Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Cello

3. Materials & Components

Body

The top, or ‘belly’ is made of spruce, a timber of plain, straight grain, while the ribs and back are invariably made of maple, often spectacularly figured. As it is difficult to find large enough pieces of timber of the required shape and quality, both top and back tend to be constructed of two pieces of wood, seamlessly joined down the middle.

Fingerboard

The only other permanent external fixture is the fingerboard, which is made of ebony. Ebony is an extraordinarily heavy, dense timber - drop a piece into water and it will actually sink. The best ebony, after long seasoning in the sun, is a startling blue-black colour, and is used for the fingerboard because it is one of the few woods hard enough to cope with the wear that this part of the instrument is subjected to. The fingerboards of many ‘cellos – unlike those on violins – are chamfered back along the length of the C string. This allows extra room for the string to vibrate when playing, something you will find the lower pitched strings do very visibly.

Most of the other parts of the instrument are essentially detachable, though the dismantling of some of them by the novice has the undesirable potential to end in tears! The sort of work that can be undertaken by beginners and students is outlined in the ‘Maintenance & Cleaning’ section below.

Pegs, Tailpiece & Chin Rest

Ebony is also often used for the pegs, the tailpiece and the endpin. While this can lend a degree of visual co-ordination to the completed instrument, other woods can also be used to great effect. Many ‘cellos have pegs and tailpieces of maple or rosewood (which despite its name, has nothing to do with roses, but much to do with the fact that certain genera have a distinctively sweet smell), while the somewhat politically incorrect ivory makes an occasional appearance on older, grander instruments.

Spike or ‘Endpin’

The spike found on all ‘cellos today is a fairly recent design development. Until the early 19th Century, ‘cellists would hold the instrument by supporting the body between the legs though, following its introduction, the spike grew rapidly in popularity as it made playing considerably easier in a number of ways. Obviously it allowed the ‘cello to be kept at a predetermined height, but by connecting the instrument firmly to the floor, it also improved sound projection. Anyone who has spent time in a room with a ‘cellist playing upstairs will be well aware that most floors/ceilings become excellent sounding boards!

Bridge

The bridge has a crucial role to play in what makes a particular ‘cello sound the way it does. Small differences in the thickness, shaping and exact positioning can have dramatic effects on the voicing of an instrument. Unlike the bridges of violins and violas, which sit very close to the body of the instrument, ‘cello bridges are raised up on what amount to a built-in pair of legs. All bridges are made of a specific type of maple and cut from the timber in a particular way, its design - like many of the more apparently decorative parts of stringed instruments - is the result of years of trial and error on the part of makers, and is largely functional.

Soundpost

Like the bridge, the ‘soundpost’ needs to be positioned with great care to ensure the instrument sounds its best – a job that should be done by an expert using a special tool designed for the purpose. The tiniest adjustments to its placing have a major effect on the way the instrument speaks and the balance of the four strings. Very roughly, it stands close to the right foot of the bridge to share the tension of the strings between the back and belly of the instrument, and to stop the bridge from crashing through! Remember, if you completely slacken or remove all four strings at the same time, it is very likely (without the considerable pressure of the bridge bearing down on it) that the sound post will fall over. Should this happen, do not, under any circumstances re-tighten the strings – the potential consequences are obvious and repair will be expensive! Instead, take the instrument to a repairer to have the soundpost re-fitted - a very much cheaper alternative. The situation is best avoided in the first place by making sure that at least two strings remain taught at all times.

Your Contacts
Phone: +49-9546-9223-370
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Question!
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x Stairville Quad Par Profile 5x8W RGB WW worth €66.
What is a chord?
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.

