How to Tame the Wolf in a Cello

Taming the wolf, or bad note, on a cello.



The Wolf in the Cello


A wolf is the bad note on a cello. It occurs usually on E, F or F sharp, usually most noticeable in the fourth position on the G string. It is not a big problem, as nearly all cellos have one.

There are various ways to get rid of a wolf - some I prefer to others. This is because there can be the side effect of a slight loss of resonance. This reservation may be more relevant to high quality instruments than to student ones. By the time an advanced player acquires a fine cello, the existence of the wolf will be well known. Then it could be a trade off between wolf clearance and optimum resonance.

The student just wants the wolf to go away. There is an excellent resonator that can be glued inside the front of a cello. Its optimum position is decided by first attaching it to the outside.

If the player wants a less permanent suppression, I use a device which clips on the strings below the bridge. This solution is not generally known, but is a discovery of my own in the way the attachment can be employed.

There are some known devices I do not recommend, because they can thin or restrict the tone. We want all the resonance we can get from the cello.

A wolf on the middle strings can generally be dealt with, but a wolf on the A string is more of a problem. This needs a more specialised approach - something to be kept in mind when choosing a cello.

Remember that a wolf on a violin is much harder to tame.


For assistance with the set up of your violin or cello,
call me on 020 8958 4456.
I'll be happy to help.



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