Joseph Mendoes - cello expert
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Redgerm * VSM MEMBER * on October 8, 2015 @5:37 pm PST
Hello again,
Any suggestions for creating proper thumb contact with the string when playing a non-harmonic thumb position? I am working on Suzuki Cello Book 6, Rondo from Concerto No. 2 in D major by Bréval. (Measure 45, for example).
I wonder where the weight should be coming from to make good contact/sound from the string...arm or possible torque of my wrist? A lot of the time I am producing mushy notes.

John Roberts
Rose on September 10, 2015 @1:21 pm PST
Hey! I just got a new cello and bow yesterday. I literally can't get a doing it off the cello. I've tightened the bow correctly, I've put resin on.... Though I don't know if it is enough. What could be the problem?
Redgerm * VSM MEMBER * on October 8, 2015 @5:40 pm PST
Possibly more rosin until it starts to grip.
Rose on October 9, 2015 @11:10 am PST
Thanks! It was definitely a lack of rosin
Candy on July 2, 2015 @12:19 pm PST
Hello, Prof. Mendoes

What are your thoughts on Wolf Eliminators? I've noticed that you do not use one on your cello but most people do. Is it because your cello does not have a wolf tone? Or do you have a playing techniques to avoid it? Thanks :)
Joseph - host, on July 3, 2015 @6:01 pm PST
Hello Candy,

I finally found a set of strings that got rid of my wolf (on most days!) I have found that strings play the most important factor. One easy way to reduce the wolf is to play on lower tension strings, like synthetic or gut core strings. I played on gut for a while, as well as synthetic, but I drive around L.A. so much that pitch stability is a bit of a problem, so I wanted to find metal core strings that would work. I recently tried a set of Kaplan strings by D'addario and they are the first all metal set that my cello likes! I am finally free of wolf eliminators, which never really worked!

The next way is through playing a little differently. Try to focus on where the bow needs to be between the fingerboard and the bridge when you play the wolf note. You will find that the wolf goes away if you are very picky about where you put your bow on the string, but this is very limiting in terms of achieving any sort of variety of color, so try some different strings and see what happens!

Candy on July 2, 2015 @11:14 am PST
Hello, Prof. Mendoes

I would like to know what type of endpins you prefer using? I've noticed many professional cellists play on a spike tip instead of rubber. I am aware that it creates a nice tone; but I am afraid to use them because my cello might slip while playing. What endpin is the best out there: Brass, Steel, Carbon Fiber, rubber tip/spike tip? And does the price mean you get what you paid for?

ps. I am interested in the Luis & Clark Carbon Fiber Cello $7,000 and I've noticed that it has a steel/matte finish, spike tip endpin on it. Can I just put rubber feet on the spike or do I have to change the endpin? Thanks :)
Joseph - host, on July 3, 2015 @6:10 pm PST
Hello Candy,

I don't know much about endpins, I know that different materials can effect the sound, but I must admit that I have not experimented much with them. As far as the tip goes, I have noticed a difference when the metal tip goes straight into the wood of the stage, just make sure it is ok with the owner of the place! I am not sure if the rubber tip makes a difference or not, but It seems that it might dampen the sound a bit. Sorry I cant help you too much here!

John Roberts on June 17, 2015 @10:41 am PST
I enjoyed your video on playing fast. It is an interesting and different idea to not ratchet up the speed gradually, but to play small passages quickly and build from there. I will give it a try. Thank you.
Baard * VSM MEMBER * on June 13, 2015 @2:23 am PST
Hi again - thanks for competent and contstructive advice! one more question for you: you talk about writing up a list to adress problems and enable good practice - what if I feel i do not know what to put on the list? that I do not know enough to see what is my biggest challenge? could you from your experience write a sort of "general list" for an old student that has picked up playing after 25 years? medium level...and motivated.
Baard * VSM MEMBER * on May 18, 2015 @2:10 am PST
nice videos! I struggle with rosin...any advice? I find all kind of advice on the internet - and David Finckel is the most decisive...but I find that when I put on much, I struggle in the orchestra with playing ppp for good sound without more power and then too strong...see what I mean? So I end up taking it off again - and then I can struggle with spiccato and fff....???
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on May 18, 2015 @11:13 am PST
Hi Baard. I know that what I am suggesting is not strictly "cello related", but Lora Staples, our beginning violin expert, made a very comprehensive video on rosins that cold answer some of your questions:

I am sure Joseph will have more to say though. Thank you for your question!
Joseph - host, on May 21, 2015 @10:43 am PST
Hello Baard,

Rosin is a fairly individual thing, but how I approach it is a little different I think. I think the rosin should do the work, not you. I learned this from the great violinist Joseph Silverstein, who reportedly used to rosin his bow between movements of a concerto! I think most players do not use enough rosin. For soft playing in orchestra, make sure that you are not overly concerned with producing a good sound! The kinds of soft sounds that you need to play in orchestra will never be used in a solo or chamber setting, as they are at times barely audible. Just use the weight of the bow only and play over the fingerboard, and allow your fingers to feel the smallest of pulling sensation and the sound should be soft enough without getting harsh. But never use this sound anywhere else!
M.Murat Dincmen on May 8, 2015 @5:11 am PST
Thank you for your videos on youtube.. Could you perhaps show us with examples on your cello how can we learn better to play the prelude of Bach's suite no 1. Thanks once more.
Joseph - host, on May 21, 2015 @10:43 am PST
Check out my first video!
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on May 21, 2015 @4:09 pm PST
Yes, Joseph's first video was about the first suite by Bach:

John Roberts on April 13, 2015 @2:08 pm PST
Thank you again for your videos. I found the video on Bach's Cello Suites Prelude #1 to be very informative.

I would love to see a video on BWV 1011 Sarabande (Largo). A specific item I would like to see would be any suggestions for hitting the harmonics, especially the the last G in measure 3 and then the subsequent transition to the F in measure 4.

I am playing from the Kalmus Classic Edition Bach "Six Suites."

Thank you
Joseph - host, on May 21, 2015 @10:53 am PST
Sorry for the late reply... I forget to check this page!

The spot you are talking about is easier if you release the harmonic early. The harmonic should still be ringing without you actually touching it (this takes some practice, because you have to leave the harmonic in exactly the right way.) This will give you time to set the next note.

John Roberts on June 17, 2015 @10:42 am PST
Thanks. I will work on it.
Kathryn Bowman * VSM MEMBER * on April 1, 2015 @9:05 am PST
Joseph, I can't thank you enough for your videos! The latest one about score study is really helpful, because I have never score studied before learning a piece. If I'm struggling with something, I always go to the piano and play it, and that is a big help (I was a pianist first), but now I am going to score study before ever trying to play a piece! Great idea!! Thank you!
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