Cello overview

Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb Gibson Les Paul M2 Citron Green Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0 C.Giant LP-6210C Black Vic Firth SIH2 Steinberg UR-RT2 Presonus Studio One 4 Pro UG Prof/Prod Stairville Wild Wash Pro 648 LED RGB DMX Roland TM-6 Pro Drum Trigger Module Dante AVIO AES3 IO Adapter 2x2 Fender SQ J.Mascis Jazzmaster 2018 Ampeg Opto Comp Compressor
Recommended
Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb

Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb, effects pedal, 11 different reverb types: HALL, SPRING, PLATE, REVRS, ECHO, TREM, MOD, DYNA, AUTO-INF, SHIM and POLY, Tails switch: Select whether the reverb fades out naturally or stops immediately when the pedal is switched...

to the product
€149
Recommended
Gibson Les Paul M2 Citron Green

Electric Guitar Poplar body, Maple neck, Rosewood fretboard (Dalbergia latifolia), Slim Taper neck profile - .800"-. 875", 22 Frets, Pickups: 2 Gibson Pro-Bucker humbuckers, Volume and tone controls, 1 Toggle switch, Chrome hardware, Wraparound bridge, Mini Button machine heads,...

to the product
€398
Recommended
Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0

Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0; converts analog audio line signals to feed any Dante-connected system; 96 kHz / 24 Bit; fully-functional Dante interface; adjustable signal levels: +24dBu / +4dBu / 0dBu/ 0dBV /-10dBV (through Dante Controller); frequency Response: 20Hz...

to the product
€163
Recommended
C.Giant LP-6210C Black

Keyboard 61 Keys with touch dynamics, 162 Sounds, 200 Rhythms, 61 Percussion effects, 50 Demo songs, Fill-in, sync and rhythms variations, Split function, Chord, Recording, Pitch bend wheel, Microphone input, Line out sockets, Headphone output, Sustain pedal connection, USB...

to the product
€66
(2)
Recommended
Vic Firth SIH2

Vic Firth SIH2 isolation headphones, (reduces overall noise levels by 25 dB). successor of the legendary Vic Firth SIH-1 headphones, features redesigned larger driver in the ear cups that deliver a more powerful low end, cleaner mids and clear highs...

to the product
€79
(1)
Recommended
Steinberg UR-RT2

4x 2 USB 2.0 Audio Interface Up to 24-bit/192 kHz, 2 Class-A D-PRE microphone preamps with + 48 V phantom power, Rupert Neve Designs transformer switchable on each front input channel, 2 Analog XLR/jack combo inputs plus 2 line...

to the product
€311
Recommended
Presonus Studio One 4 Pro UG Prof/Prod

Audio MIDI Sequencer (DAW) (download) Upgrade from Presonus Studio One Professional 1-3 / Producer 2 to Studio One 4 Professional Sleek single-window philosophy, Consistent drag-and-drop functionality throughout, Project page allows integrated mastering with DDP export, Redbook...

to the product
€145
Recommended
Stairville Wild Wash Pro 648 LED RGB DMX

Multi-Functional LED Spotlight with 4 Effects in One DeviceWith its SMD LED equipment, the Wild Wash series is a magic box for events and shows of all kinds. Whether on small to large stages, in clubs of all sizes, exhibitions,...

to the product
€243
(1)
Recommended
Roland TM-6 Pro Drum Trigger Module

Trigger Module For acoustic drummers who want to extend the sound possibilities of their drums with electronic sounds, 500 one-shot sounds, 268 V-Drum sounds, 80 Drum kits, SDHC card slot for importing your own samples, 6x 6.3 mm stereo...

to the product
€789
Recommended
Dante AVIO AES3 IO Adapter 2x2

Y Adapter Transmits two channels each from AES3 to a Dante network and vice versa, RJ45 Metal plug with built-in LEDs, 1 XLR male output, 1 XLR female input, 96 kHz / 24 bit, Robust housing for day-to-day tasks...

to the product
€163
Recommended
Fender SQ J.Mascis Jazzmaster 2018

Electric Guitar J.Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) Artist Model, Body: Basswood, Neck: Maple, Fretboard: Indian Laurel, Neck profile: C, 21 Jumbo frets, Nut width: 42.5 mm, Scale: 648 mm, Pickups: 2 Jazzmaster single coils, Adjusto-Matic bridge with vintage style floating tremolo,...

to the product
€477
Recommended
Ampeg Opto Comp Compressor

Effects pedal Analog bass compressor, Controllers for compression, release and output levels, True bypass, Power supply with 9 V battery or 9 V power supply (both not included, suitable battery available under Art. 132579 , suitable power supply under...

to the product
€99
Feedback Found an error or want to give us feedback about this page?

We're looking forward to hearing from you and aim to solve any problems as soon as we can.

Please leave a comment. Please enter your e-mail address.