Now that you have read or “skimmed” the science and your head is spinning! Let’s talk about what I do when I work on a Wolf-y cello.
First I check for open edges or open cracks. Sick cellos wolf particularly bad and can cause a cello that either normally doesn’t wolf or has a slight wolf to become a -Werewolf.
Next I check the sound post, is it in the correct location? Is it too short? Can it be adjusted towards either the bass or treble side to fix the wolf?
If all is well then it is time for wolf adjustment. Almost all good carved cellos have wolves. Most cellist learn how to deal with their particular cello and its quirks, my cello for instance wolfs differently depending on the season or humidity. Seasonally it wolfs on an f# or an f natural and I know that I should not start Bach Prelude to Suite No. 2 in fourth position in the winter but in the summer it”s fine.
If your wolf is not terrible- by this I mean not always wolf-y, I start with a single hole Tourte mute placed between the G and D strings between the tailpiece and the bridge. While I am making your cello wolf , I adjust the position of the mute working to move the wolf between pitches so it will not be played. With a wolf I try a less is more approach and do the up most to not dampen the sound of the cello.
Still wolf-y ? There are Wolf eliminators in different weights made of brass, I use the New Harmony. They range in 3 to 13 grams. They slip on the string without the rubber insert and are easy to move around. Starting with the least amount of weight and on the G string in 4th position I try to move the wolf between pitches. Usually cellos wolf between D to G so the goal is to make the wolf manageable and not as noticeable. You cannot eliminate a wolf, so not sure why the name! but you can get it under control.
Still wolf-y? Time to bring out the big guns! There is a magnetic wolf eliminator by Krentz that goes on the inside and outside of your cello. This should be installed by someone who knows what they are doing, like me! as it involves one person playing and another person moving it around or someone to tap on your cello to find the sweet spot. Another alternative is an internal wolf eliminator. Goetz makes them. They are tuned so you have to pick the one that has the range your cello wolfs in. I have one in my cello and for the most part it does a great job. Again I would have someone install it as it goes inside on the top of your cello and involves finding the right spot. I have used these in conjunction with the brass eliminators when the wolf is a Werewolf.
So have no fear my cello friends, wolfs can be tamed.
Happy Cello ing