Instructables
I will give you a crash course for learning the cello and teach you a year's worth in one instructable
 
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Step 1: Get your cello

if you are to play the cello, then you must get one.

here are your options:
1. buy new
2. buy used
3. rent used

I would prefer to rent one because i only paid $25.00 for a cello for one full year

then there is size
1. 1/4 size
2. 2/4 size
3. 3/4 size (the one I use)
4. 4/4 size (full size)

note: different sizes sound different because of the shell size
If you are 5ft-5ft5 get a 3/4

Step 2: Taking apart the cello in case

now that you bought the cello, it's time to open it.

the basic parts of the cello are:
1. cello
2. bow
3. case

first, remove the bow. That may sound easy but you must grab it without touching the non-wood part (horsehair). the horsehair is white, so don't touch it!

Step 4: How to hold the bow

Picture of how to hold the bow
bad news. before you learn notes, you must learn to hold the bow. you must hold the pencil between the second joint of your middle finger and tip of thumb. the picture shows the position of the other fingers. practice this on the bow next

Step 5: Let's learn some music!

scan0003.jpg
now, we will learn types of notes. the first picture shows you the types of notes from fastest played to slowest played. the next picture shows the different notes all in 2 beat fashion. Middle f and high c are sharps played with 3 fingers in this case. naturals are played with 2 fingers

Step 6: How long is a beat?

basically, a beat is 2 seconds. so a eighth note is a half- beat or 1 second
Noodle936 years ago
Cello doesn't strike me as a spur of the moment, teach yourself instrument. But good initiative.
I agree. If you want to play well it takes a good deal of dedication, and there is no replacement for daily practice and a good teacher. Good instructable though. As a cellist, I appreciate seeing others interested.
Of course you can teach yourself. I taught myself guitar. It took longer than most people, but I'm pretty awesome now. Arch Enemy and August Burns Red and such... It helps to have played another stringed instrument. I played Violin.
audience3 years ago
i think you skipped ahead to intermediate level after the holding the bow part, because I am still lost. I appreciate the info and attempt to give a lesson, but I am a novice cello player. I don't know where to place my fingers on the strings to play these notes. guitars have frets, but cellos don't which makes it hard.
iamtoats3 years ago
I think you should mention that you should hold the bow with your right hand. Is the picture describing bow grip reversed? Because you are playing righty in the picture. There's nothing wrong with playing left handed of course, but instruments will be more expensive, hard to find, and transferring to other string instruments like guitar will be difficult.
peach_fart4 years ago
you might want to revise this section to include triplets, 16th notes, 6-tuplets, 32nd notes, what a dot next to the note means, and slurs and ties.
peach_fart4 years ago
wrong. the beat depends on the bpm and time signature. in standard 4/4 time signature at 120 bpm, a half note is 1 second. at 60 bpm the quarter note is one second. in 7/8, 5/8, 12/8 time signature at 120 the eighth note is then 1 second.
kylerake4 years ago
Renting first is a good choice. I recommend this often to others. Beginners on the cello should learn proper cello care first. Purchasing a cheap cello will increase your chances of giving up.
Bartboy5 years ago
UMmm... what? Are you Mike?
nexx8925 years ago
Honestly you really need to clean up your tone I've been playing for 8 months. And I went to Beginner to top band... We can play dragon hunter fast with good tone... Nice try though.
cvillewill5 years ago
One's height has very little to do with cello size. The size of the left hand is what is more important in determining the size needed. Most stores that sell stringed instruments should be able to fit you. Unless of course you happen to buy your instrument at Target (No lie, I saw a violin there for $100 there once *Facepalm*)
samshoes5 years ago
The second finger on C is E flat, and on G is B flat. These are not "nonsense notes" and can be very useful. Consider revising this instructable once you have a little more experience, or possible asking someone with more experience (possibly whoever is teaching you cello) to look at it. This is a really good concept, just needs a little work.
@coolz: Regarding beats, I wonder if there is confusion regarding the distinction between beats and tempo. A beat is a quarter note within a measure, and the tempo is how closely spaced together those quarter notes are in time (speed of notes). If that doesn't help, let me know. Also, regarding bowings, I like to practice bowing with a really, really light bow. I feel that if I can control a really light bow at great speed accurately, I can do the same with a heavier bow. To this end I have a carbon-fiber bow (from a company called Incredibows, which, I know, is corny) that weighs perhaps 15g and a wooden bow that weighs about 30g.
theburn76 years ago
ru gorillazmiko?
coolz (author)  theburn76 years ago
no. then again, i could be lying...
theburn7 coolz6 years ago
ru lying?
coolz (author)  theburn76 years ago
maybe... gorillazmiko always messes people's minds
Metal4God coolz6 years ago
but gorillazmiko likes knex
coolz (author)  Metal4God6 years ago
Im the opposite of Gorillazmiko, right
ROFLOL, my theory has taken...
It should be noted that there are lots of notes in the Western tones just in the first position on cello. From half position through first position (though I usually just stretch my first finger back into half position without moving the rest of my hand out of first) on the C string you've got C (no fingers pressed), C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, and F# (this requires stretching your pinky just a little bit out of first position into second and/or third positions). As far as beats go, it could indeed be 2 seconds for basic beginner's songs (sorry, I'm self taught so don't know what most instructors do), but I generally don't play anywhere near that slow. Beats are usually expressed in beats per minute (bpm), and can go from 40 to 300, as in one of the Haydn London Trios (~60-70bpm) to Bach's "Double Violin Concerto in D Minor" (~200bpm).
PKM6 years ago
"If you play 2 fingers on the 2 low strings, you will play nonsense notes"

What- like D# and G#? Those are only "nonsense notes" (great phrase by the way) if you are (IIRC) playing in a major key that doesn't include them, but you might want to play them in a piece in a different key. I think in general you could go into a little more detail about sharps/naturals, but it gets a bit involved and this is presumably meant to be a beginner Instructable.

Good effort, though.
coolz (author)  PKM6 years ago
if they weren't nonsense notes they would be e# and b#
PKM coolz6 years ago
Erm- there is no E#, E# would be F. I think you mean E flat (Eb) and B flat (Bb). The note between D and E is definitely D sharp (D#), but the one on the G string should be A#. I'm assuming here that 2 fingers is three semitones, given 1 finger is two semitones and 3 fingers is four semitones.
coolz (author)  PKM6 years ago
this is not piano
PKM coolz6 years ago
Maybe not, but that doesn't change the definition of a sharp or a semitone. If I've misunderstood what you meant by "2 fingers on the first string" then let me know, but there is definitely an acceptable note (on a chromatic scale) between D and E.
"basically, a beat is 2 seconds."

Not necessarily. A beat can be as long as you want it to be. Usually at the top of your music there will be a number (ie: 112) or a work like Moderato. This determines how long each beat is. The number represents how many beats per minute are played. (60=sixty beats/minute.) The words aren't as mathematical, but from slowest to fastest there are:
Largo, Larghet, Adagio, Andante, Moderato, Allegro, Presto and Prestissimo.
(Excuse me if I forgot some)
coolz (author)  Sergeant Crayon6 years ago
a 2 second beat is for basic songs. I will tell you about this in part 2 of the 'ible which will be coming in a year fro the post date which will be may 25, 2009