) I have also picked up new polish, a polishing cloth, and a soundpost setter. I have never been afraid to spend money on my instrument. Even though playing music has been an element of my life since I was four years old, and cello since I was 10, I have never taken anything for granted. Even though my parents spent a lot of money (no, they weren't rich) for me to have my own cello and private teachers, I also spent my own money. My first cello was a Kay, my second a Roth, and my current cello is a Stradivarius copy. I sold the Roth for $1,050 when I started college in 1984 order to buy something that could carry me into adulthood. With the help of Larry Zgonc, I found an old broken cello in the classified ads of The Oregonian for $300. The neck and body were completely separated, and it had deep cracks in the face. I took a gamble, and had it repaired and rebuilt at the David Kerr violin shop. It took them a long time, and cost me $700 (including an old hard case). But I was $50 ahead, and I could tell right away that I was much happier with the sound. Appraisers have told me that my cello was probably built in New York City in the 1920s by Czech immigrant luthiers (instrument makers). I also bought the best bow I could afford about this time, with $450 I had earned at my paper route and working in the pressroom at the Gresham Outlook. Why so much on the bow? Because cheap bows warp easily and perform poorly compared to an artisan, hardwood bow such as mine, which is German-made and is as straight and trustworthy today as it was the day I bought it.