Last night I pulled out the Vivaldi double concerto and looked it over. I was working on it a few months ago, and I thought that I’d try it out on the 7/8.
Today I played the first movement on my cello first. Then I took the 7/8 out (Number 3 for those of you with scorecards) and played it again.
See, the size of the 7/8 actually does make a difference. It’s finally coalescing. My arms don’t have to be out so far in front of me to play; the energy and motion used in bowing is more efficient when I’m using the 7/8. It’s all closer to the body and it’s easier to use gravity as an aid instead of struggling against it.
Okay, fine. I’ve proven that to myself. The 7/8 is a better size for me.
The sound was nicer too, but again, that may just be the newer strings.
And finally, I don’t feel like the 7/8 is going to twist or angle oddly under my bow. I don’t have to brace it as much as when I play the 4/4. It feels sturdier in just about every way.
The finish of Number 3 is even growing on me.
I have done my damnedest not to get attached, and to be as objective as possible. I think I’ve finally proven to myself that the size is important. I’m still not completely convinced about this 7/8 being The One!!1!, but I am convinced about the size. I’d like to try a couple more. I’ll sign the Number Two (AKA the Scarlatti) out from Wilder & Davis in early August. It may be a thousand dollars more, but it’s worth a listen at home. There’s a 7/8 four grades higher than Numbers 1 and 3 for sale through a private luthier in Alaska too (an AE405, if anyone’s dying of curiosity) that come with the hard case I want and a bow three times better than the one that comes with this SE/VC100. It’s had finessing work done on it (including a carbon fibre endpin! and a new French style bridge!) and is $1,100 cheaper than the list price (and the basic list price doesn’t include the upgraded bow or the bonus hard case, only a mid-range bow and a soft case). Of course I’d have to order it on trial, and I’d have ten days to decide at home if I liked it or not. If I don’t, I’d ship it back and absorb the shipping cost ($100 each way, which sounds like a lot but is cheap for this kind fo thing, I assure you, wow!). But here’s the kicker: the cost of this several-notches-higher 7/8 with upgraded bow and hard case is only five hundred dollars more than good old Number 3 here, with its soft case and bottom of the line bow. If I added the $500 hard case to the cost of the VC100 here, I’d be looking at $2,000 anyway. Normally I am violently opposed to buying instruments over the internet, but the numbers are very persuasive, the luthier is reputable, many people have dealt with her among the online community and they say nothing but good things. I’ve chatted with her in forums and on bulletin boards on occasion and she’s honest.
It’s an option. And I’m serious enough about this that investing $200 in a cello I might not keep is acceptable, because the payoff could be wonderful. And if it ends up being only as good as the VC100, well, I’ve still snagged myself a deal. I find myself measuring things in freelance work now: a new printer is one evaluation, a new computer will be five, and so forth. So if I tried this and wasn’t happy with the cello I’d only have invested two evaluations in it.
Not that this is a done deal; I want to visit The Sound Post while we’re in Toronto to play some of their stock, and while we’re there I may as well swing past Remenyi as well. I have all summer to do this.