Sunday, February 25, 2007

The rest of the story

In a previous comment, Rallentando asked me to fill you in on what was going on with my damaged cello. So here it is:

R.I.P. English cello, 6/29/06 - 2/15/07

Though our time together was short, I loved the sounds I made with you. You helped bring me out of my introverted way of playing and into a new world of sharing my sounds with others. You rewarded my attempts to learn new techniques with sounds that weren't unpleasant at the beginning, and quite delightful when I finally "got it". I'm grateful, and I miss you terribly.

But really, I'm not sure who feels worst about this: the player, the dealer, or the maker. Never fear, PFS, this isn't some fly-by-night operation, and Guanaco, I'm satisfied that proper care went into the selection of the wood. Our best theory is that a number of factors that we will never be able to completely define (qualities of the wood, nature of the varnish and sealant, tightness of the gluing), plus the stress of moving from a very temperate, humid environment to a very cold, dry one, plus perhaps the specific barometric variations that were happening here last week, were just too much for this cello and it's sibling.

Now technically, I suppose, this cello could be repaired. It would require patching every single piece of wood on it (there were cracks in the upper back near the button that either I did not notice, or that occurred after I packed it for return to the shop) at a cost of at least several thousand dollars. And even if I were to choose to do that, I would constantly worry that, due to those elusive factors that I mentioned in the last paragraph, factors over which I have no control and cannot alter, I would always be waiting for the next crack.

Fortunately, I don't have to make that choice. The maker intends to make me another cello to replace this one. The dealer intends to honor the original purchase contract, which permits the purchase price to be applied to future "trade-ups", substituting the new cello for the deceased one. I don't expect to see that cello until summertime, and I'm not spending time worrying about what I'll do then until I have a chance to see and play it.

While I'm waiting the shop is providing loaner cellos. I don't expect I'll keep any one for a long period of time, so it might be fun being able to try lots of different cellos. Who knows, maybe I'll fall in love again while I am waiting.


Guanaco said...

I am so sorry to hear about the demise of your poor cello. It does seem pointless to try to repair that many cracks (although it might make a good training project for some luthier's apprentice.)

Your cello tragedies sure motivate me to pay extra careful attention to my cello's ambient conditions. I use two dampits, changing them daily - the luthier says it's the minimum I should do in our cold, dry climate. The room humidifier is my backup.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. What a pleasant prospect you have in playing a variety of cellos whilst you wait for your own. Sounds like a very good deal all round in the circumstances.