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Cello guitar england zeller prima primavera 200 andreas

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#1 DarrenM

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:19

Hi there, my name is Darren :)

 

I've been a guitar player for about 17 years now, but I'm finding that I just can't say what I want to with a guitar anymore. I've always loved the viol family of instruments, and I've decided that I would like to start learning the cello as it's been my favourite for a long time. I tried the violin before, but didn't get along with it, despite admiring its more portable nature. I have always preferred the sound of the cello though. I know I'm a bit old, but at 24 I still think there's time for me to reach a level where I can hopefully have as much fun expressing myself on the cello as I can on the guitar.

 

I'm looking at the rent-to-buy schemes at the moment and have found two (both offered by the same store) that I'm very interested in and was wondering if someone could give me any opinions on the instruments at all?

 

The first is a Primavera 200 outfit (includes a bow and soft case), this outfit is £40 p/m fitted with Jargar strings and looks like a very nice cello. I believe it is made by the Eastman Strings company and I have a lot of respect for their offerings in the world of guitars, so this seems like a good option to me. I also like that this cello is made entirely of solid woods with no laminates.

 

The second is the Andreas Zeller solid woods instrument, again this instrument uses no laminates. It is £5 more expensive per month than the Primavera 200 at £45 p/m and also comes fitted with Jargar strings. I have read some good reviews of these instruments as well, but am less familiar with the name, although I understand that they are a subsidiary of Stentor Music. One problem with the Zeller though is that it is not sold as an outfit, so I would have to purchase a bow and case for it myself (I have seen a soft case for about £40 that would likely suffice as I don't use public transport very often). I don't know about a bow though, as there seems little point in having a nicer instrument if the bow is of a noticeably lesser quality.

 

What does everyone think about these instruments? How far into my grades is either of these cellos likely to take me before I start looking to move on to another instrument? What bow would people recommend if I were to look at the Zeller?

 

I think I am leaning more towards the Prima 200 at the moment. Probably in part because I am already familiar with the manufacturer, but also because it is a significantly cheaper option when factoring in the cost of a bow and case as well. Another point that I'm thinking about is that -assuming I stick with the instrument- I'll likely want to upgrade further down the line it might be better to put the excess money toward my next instrument if the difference between the two is more minimal?

 

Any opinions would be most welcome :) and thanks to everyone in advance for your time, I really appreciate the help.

 

Oh, I should also mention that I intend to get lessons (either once or twice a month, depending on what I can afford) right from the get-go, so no need to worry there as my guitar playing has already taught me the importance of a good teacher :)

 

Thanks again!


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#2 allypally

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 12:30

Hello and  :welcome:  I'm not a cellist but my 11 year old daughter is doing grade 3.  She's just moved up from a 1/2 size Andreas Zeller to a 3/4 Primavera.  I don't think there's much in it quality wise.  They are both good instruments for her level (approved by teacher before we bought them).  We got them second hand for about £350 each and I'm hoping to sell the Zeller privately for roughly what we paid 2 years ago).  Apparently decent 2nd hand cellos don't lose their value much over time.  Have you thought about a 2nd hand lower grade instrument and then upgrade when you know you want to learn seriously and/or reach a good standard? 

 

Good strings definitely improve sound quality - we upgraded the Primavera to better strings (Preludes) because they sounded very strident and harsh.  According to daughter's cello teacher, even a Strad would sound awful with cheap strings :D .  If you want to do rent to buy if I were you \i'd go for the Primavera because the bow etc are included.  New bows are £40 - £60 I think.  Have fun, the cello is a truly lovely instrument and there is lots of gorgeous music for you to discover and play


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#3 DarrenM

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 14:18

Thanks Allypally :)

 

I would usually buy an older instrument as you've suggested, but I've got somewhat of a track record of picking things up and not getting on with them and leaving them alone and I really don't want that to happen with cello, so I think going down the rent-to-buy route will be best for me (I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but it does in my head  :rofl: ).

 

I agree that the Primavera seems like the better option of the two at the moment. I keep reading good things about it, and knowing that everything I need to get started is included is really good too (otherwise I'll obsess over the gear and miss out on enjoying the instrument! :) ). I think that by keeping my initial spending low by going for the Primavera 200, I'll be less annoyed when the time comes to move on to another cello too.

 

 

I know! I'm really looking forward to playing some nice things (although I know it will be a while yet). The cello has always had the most human sounding voice to my ears.


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#4 DarrenM

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 15:44

I also meant to ask how long a cello like the Primavera 200 is expected to serve before it needs to be upgraded? Would a cello like this be able to go with you up to grade 8 standard?


