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Feb 10, 2019 - 11:06:19 PM
2183 posts since 12/23/2007

Would a 1/2 or 3/4 size cello handle the tension of being tuned up to GDAE? Could the body of the instrument physically handle the tension, and just as importantly, would it still speak without being too choked?

Ideas?

Feb 11, 2019 - 6:17:44 AM

193 posts since 1/5/2009

My first thought is to say no, the tension produced would exceed the strength of the spruce top. Due to the expanded area of the top plate arched surface, the wire gauge of the strings used and the added stresses to the base side of the top plate and base bar. With out knowing the current tension developed by the "C & G" strings any calculation would be a guess. As more tension is applied, the top plate will start to deform,the sound post will start crushing the top plate from the top of the sound post to the inside of the top plate ( slight cracking sounds). You may also notice the bridge leaning forward and to the right side of the instrument ( sign of the weakening of the base bar). The next thing that will happen is that the base side of the instrument will develop a crack near the base bar. I myself would not try to tune up a cello. As for playing if you were to get the tuning complete, the plates will not vibrate properly and would choke the sound greatly.

Feb 11, 2019 - 10:00:07 AM

420 posts since 6/26/2007

Why not? Just move the g,d, and a over into the c,g,d positions. Then comes the one problem (which ought not to be all that hard to solve): finding the right string to use for the e.

you should wind up with about the same tension as a regular set at the regular tuning

Edited by - Dan Gellert on 02/11/2019 10:04:36

Feb 11, 2019 - 10:25:52 AM

2183 posts since 12/23/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Gellert

Why not? Just move the g,d, and a over into the c,g,d positions. Then comes the one problem (which ought not to be all that hard to solve): finding the right string to use for the e.

you should wind up with about the same tension as a regular set at the regular tuning


After researching string tensions, I believe you may be correct. The cello lowest 3 strings all have similar tension, so the only thing that would change significantly would be the

30, 32, 32, and 38 lbs, low to high on a full size cello.  If you drop the 30 (c) and replace it with a 40+(e) , you get a net tension increase of 8%.  The bass side would have a minor tension increase, while the treble would bear the brunt of the increase.

 

Probably similar numbers, albeit in a different configuration, to cross-tuned fiddles.

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