Friday, February 16, 2007


The unthinkable has happened. Sometime between my cello lesson and orchestra rehearsal yesterday my cello disintegrated. I viewed the first foot-long crack with anguish, then sat in stunned disbelief as a half-dozen more seemed to magically appear, another each time I looked down. To say that the Frozen Tundra of the North does not agree with this nearly new English instrument is an understatement. But hearing at the end of rehearsal that the sibling to this cello, purchased only two months ago by a fellow student, had developed a large crack this week also leads one to wonder about the characteristics of the wood this maker used.

Well, all of that will be sorted out eventually. I'll take this cello back to the shop in the morning, and come home with a loaner while they figure out the best thing to do. Too much to think about right now. Oh, BTW, the cello sounded great yesterday. The release of tension appeared to agree with it.

(1) 11 in. belly, treble side of tailpiece, from edge to ~ 2 in from lateral edge of bridge foot, just lateral to soundpost.

(2) 10 in. belly, centered under tailpiece, from saddle to about length of tailpiece

(3) ~ 6 in. belly, from upper edge, ~1 in. lateral to treble side of fingerboard

(4) ~7.5 in. belly, from upper edge, centered under fingerboard

(5) ~5 in. center of upper bout rib, treble side, extending across the upper treble corner

(6) ~5 in. center of lower bout rib, bass side, extending up from endpin hole

(7) numerous small cracks in center bout ribs and extending across corners

(8) ~1 in. belly, extending up from lower f hole, treble side


Guanaco said...

Wow! That must have been a horrifying experience.

All those cracks suggest to me that the wood wasn't properly cured (dried, slowly) before the cello was made. As a result, the tension from the strings coupled with your recent cold, dry weather was too much for that thin wood.

My condolences.

cellodonna said...

I felt awful when I read this. Please keep us posted on the outcome. I hope it's quickly resolved for you.

Anonymous said...

Ghastly! I'd like to give the person(s) responsible a smack or two.

Erin said...

Oh no! That's horrible! Let us know how it turns out..

Gottagopractice said...

Thanks all for your good wishes. I'm pretty bummed. It will probably be awhile before I have any news.

Anonymous said...

Aaaghhh! I am off to check the humidity in my dining room where Jacob resides. Hope there is a full and speedy recovery. Is your cello insured?