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What size cello for adult beginner


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#1 jim palmer

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 20:45

I was thinking of attending a "taster" cello lesson at the City Lit, but HAVE TO BRING OWN CELLO.

As an adult beginner is it essential to get a full size instrument? There are plenty of 3/4 cellos to buy on ebay but would I have a problem with a 3/4?

I'm 5'9 with smallish hands (only one piano octave) and play a 15 1/2" viola.

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#2 Banjogirl

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 21:09

You're bigger than my nearly eighteen year old son who has had a full size cello for several years now. I think a three quarter would be quite small.


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#3 Flossie

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 21:10

I think you would be better with a full size.  Cello fingering differs from viola fingering and there is less of a stretch.  You are quite tall and the body of a 3/4 size would probably be too small for you.

 

I played a full size cello at school and am quite a bit shorter than you.  I play a 15 inch viola because a 15.5 was too large for me.  You can manage a larger viola than I can, so you should be fine with the same size cello.


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#4 jim palmer

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 21:19

@Flossie@Banlogirl

Thanks for the advice, I'll look out for a 4/4 on ebay.

Just outbid for one today.sad.png


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#5 tulip21

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 21:28

Just curious: why are you buying on eBay? Why not rent one from a local store?
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#6 jim palmer

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 21:35

@tulip21

I don't mind buying a used instrument on ebay, if I give up I could donate to a local school!


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#7 Tenor Viol

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 19:48

Cellos come in different shapes depending on the model. Strad based ones are narrower than say Montagnana which have wider lower bouts. Other than that, you would need to be unusually small to warrant anything other than 4/4. If you did want 'smaller' it would probably be 7/8 or 'English' cello rather than 3/4. But both of those would be expensive.


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#8 jim palmer

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 12:18

@Tenor Viol

Thanks for the info, perhaps a visit to the nearest music shop would be a good idea http://www.northcotemusic.co.uk

i could try out a 4/4 there and perhaps rent for a term.


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#9 barry-clari

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 22:44

Just under five foot eight. Can only stretch a sixth comfortably on the piano. I play a full size ‘cello with no problems whatsoever :)
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#10 cestrian

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 17:22

The test, I believe, is that in first position, you need to be able to stop a G on the D string with your fourth finger and reach back for the Bb on the A with your forefinger. Not that that helps you in advance I realise but it's not as simple as 3/4, 7/8, etc. but is more a Q of string length. You can't get away from the fact that you need to test in the flesh before you decide.

 

Edited for being misleading!


Edited by cestrian, 11 June 2018 - 19:47 .

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#11 Flossie

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 17:38

The test, I believe, is that in first position, you need to be able to stop a G on the D string and reach back for the Bb on the A. Not that that helps you in advance I realise but it's not as simple as 3/4, 7/8, etc. but is more a Q of string length. You can't get away from the fact that you need to test in the flesh before you decide.

 

Whilst correct, that is a bit misleading as guidance for someone who is coming from a viola background because the notes are fingered in a different way.  For someone who has played viola but not cello, stopping the notes as above would indicate that the cello was too small because the 3rd finger would be used for the G (as on a viola) rather than the 4th (as on cello).  The person would first need to learn not to finger the cello like a viola.  People tend to be completely oblivious to the difference in fingering patterns unless they have been taught about both instruments.  Cello players who pick up a viola for the first time without instruction will invariably use cello fingerings, and vice versa.


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#12 jim palmer

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 12:31

Update: I bought a 3/4 Stentor 2. (Ebay bargain)

I might have to fit a spike extension but the string length is right for my hands.

It weighs a ton but carryable on my back, so won't need a taxi to get to the cello class!

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#13 Norway

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 15:44

Good luck with it Jim - let us know how you get on!  smile.png


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#14 Tenor Viol

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 14:13

Hope it's got decent strings - makes a big difference to playability. Something like Jargar


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#15 jim palmer

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 14:48

The C and G are Chromcor (Pirastro), also found a spare Chromcor D in the case pocket!

Can't identify the current D (blue winding at tailpiece) and A (green winding) but seem to be similar quality.

Bridge seems a bit high (though previously played by teenage girl) so will get out my little round file to lower strings a couple of mm.

Height at nut is fine.

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