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Not a school question but I'd appreciate your opinions

Discussion in 'Music' started by Educator3, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. My son is eleven and we're about to buy him a full size cello. He will be doing grade six in the summer. He's just got a grant which will cover some of the cost and we'll sell his existing half size. My question is whether we should buy him the same cello as he has now, but in a full size, or whether to buy him a 'forever' cello, which will cost about three times the cost of the cheaper one.
    We were going to buy a three quarter size, so would have gone for the cheaper one and upgraded when we got a full size, but he's grown enough to manage a full size. My husband thinks maybe we should get the cheaper one as he's not that careful with it, but if we do we'll obviously lose money on it when we come to sell it in a couple of years' time. On the other hand he may get another grant then which would offset some of the cost. I don't think he's going to be a professional or even do music as a career so the more expensive one would very likely do him for good once we get it. My feeling is that he might as well have the benefit of the better one now but I'mreally not sure. I'd very much appreciate anyone's thoughts or experiences.
     
  2. My son is eleven and we're about to buy him a full size cello. He will be doing grade six in the summer. He's just got a grant which will cover some of the cost and we'll sell his existing half size. My question is whether we should buy him the same cello as he has now, but in a full size, or whether to buy him a 'forever' cello, which will cost about three times the cost of the cheaper one.
    We were going to buy a three quarter size, so would have gone for the cheaper one and upgraded when we got a full size, but he's grown enough to manage a full size. My husband thinks maybe we should get the cheaper one as he's not that careful with it, but if we do we'll obviously lose money on it when we come to sell it in a couple of years' time. On the other hand he may get another grant then which would offset some of the cost. I don't think he's going to be a professional or even do music as a career so the more expensive one would very likely do him for good once we get it. My feeling is that he might as well have the benefit of the better one now but I'mreally not sure. I'd very much appreciate anyone's thoughts or experiences.
     
  3. LennoxBerkeley

    LennoxBerkeley New commenter

    Keep the half size and go on a nice holiday.

    Lennox
     
  4. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Nobody can make this decision except you Ed!
    If he were my son, I'd ask him what he wanted and bear that in mind. If you decide to go for the expensive one (because he wants that) then make it clear that he will have to help to pay towards any repairs, should he not look after it properly (harsh, but fair in the long run)
    My parents bought me an expensive French violin when I was 14 and altho' I used it a college and play it from time to time now, it's not my 1st instrument. It's been an investment and I may pass it onto my grandchildren one day (or they can sell it!) I know it was a pleasure to play on a decent instrument as oppossed to the school violin I had for my grades 3 and 4.
    What does his cello tutor advise? Hope this has been helpful advice - ignore LB, he rarely has constructive comments and is one of these posters who loves the sound of his own stupidity.
     
  5. My son wants the good one, of course! But your advice about him having to look after it is a good one. We're not talking ridiculous amounts here but the better one is three times the price of the cheapie. His teacher and I discussed it but didn't really come to any conclusions. Having a really nice cello might be inspirational, I suppose, and encourage him to play more. He played his teacher's cello on Monday and had a big smile on his face at the sound he could get out of it!
    And I hadn't thought of it as any kind of investment but that too is something to consider.
    As a string player can you explain to me how string players seem able to swap without any loss of sound quality between different sized in struments? My son played the full size cello, only the second time ever, perfectly in tune. One of my older boys who plays the viola tried several sizes out when we were buying one and didn't even seem to notice the difference, and can swap back to the violin again without any effort. How do you do this?! If I try and play a piano with even minutely nonstandard sized keys I'm totally thrown.
     
  6. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Make sure you get a hard case, to protect it. If he's not had a hard case up until now, he may baulk at the weight, though!
    When you play a viola in 3rd position, you place your fingers closer together than when you play in1st position, so a string player is used to different spacings. You listen to the tuning and adjust accordingly, so you can switch fairly easily between different size instruments. We have a tenth size, which is a different kettle of fish, though - I can't really get my fingers that close together!
     
  7. Red wine fan

    Red wine fan New commenter

    Whilst I understand the sentiment of the post above about a hard case, they are not necessarily much better than semi-rigid cases and may lead to complacency. As an example, I had a plywood case with waterproof covering for my very nice English cello. Whilst getting it out of the car, I stood it up vertically so I could put it onto my shoulder. The wind caught it and blew it over, causing the fingerboard to come off. It was a fairly straightforward repair, but had it been in a less rigid case, I would never have stood it up. Hard cases are also heavy [that old case weighs more empty than DD's new lightweight carbon fibre case with the same cello and bows inside it]. I love the Tom & Will cases and used them for the last cello and one of my basses.
    Don't dismiss the cheaper instruments out of hand. I have an adult bass pupil who has a "student" instrument, but she put rather nice strings on it and took it to a decent luthier who set it up properly, and got herself a decent bow. The sound is amazing! My own bass was less than £1000 but again, I had it set up very carefully by a luthier friend and I frequently get comments about the lovely tone.
    Good luck!
     
  8. That;s an interesting point. His current cello is the same as the cheaper full size we might get and has a really nice tone. It was well set up with reasonable strings. One of my other sons has never upgraded from his original 'cheap' alto sax, apart from getting a better mouthpiece, and has always been perfectly happy with its sound. Having said that, I think our cellist son may do more with his cello. But who knows?!
    Our cello teacher did suggest just getting the cheaper one with a better bow. I suppose we're gambling losing money on the cheaper one, but possibly getting another grant later on, against having the better cello to enjoy from now. If we knew how his playing and interest were going to develop it would be easier to decide... I think we'll go and at least take a look at the expensive one. Or is that just asking for trouble!
     

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