Cello 2: “Seeds”

So I broke a string on the cello a few weeks ago.  Trying to tune that low C up to a D.  Oops.  The peg kept slipping and I couldn’t get it to stay put for the life of me.  I twisted too hard out of frustration and there it went.  Did the same thing tonight to the G string (which I tune up to an A).

Did you know that a cheap set of cello strings is $100+?  Neither did I.  There were too many choices online to choose from.  Gut core, synthetic core, titanium wound, nickel wound, dragon scale wound, super sensitive, super flexible, different instrument sizes.  Oh and some strings sound better with certain bows than other bows.  Luckily for me, I’m not a stickler about this.


I opened the case today after coming back from vacation and aside from the one broken string, two others were loose, the pegs having slipped.  That’s one peg/string away from no string tension at all, i.e. nothing holding the bridge or soundpost in place, i.e. an embarrassing and inconvenient trip to a luthier.

I googled “cello pegs slip” and found some interesting information.  As Arpakorn commented, changes in temperature or humidity can cause the pegs to slip.  After all it’s just wood on wood.  I reeeally want to get mechanical pegs installed.  I can’t see a good reason not to.

One forum poster said that it’s a common problem at this time of year.  Cellos suffer from S.A.D.?!  Possible solutions: chalk on the peg, rosin or rosin dust on the peg, some special peg paste.  I think someone even mentioned honey, although now that I write it, it seems like something I made up.

Then someone said, “Make sure to talk to your luthier about it at your annual cello check up.”

Uh.  My what?  Hold on.  Is this thing alive?

Do they entrap a soul or a child’s daemon in each cello?  That would explain the instrument’s inherent melancholy sweetness.


Here’s something I recorded a few weeks ago.  Right before Christmas.  I dunno.  But it does have some nice, fat cello beats.  It’s a work in progress.  Needs help.  There’s a lot going on.  Need to learn how to deal with that.  Until then, here it is as it is.

I wrote the lyrics years ago.  I can’t remember what the influence was, but it was something specific.  I want to say Peter Gabriel.  I get a down feeling whenever I look around and see how few trees there are in these suburban sprawls.  Cut down to make the highways one lane wider, which won’t relieve congestion one bit.  I heard that a few hundred years ago when the Europeans came to America there was so much marine wildlife that the beaches smelled like whale.  I’ve heard it said that at one time a squirrel could run from Maine to Florida from tree to tree without touching the ground.  Aside from an occasional river or meadow I believe it.

I was in San Francisco this past weekend and imagine how beautiful it must have been.  Now there’s just crap everywhere.  Not that people shouldn’t have places to live and places to go but I’m a firm believer that we could build alongside natural landscapes not over them.

Did you know that my favorite bird is the Redwing Blackbird?  Every since I first saw one at the Stanford Dish area.  Last week more than a thousand of them fell dead from the sky in Arkansas.  We don’t know why yet.  It could be something natural.  Maybe.  Or not.

The bumblebee population has recently fallen something like 96% around the world.

That’s where this song comes from.  Where these lyrics come from, anyway.

Our heavenly father
Our earthly mother
Do you still recognize your children

Do you hear our prayers
Or are they plucked from the heavens
By satellites
And spied upon by madmen

Are they trampled beneath our feet
Or mown down
In the name of progress
Before they have a chance
To grow to fruition

When we violate the elements
Fire and water
Will you wipe clean the slate
Tabula rasa

Will you make orphans of our songs
And orphans of our works
And orphans of our history

Our heavenly father
Our earthly mother
Do you still
Do you still recognize your children

2 thoughts on “Cello 2: “Seeds”

  1. Trick my teacher told me, take the peg out, rub a bit of rosin on it and then put it back in. My pegs never slip now. YMMV 🙂

    Did you sort out a set of strings?

    1. Thanks, Les. I’ll give that a try.

      I picked up some strings from a music store. Nothing special.

      3 of them are STG Super Sensitive. and one of them is a “Dominant”?

      We’ll see how they do. With my horrible string winding.

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