(Oh look, I found a journal entry I’d been working on in fits and starts over the week. Evidently the headaches and work have given me the attention span of a gnat.)
I have the money to buy my current 7/8. Which, of course, now makes me all wibbly again. I’m just going to need to upgrade in a few years anyhow, now that I’m taking lessons again and advancing properly.
But why do you wibble? I hear my Gentle Readers say. We thought you were decided.
Well, insofar as I like the cello and it’s good to play, yes. When it comes to handing over just under $2K? Not so much.
I just dragged the 4/4 up from downstairs, though. And yes, wow, it’s great: it’s balanced, and projects really well. But it’s huge. And… I’ve come to prefer the tone of the 7/8. It’s more… caramel-y. My 4/4 is kind of like espresso: delicious, but with a bite. The 4/4 is easier to play action-wise; string crossings were effortless and the sound match between first and fourth position is smoother. But the 7/8 has that lovely mellow, nutty sound to it that’s always been my preference in cello tonal colour. And it’s improved since I got it; it likes being played and the sound has certainly developed. It will only get better.
I know I want to sell my 4/4. That much is decided. Love the sound, but I’m never going to be the kind of cellist that needs it, as in a soloist who needs to be heard through the orchestra. I’m small-ensemble and chamber material. So there’s hopefully around $1000 to be recouped from that. Whether or not it will sell is a different story; I’ve seen cellos posted repeatedly on Craigslist and Kijiji, with prices revised downward. I know this one is a gem; it’s a question of getting people to understand that.
Apart from the looming purchase of the 7/8, I also have hard case woes. The one I bought secondhand last year just isn’t going to work for a 7/8. The suspension is all wrong, the curved parts that are supposed to fit into the cello’s waist don’t fit into where the 7/8’s waist actually is, and there’s two inches of gap at the bottom. Even when I pad the bottom, the weight of the cello pulls it down so that the lower pegs hit the bottom of the scroll box, which means the cello’s weight is suspended from the lower pegs. (Bad? Yes. Very.)
Having bought both new-to-me hard and soft case last year, I’m loathe to buy a new one again. The soft case I bought is roomy on my oversized 4/4; the 7/8 swims in it. Yes, I could sell them along with my oversized 4/4 when I sell it, but adding another $300 on to the price of the 4/4 isn’t going to help sell it. But if I buy the 7/8, I want a good case to protect it. The one the luthier included with the rental 7/8 is a super-padded soft case which would be another $140 extra. If I want a new low-end hard case it will be about $300 and I’ll have the problem of finding a small 4/4 one in which the 7/8 won’t swim, or a large 3/4. There’s a local place that will let me send them my measurements and they’ll tell me if the 7/8 will fit one of their 3/4 cases, but they’d have to order a 3/4 in and it’s non-refundable if the measurements don’t match up after all. A hard case designed specifically for a 7/8 will be over $500.
The main problem with the 4/4 I’ve got is that the curved areas for the waist actually interfere with the bouts when the 7/8 is placed high enough to try to avoid the pegs mashing into the bottom of the scroll portion of the case. Putting foam padding in the bottom to support the base of the cello only helps to a point, because the tips of the bouts bonk into the semi-circular bits, and they stop the padding from lifting the cello enough to avoid the pegs problem. I’ve talked to HRH and checked the material of the case, and it’s made of that high-density stuff cycling helmets are made from. So we’re going to remove the padding, he’s going to trim off the semi-circular sections that are designed to fit the waist of the cello, we’ll insert a crescent-shaped piece in the base to make the body area smaller and snugger, and replace the cotton velvet covering. It’s not like removing the curved sections is heretical; most of the cases I see don’t have them at all. Then I won’t need to worry so much, and the 7/8 won’t bang around.
So the first thing we’ll try is modifying the hard case I’ve got. (I hear certain Gentle Readers hooting about the fact that I’m modding a case.) If that doesn’t work, well… we’ll make it work.
In the end, I know what I need to do; I just have to steel myself to hand over the money, and trust that I’ll recoup part of it eventually. It’s just that the money is so reassuring in my bank account. Taking it out leaves me with not very much at all, even if I knew that it was earmarked for the 7/8 to begin with.