I own 3 cellos, not because I am a hoarder, but perhaps I am that too.

1. An 1877 Lowendall (Mittenwald) Strad model that I have had since 1949, it came into the family for me at no cost along with an old Albert N├╝renberger bow. This ws the cello I learned on, it was my high school cello, it is a very nice cello, in spite of the beating it had obviously taken before I ever met it. This cello was badly broken during our move to California in 1962. Repair estimates exceeded the value of the instrument at the time so I bought --->

2. A ~1964 Carl Sandner (Mittenwald) Strad model cello from Studio City Music (what is now the Benning shop) in North Hollywood, for less than that estimated repair cost for No. 1. I have heard this cello from out front and know why some have referred to it as "the Beast." It has a really big sound out there, but I always had trouble hearing it properly in orchestra, and sometimes even in quartets.

3. A 1996 Jay-Haide Model 101 that I traded up in 2005 for a 2004 a l'ancienne Vincenzo Ruggieri (spellings by that maker seem to be optional) model Jay-Haide based on the design of the cello played Jay Ifshin's wife. This cello is most audible of the three to me when playing in ensembles. I have heard it recorded in a string quartet and it definitely does come through. When I first heard this cello in Ifshin's shop it sounded so much like a Carl Becker I had heard (and noodled a bit) at a chamber music workshop 6 months earlier I just had to have it. Discussed it with my wife over lunch, and went back to the shop to take it on approval. Ifshin took back my 1996 model for what I paid. (I notice on line that prices for the Jay-Haide instruments have not changed in 20 years.)

I finally got Cello number 1 repaired in 1990 by Charles Woods, a personal friend and mechanical engineer turned luthier in his middle years, who by now has made and sold 101 instruments. As an amateur his labor rate in 1990 finally made the repair very affordable (one-fifth of what Paul Toenniges had quoted me back in 1964, when our income was 1/10th as much).

I sold cello No. 1 through a cellist and teacher friend to one of his students back around 1970 for $50. He glued the neck back on and his student used it (she was actually a high school bass player at the time as well). In the late 1980s she came to the door of our house and offered to sell the cello back to me for what she had paid ($50). It was after that that I had it repaired.

Both of my Strad models had annoying F# wolves that were never cured to my satisfaction until a couple of years ago when I fitted both with Krentz wolf eliminators.

I have so much history with these instruments, and so little money invested in the first two that I cannot bear to part with any of them. Two of them sit in wooden stands next to my Wenger cello chair (except when the forecasts promise unbearably hot weather) - which two? - that varies. If I had the room, I would get a third cello stand. It's hard enough to find the room to store the cases whether there are cellos in them or not.


Last Edited By: Andrew Victor Jul 25 16 9:17 AM. Edited 3 times.