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#5 cestrian

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 18:21

I also meant to ask how long a cello like the Primavera 200 is expected to serve before it needs to be upgraded? Would a cello like this be able to go with you up to grade 8 standard?

My teacher reminds me often that she got to grade 8 with a plywood cello so to directly answer your question I would say 'yes'. However, you will probably enjoy the journey more if you had better equipment. The more you spend the more likely it will be better quality but there are many individual aspects which are difficult to account for. The general misconception is that you will instantly sound better with more expensive equipment. I bought a Concertante with improved set-up from the off thinking it would last me forever but in reality it's only now that I'm starting to develop an ear for hearing differences in sound quality. I certainly don't regret buying it but I was lucky in that I didn't waste my money on something that turned out to be a flash in the pan. I've played it nearly every day and love it more each passing day.

 

I'm sure the Primavera 200 will be fine and in time you will probably have a go with someone else's at orchestra and get a feel for how different they are -not always for the better by the way. Or you could go to a luthier's now and try a few.

 

Bow's also important and they are also fabulously different.

 

Enjoy!


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#6 DarrenM

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 18:58

Thanks Cestrian.

 

Hopefully the Primavera will take me as far as I want to go with grades then, that would be great. Maybe a new cello could be my gift to myself if I ever get to grade 8 :P . It would do me good actually because I still need to finish off my grade 5 theory, so having a reason to get that done would be no bad thing at all!

 

I was concerned about the bow as well, but I think I'll probably stick with the standard outfit bow until I have a better understanding of what constitutes a good bow from being a not-so-good one. 

 

Just looking for a teacher now then so everything's ready to go once I dip into my pockets and get a cello  :)


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#7 Tenor Viol

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 21:18

Hi :wave:

 

Cello is a good choice, but I'm biased! (By the way, if you meant viol family - as opposed to violin family - there are several of us here too...).

 

Your approach sounds sensible. Jargar strings are good - I have them on my Jay Haide cello. Bows are a tricky subject. Some people are fine initially with an inexpensive  carbon fibre bow or Brasil wood, some people don't get on with them at all - it's down to individual ergonomics. Might be worth speaking to your teacher first - they may have some ideas and options for you.

 

It's fair to say I think that whatever you like today, you'll have a different view in two or three years' time.

 

Good luck and we look forward to your reports!


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#8 RoseRodent

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 22:15

I come from the squeaky end of the violin family, but I agree that it's sensible to start off with a good solid instrument and go from there. So long as the instrument stays in tune well it will get you started. You won't have the technical capabilities to get all the subtleties out of a more sympathetic instrument anyway, and when you do get to that stage you will be wanting to pick something which suits your playing style rather than just that it's a "nice cello" - you could buy a lovely instrument which doesn't suit you at all as you develop. As an adult learner, and one who has a long musical history, you will want something which will be capable of making a pleasing, full noise. You can upgrade bit by bit as you go. It's possible to get to Grade 8 with a student instrument, but I think you will probably find yourself looking for upgrades along the way to avoid the frustrations of finding it won't sing the way you want it to. By then you will have enough experience to go cello shopping and really know what you want. But I wouldn't start thinking too much about that stuff now, who knows what will happen in that amount of time, and you could end up not taking the first step on the journey becuase you are too wrapped up in the destination. 


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#9 DarrenM

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 00:57

I come from the squeaky end of the violin family, but I agree that it's sensible to start off with a good solid instrument and go from there. So long as the instrument stays in tune well it will get you started. You won't have the technical capabilities to get all the subtleties out of a more sympathetic instrument anyway, and when you do get to that stage you will be wanting to pick something which suits your playing style rather than just that it's a "nice cello" - you could buy a lovely instrument which doesn't suit you at all as you develop. As an adult learner, and one who has a long musical history, you will want something which will be capable of making a pleasing, full noise. You can upgrade bit by bit as you go. It's possible to get to Grade 8 with a student instrument, but I think you will probably find yourself looking for upgrades along the way to avoid the frustrations of finding it won't sing the way you want it to. By then you will have enough experience to go cello shopping and really know what you want. But I wouldn't start thinking too much about that stuff now, who knows what will happen in that amount of time, and you could end up not taking the first step on the journey becuase you are too wrapped up in the destination. 

 

I couldn't agree with this more. I'm sure whatever cello I get will be sufficient and enjoyed by me for however long I keep it and I will stick with the student bow supplied until my teacher suggests that it may be better for me to look at something else. I think I just need to focus on playing and using what I have instead of (doing what I usually do) obsessing over equipment!

