I always find making a cello an all-consuming activity, largely because of its size and the space it takes up in the workshop, and in my mind! However, the requirements of the sound are essentially the same as with the smaller instruments. Ease of playing, evenness across the range and responsiveness are fundamental to any instrument, and I like the tone to be distinctive and full of character.
The model I make most frequently is based on an Andrea Guarneri of 1690, which I worked on and measured when I worked in Germany. The style of work suits me, and most importantly, the sound has character and carries. The original instrument is smaller than the normal full-size cello, so sometimes I make a proportionally enlarged version of it, to make it have the normal cello dimensions. It works well at this size, but I have also successfully made it at the original size. [see 7/8 cellos] My other full size cello models include Domenico Montagnana and Matteo Gofriller, both Venetian makers noted for the quality of their cellos.
Besides making ‘standard’ full sized cellos, I also make 7/8 instruments, once widely known as ‘lady’s’ cellos. This is a size of instrument I enjoy making and it has a valuable role in providing good comfortable instruments for those with smaller hands. Not only is the body 1” (25mm) shorter than an average cello, but the open string length is also 1” shorter, which makes the stretches easier. These cellos work just as well as larger instruments; indeed, most old English cellos as well as many classical Italian instruments are this size.
I have two different models of 7/8 cello. The first, based on a Pietro Guarneri of Venice, is somewhat quirky with quite a distinctive outline, archings and scroll. The other model is based on Andrea Guarneri, the same model as my full size cello, except this is its original size. I came to know the original well when I worked in Germany. This cello, whilst being short in the body is still relatively wide, giving it a good depth of sound as well as projection.
Cellos available to try now
I'm happy to talk about instruments anytime, whether you're a professional, student or a keen amateur. Call me to talk through what you're looking for.