As winter’s grip loosens and my fingers unfreeze from the computer keyboard, it is time to freshen up my cello’s sound and the cellos here at the shop. I feel like every cello gets in a rut at some point, although that could be the cellist too, and needs a spring makeover. Fresh strings make a difference, depending on how much you play, buying strings every 6 months to a year is important. You will be amazed how much clarity and power can be gained from your instrument when the strings are not dead. I am currently a huge fan of Larsen Soloist A and D and Kaplan (D’Addario) G and C. I love the ease of play, the growl y, clear and powerful G and C and the warmth of the Larsen A and D. My cello is bright so this combination helps create the warmth I am looking for.
Many times I have had customers come in and say their A string is too bright. That seems to be a common theme among st cellists. My go to string is usually a Larsen, sometimes I will also use a Jargar medium A as well. The Larsen has a warm full sound, The Jargar has a warm sound but thinner sounding to me then the Larsen. I rarely use Helicore or Kaplan A stings just because they tend to be bright.
C strings to me are most important, I love a full powerful C. I want a sound that vibrates your gut. I used to use Spirocore Tungsten G and C. Many prominent cellists use this combination with Larsen A and D. The Spirocore strings are thicker and have a grainy sound for the first couple of weeks. I feel like the break in time is too long and once they are broken in then it is time to replace them. When we are setting up cellos for sale we have to use strings that don’t take a long time to break in since no body wants to try to imagine what the cello will sound like in the future, it needs to sound perfect now! I also found that playing pianissimo was hard and I was missing the clear tone I was looking for.
Trying strings is expensive so unless you have string companies sponsoring your habit I would suggest trying 2 at a time. If you are unhappy with your C string then try different G and C strings from the same company. It is important to remember to keep the tension balanced on your cello so don’t try a high tension C string like Spirocore then put on a low tension G like Obligato, you will probably end up with a wolfy unbalanced cello. If you use 2 of a kind you have a better chance of keeping the cellos equilibrium and balance.
The other important item to have checked is sound post position, which can be adjusted to bring out either lower end or the upper end of the instrument if the cello tends to be a little weak in a particular area.
Again these are just musings of a Cello Whisperer. Play well and love cello.