 

You don't know me do you? That comment about not taking the first step on the journey because you focus too much on the destination is a wonderful summing up of my life!  :P

 

Hi :wave:

 

Cello is a good choice, but I'm biased! (By the way, if you meant viol family - as opposed to violin family - there are several of us here too...).

 

 

Ah sorry, I meant Violin family! My mistake (incorrect terminology :rolleyes: ), I'm not familiar enough with viol instruments to have a proper opinion of them, but they do look excellent!

 

Yes, I've read a few things that have suggested for a few players a bow can be even more important than their instrument. I know that it will be a long time before I can appreciate any real difference in quality or preference though, so Im sure just using the one supplied will be a good option for a little while at least  :)


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#10 lubylu

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 17:11

Hi and welcome!

My first cello was a Prima 200 with upgraded strings. It was fine for the first 9 months, up to about grade 4 standard. I was lucky to have a very nice bow leant to me by my teacher which I'm sure helped the sound. I upgraded to a modern German workshop cello which was fine for another 6 months or so and then I bought my current cello which is antique German (c1890). I'm currently around grade 7 standard but the current cello will take me to well beyond grade 8. If I ever get there that is!!

What I noticed with both the previous cellos was that I got frustrated with the quality of the sound. When I played my current cello for the first time it was like I'd died and gone to heaven! Suddenly I felt that I could actually play the cello and make a passable noise.

I'm quite sure you could get to grade 8 on a Prima 200 but the process will be much more satisfying if you can afford a better instrument at some stage, probably around grade 5 when the music starts to become "proper" cello music. One of the most frustrating things I find about playing the cello is that the tone and quality of sound depend on so many things and it is very easy for it to sound awful even if you're playing the right notes! A decent instrument does at least help it to sound a bit better.

I love the cello but it is a frustrating process learning at times and has taken a good deal of tenacity to keep going. Choose your teacher very carefully as correct technique is vital and not always taught well.

Good luck and enjoy!
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#11 DarrenM

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 18:51

Hi and welcome!

My first cello was a Prima 200 with upgraded strings. It was fine for the first 9 months, up to about grade 4 standard. I was lucky to have a very nice bow leant to me by my teacher which I'm sure helped the sound. I upgraded to a modern German workshop cello which was fine for another 6 months or so and then I bought my current cello which is antique German (c1890). I'm currently around grade 7 standard but the current cello will take me to well beyond grade 8. If I ever get there that is!!

What I noticed with both the previous cellos was that I got frustrated with the quality of the sound. When I played my current cello for the first time it was like I'd died and gone to heaven! Suddenly I felt that I could actually play the cello and make a passable noise.

I'm quite sure you could get to grade 8 on a Prima 200 but the process will be much more satisfying if you can afford a better instrument at some stage, probably around grade 5 when the music starts to become "proper" cello music. One of the most frustrating things I find about playing the cello is that the tone and quality of sound depend on so many things and it is very easy for it to sound awful even if you're playing the right notes! A decent instrument does at least help it to sound a bit better.

I love the cello but it is a frustrating process learning at times and has taken a good deal of tenacity to keep going. Choose your teacher very carefully as correct technique is vital and not always taught well.

Good luck and enjoy!

 

Thank you very much for your reply.

 

This is more or less what I had expected actually; that it would indeed be possible to take a Prima 200 to whatever grade I wanted to use it for, but that I may find myself wanting something else down the line. As RoseRodent has stated though, I need to focus on the journey, not the destination, haha (sorry, I love that :lol: ).

 

I am looking for a teacher as we speak (if anyone knows anyone really special in the Solihull area of the west midlands then please get in touch). I think it's incredibly important with an instrument like this to find a good teacher and so I'll make sure I choose very carefully! It seems there's a lot more people teaching violin than cello though...


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#12 DarrenM

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 16:08

Just thought I'd let you all know that I've got it sorted now  :)

 

I've found a luthier that is singing from the same hymn sheet as me as to the idea of what an instrument should be, etc.

 

After an extensive 40min chat on the phone, he has recommended a slightly more expensive instrument (a Westbury) and will allow me to finance the instrument over a generously extended period of time, so that it will fit in with my budget. He'll also assist me in selecting a slightly better bow and we will have a hard case too.

 

It means waiting a month or two before I get my first cello, but I believe it will be worth it in the end to have an instrument which has been adjusted and given the nod by this fellow. 

 

In the mean-time I can carry on trying to improve my sight reading and theory knowledge (which is no bad thing!).

 

Thanks to everyone who chimed in to help with my decision, I look forward to sharing the rest of my journey with you in a couple of months time.


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