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Registered User
Posts: 11
(6/18/01 8:42:51 pm)
So frustrated!!!!
Hello everyone. I just really need to vent about my cello; so if you can listen and maybe offer a few words of wisdom it would be great. I'm feeling kind of overwhelmed lately; I'm unhappy with some technical aspects of playing, but mostly frustrated with my cello. What started out as a simple "I need new strings" has turned into "what kind of strings? what will work best? do I like my cello? do I want a different cello? how do I describe the sound I want? what sound do I want? etc. etc." Right now, I'm playing on a Doetsch (excuse the spelling if it is wrong) and I have on Larsen solo A&D strings, and Helicore G and C. My strings desperately need to be changed, so maybe that is the sole problem. But I want to branch out and try some different strings, and have no idea what to try, and don't have the money to go "experimenting" And then, I'm not even sure if my cello is what I want... I liked it at the time but now I'm just not sure... Unfortunately I'm not in the best location; besides my teacher I don't really have people close around to go to for advice. Well, I guess there's not a lot you can do; I know that no one can suggest a "miracle string" for me... Thanks for listening.

Registered User
Posts: 476
(6/18/01 8:47:24 pm)
Re: So frustrated!!!!
There's no easy, cheap answer to the string-trying game. But you might ask your teacher, assuming he or she is using a different kind of strings, if you can try the old set when a new set goes on. Old strings aren't going to be the same as new ones, but it might give you an idea if you want to try that brand.

But: why do you want to change strings? What is the problem with the ones you have; that is, what sound do you not like? Which string(s)?

Registered User
Posts: 129
(6/19/01 2:41:51 am)
Strings and things
This might not be a perfect solution, but perhaps some of the people on this board who have access to different strings and cellos can help in this. What I'm thinking is that perhaps you can take a few different cellos that may be representative of most that are out there (one dark, one bright, one student, I know there are many...) and string them with the different types of strings (gut, synthetic, rope core, steel) then record samples of each string to post on your websites (are you there Ellen, Dick, Andrew?).

I realise this isn't a perfect solution, but it would give people an idea of how strings *might* sound on their cellos. I know that this is an over-simplification, but it might prove useful, and if it sells some strings for you it might be worthwhile too! :)


Ellen G 
Registered User
Posts: 770
(6/19/01 6:59:54 am)
Re: Strings and things
I have a collection of barely used strings and don't mind sending them places. It is the only way to get a feel for it. I sound like a broken record, but it really is a combination of so many different factors, including your own personal taste, as to what's going to make you happy. Despite the success some people have had with Belcanto Golds, a lot don't and say they are glad to get that out of their system the first time they put them on. A lot of A's have been particularly tinny. Prim G and C make some people as happy as Helicore, for less money, and tungsten strings by Permanent and Spirocore seem to be more popular than tungsten by Larsen. Again, whether people order something because they've done it for years and are afraid to branch out, or whether they are actually getting the best sound on their cello with those strings remains a mystery. The Helicore A-D I removed from a cello, someone ended up putting back on because they loved the sound. So why would you want to trust someone else's ear for your instrument? My teacher can make my cello sound infinitely different than I can, and I can make a very expensive Vuillaume sound like my cello. Same strings, different cellist. It's gotta be all YOU.

A lot of Doetsch cellos are set up with Belgian bridges. Making a switch to French might make a difference. If it's a heavy ebony tailpiece with add-on fine tuners, a lightweight composite one might make a difference. Clearly strings are the easiest for you to do yourself, so that's a good starting point.

As for your dead strings, when you do change them, send them to Dorie Dahlberg for her artwork. I have to do that myself, actually.

Lastly, to make you feel better about the cello you do have, you might want to spend some time playing old pieces you worked on. Sometimes surprising yourself with how musically you can play something you used to struggle with a year ago can help you tackle something giving you technical problems currently. If it's just summer ennui setting in, take a vacation!

Br Martin
Registered User
Posts: 34
(6/19/01 8:11:21 am)
strings and sound
I make cellos and haven't found anything better than Larsens for the A

Registered User
Posts: 93
(6/19/01 2:03:33 pm)
So frustrated!!!
So I got on the horn and called Dalton Potter's shop and asked them what they generally put on Doetsch cellos and learned that they have experimented with a lot of stuff and have come to the conclusion that Larsen Soloist A & D and Helocore G & C are the way to go. I am assuming that, since they set them up with Belgian bridges, yours also still has the Belgian bridge. I am assuming also that your strings are "getting up there in years" and really need replacing. My recommendation would be to forgo spending a lot of money on experimenting and just buy a new set of fresh Larsens and Helicores which should work well for you and then replace them oftener than you have been. Nothing like a dead set of strings to make a cello really frustrationg to play on.


Betsy C 
Registered User
Posts: 365
(6/19/01 8:25:55 pm)
Do I ever understand!
CelloDreamer2, I also have a Doetsch and while the string choice is always personal and subjective, I have gone through other strings, such as Belcantos (on one string only), Chromcor Plus and I even tried the top of the line Super Sensitive because I got 'em for 1/2 proce at the cello congress last year. The Super Sensitive folks were great about a refund, but I did not like them on my cello at all. Bottom line is: for me, I am sticking with the Larsen Soloist Edition A&D and Helicore G&C. I changed back to them 3 weeks ago and I am SO glad. My teacher even remarked how much better my cello sounds, and I was pretty much happy with it before!

I went to Gailes Violin Shop in College Park, MD (great guy!) and he put on a new French bridge and an ebony tailpiece (we replaced the metal Wittner one) and replaced the soundpost which was way too tight. My cello is great with what it has now and I am very pleased. I am a big experimenter, but I am still going to stay with the Larsens and Helicores! You may have a different experience and find strings that work for you. So far I haven't. Good luck in your search. P.S. Don't wait too long to change strings- fresh ones make a lot of difference.

Registered User
Posts: 13
(6/20/01 6:56:06 pm)
Thanks for everything!
I want to say thanks for all the advice, it truly has helped. I went ahead and ordered Larsen Solo A and D and Helicore G and C, simply because my strings are so old and dead that I had to get something, and since, although I would like to experiment and possibly find some that seem more responsive, those have worked for the most part. Hopefully I'll make a visit to a shop of some kind sometime soon (the closest one I know of is three hours away though... oh well. Once again, thanks for all the help! You guys are great!

PS- Ellen, is the offer about trying out strings really open? That would be great...

Betsy C 
Registered User
Posts: 366
(6/20/01 8:01:54 pm)
To CelloDreamer02
Hi CelloDreamer02! Your e mail is private, I wanted to ask you something and I was hoping you would e mail me. Mine is public. Would you e mail me? I wanted to chat with you about your Doetsch.

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Add Reply

So frustrated!!!! CelloDreamer02 6/18/01 8:42:51 pm
    Do I ever understand! Betsy C  6/19/01 8:25:55 pm
       Thanks for everything! CelloDreamer02 6/20/01 6:56:06 pm
          To CelloDreamer02 Betsy C  6/20/01 8:01:54 pm
    So frustrated!!! Dick500 6/19/01 2:03:33 pm
    strings and sound Br Martin 6/19/01 8:11:21 am
    Strings and things Zaraak 6/19/01 2:41:51 am
       Re: Strings and things Ellen G  6/19/01 6:59:54 am
    Re: So frustrated!!!! Bobbie 6/18/01 8:47:24 pm

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