Now, having my own cello, suddenly I realized that I know almost nothing about cello. I even misspelled a part of this instrument. That’s so embarrassing. More to that: I glued a picture of violin, yes VIOLIN, in my journal instead of a cello. My goodness: what did I think when I did that. Apparently I didn’t think at all.
I made some corrections on this violin image, to make it looked like a cello. Still that’s not the right picture. Oh, my!
My cello, she has an Italian name: Stabioni (I might make another mistake for this –sigh). Regardless the name that sounds so Italian, my cello’s made in China. It also has a family name, which makes you know this is not an Italian cello: TABIONA. So her name’s Stabioni Tabiona. Yes, it’s a bit too much for an Italian cello, right?
But who cares? Since I will never buy the Italian cello anyway (so very-very-very expensive!). At least not for 10-12 years from now. Also, the price you have to pay for an Italian cello might give you a brand new Toyota car. Yes, it’s that expensive.
Since the beginning, Rick –my teacher- told me to buy from Jakarta Music School. But I tried my luck by visiting other outlets. And by other outlets, I mean Pasar Baru’s*) music shops. Let me tell you this: if you’re looking for cellos, do not follow what I’m doing.
At the 1st shop, I was so shocked when the shop girl mentioned the price. It’s so amazingly cheap. Almost 1/8 of the one I bought. I asked to look at the instrument, and when it came, I knew what it’s so cheap. The cello looked so ugly. The wood’s looked so dull. The quality’s so poor. It even had scratches here and there. When I asked for an option, a cracked one came, with 3 strings only. Oh, no!
In the next shop, the seller said they had a very good cello, from German. She mentioned the price, and it’s close to the price Rick mentioned. I said I need to see the cello, and this shop owner said, “Oh, no we can’t show you now. You have to pay first, and I’ll get it for you.” What?
“No need to worry. It’s beautiful. Guaranteed.” Okay, but please let me see it first. No, she said.
I didn’t get it. Pay without checking it first? No way. I decided to leave the shop. I texted Rick about what happened, and he answered me, “Get the hell out of there! Now!” I really-really-really should listen to him, from the very beginning.
Okay, now following what Rick already asked me to do: I called the shop, and the shop girl sent me several cellos picture via WhatsApp. I forwarded them to Rick. And after getting some pictures, we finally decided to pick the one that cost me the least. So I bought my first cello without even look or touch it first. That’s brave –in my opinion.
Next thing: I had to pick it up from so far-far away, in the other side of the city. Fortunately, the shop managed to send the cello to its branch shop in central Jakarta, closer to my office and home.
I picked it up on Wednesday evening. It’s not tuned yet. I knew. But it didn’t matter. Rick will help me. Ah yes, the red case’s so awesome. Honestly I was falling in love with the bright yellow case, but decided to stick with the red one. Maybe if I’m a real good player like Rick, I’d use that yellow fiber case. So cool.
Rick came the next day. He’s in awe. He tried to tune the strings, but boy it’s so hard. The peg just couldn’t be turned to any direction. It’s so hard that Rick hurt his hand. Poor Rick. Apparently Ms. Stabioni Tabiona needed more than turned the pegs. The fine tuner of the G string was not working. It kept on jumping whenever we turned the peg. So I need to take it back to the shop. Honestly I was a bit pissed. Well, who’s fault was that? Surely: moi! I really should came, and checked and asked the seller to tune it.
Fortunately, Mr. Jap was so nice, kind and so helpful.
While working on my cello in a room filled with so many violins, cellos, basses in different sizes, Mr. Jap talked about cello’s history and how it’s made. About the maple wood that’s hard to find, and only available (mostly) in Europe. How about Asia? Maple wood can only be found in Myanmar and up to China.
So how about violin-cello made in Indonesia? “Sorry, they’re not good enough,” he said. But why?
“To make one, you need to play cello excellently. You also need to attend special course on how to make music instrument, and special education on cello making which might last no shorter than 2 years. You just can’t wake up one day and decided to make one, just you can play a bit. It doesn’t work that way. And one more thing, what kind of wood are you going to use? It has to be maple and we don’t have any here.”
Ah, there’s so many things, all are interesting, Mr Jap shared with me. Seriously, he should write a book. He’s a good storyteller.