New Bow and New Case

August 23, 2012

My cello, bow, and case were purchased 8 years ago as a set for about $2000. The cello, a Hans Steiner 100 made by Eastman, was about $1700 on its own. The case is a well-padded, soft-sided model complete with wheels and backpack straps. The bow is carbon fiber and has no markings or name on it.

The bow has served me well and, other than missing the white tip plate, is in good shape. After playing with a much better bow for a week while my bow was being rehaired I knew that a better bow would make a difference in the sound of my instrument. After discussing my desire for a new bow with my teacher he recommended that I get CodaBow's middle of the line model.

Last Friday evening my new Diamond SX bow arrived -- just hours before we left on a 3-day weekend trip. After goofing around by playing it with no rosin, I added rosin and gave it a try. It has a richer, deeper sound that my first bow. To my ear it makes my intonation variations clearer. I also think it generates more sound with less effort. At my lesson on Tuesday David played it and my original bow and his very expensive bow in rapid succession. He said he thinks it grabs the string better. After just a few days with the new bow I am very pleased with my investment.

I've also ordered a new cello case -- a Bam France Classic 1001s. The case has full suspension -- meaning the instrument is suspended in padding rather than against the sides of the case, features two bow holders, a small pocket for rosin or a tuner, and a music pocket. I went with the "S" model as I never use the wheels on my current case. The "SW" model would add the wheels, a half pound of weight, and $32 of cost.

Measuring my cello and determining if the case would fit was the hardest part. There are three dimensions to consider: the length of the cello (with the end pin retracted), the width at the upper bout, and the width at the lower bout. With my wife's help I stood the cello upright with the end pin retracted and measured its height, about 50 inches. We have hard wood floors so I laid the cello on its side and measured the upper and lower bout widths. My upper bout is 13 1/2 inches and the lower 17 3/4 inches. Some of the case descriptions had narrower lower bout widths listed - 17 inches in one case. I called Johnson String and spoke to someone there about measuring a cello for a case. I was assured that the foam suspension will compress and eventually mold itself to my cello's dimensions. The Bam case dimensions are slightly larger than my cello so I am confident it will fit nicely.

The case is backordered - hopefully it will ship within a week or so. Once I have it and have had a chance to use it I'll post a more complete review. There is a surprising lack of reviews of cello cases online. Hopefully my experience will be a good one and one that will help others in their search for a cello case.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.