How To Pack A Cello

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Renters, this post is for you! Packing a cello can look complicated. How you do it is important to prevent damage to the instrument. If you rent from us and need to ship your cello back, we developed a packing method many years ago that protects the cello from damage.

Before We Start:

  • Take note of how the cello was packed when you received it. We have pictures in this post, but it doesn’t hurt to take some of your own to make sure you remember how to pack it.
  • Save all of the packing materials. Seriously: ALL of them, including the return shipping label.

You Will Need:

  1. The cello and case
  2. Box
  3. Foam
  4. Bubble Wrap
  5. Tubes
  6. Packing Tape
  7. Shipping Label

Cellos 1/2 – 4/4

STEP ONE: Prep the Cello

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Pack foam anywhere that something on the cello could collapse, such as:

  • Either side of the bridge, to keep it upright
  • Under the tailpiece and fingerboard, to keep them from collapsing on the instrument

STEP TWO: Prep the Box

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Left: neck support, Right: endpin support

  • Add the cardboard inserts to the box
    • The neck support goes roughly where the neck will lie
    • The endpin support sits at the bottom of the box
  • Save the final insert! You’ll need this later.

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Line the bottom of the box where the body of the cello will be with bubble wrap

Step 3: Add the Cello

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Put the cello inside the case and place it in the box with the bridge FACING UP. The endpin should slide into the endpin insert.  Then adjust the neck insert so that it is touching the body and supporting the neck.

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Put the final insert above the neck and scroll as shown above.

Step 4: Stabilize the Cello

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Place the two tubes in the bouts on either side of the instrument. This keeps the box from collapsing on top of the instrument if something is placed on top of it in shipping.

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Pad the sides around the body with bubble wrap. You want enough that the instrument won’t slide around.

STEP FIVE: Cushion the Cello

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Pad the top of the body with a few layers of bubble wrap, but make sure not to put too many layers over the bridge. This is because it can create too much pressure on the top of the instrument and cause damage.

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Add just enough that the bubble wrap and the top flaps of the box are flush. Any more than that and you risk the same type of damage we mentioned with the bridge.

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Close and securely tape the box.

Cellos 1/4 and Smaller

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Prep the cello in the same way described above, then place it inside the case. Wrap it with bubble wrap. Then line the bottom of the box with bubble wrap.

Note: for smaller cellos, there are no inserts.

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Add the instrument to the box and place the four tubes around it.

  • Two go on either side at the widest point at the bottom of the instrument
  • Two go on either side at peg-leve

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Stabilize the cello around the entire instrument with bubble wrap, then build up in layers until filled. Don’t forget to be careful of the bridge!

THINGS TO NEVER DO:

  • Pack the instrument with the bridge facing down.
  • Pack the instrument outside of the case

As always, if you have any questions we’re happy to help! Please give us a call at 800-359-3951.

 

Fake Strings and How to Spot Them

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Fake strings in the music world are an ongoing concern. String makers and shops take pride in the products they produce and sell; while imitations may be cheaper, they do not have the same quality as the original.  Here is what you need to know about fake strings:

How To Tell If A String Is Fake

  • Strange Packaging. If the package looks off somehow (not just a new design), there is a chance it’s a copy. Some things to watch out for are:
    • Blurry lettering or graphics
    • Missing inventory numbers
    • Badly sealed inner lining
  • Wrong Color Windings. Each brand has a specific color they use for their windings depending on which string it is and which variety. Many fake strings will have colors that are duller or are a close match but not exact.
  • Floppy or Bendable Strings. You are not supposed to be able to fully bend a string. If it feels different from what you normally buy, be wary.

This is all well and good if you already have the string in hand, but that means you’ve already purchased the fake string. What about avoiding buying one in the first place?

How To Protect Yourself From Purchasing Fake Strings

  • Only buy from reputable dealers. Any reputable dealer will only buy directly from the company or from a trusted distributor.
  • Check the price. Does the price look too good to be true? It probably is. While there are many honest dealers on these sites, Amazon and eBay sellers are the biggest culprits when it comes to selling fake strings. Check the seller’s Amazon or eBay stores to verify who they are. If someone’s price is drastically lower than what you’ve been seeing, there’s a good chance this is not a legitimate string being sold.
  • Buy your instrument from a reputable dealer too! Many cheap instruments that you find online keep costs down buy using cheaper fake strings. This typically happens with foreign factory-made instruments.

Johnson String takes pride in purchasing our strings directly from companies such as D’Addario, or their American distributor for companies like Thomastik-Infeld (Connolly Music).

To learn more about identifying fake guitar strings, check out D’Addario’s website.

Looking for strings? Browse our complete string inventory.

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons

Which Edition of Sheet Music Do I Buy?

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Your teacher tells you you’re starting a new piece. You go to buy the sheet music, only to discover there are multiple editions to choose from.

Which edition do you choose?

The easy answer? The one your teacher tells you to buy. They like that edition and want you to get it for a reason. If they don’t have a preferred edition, it’s up to you to decide. While finances sometimes dictates that choice, here are a few things you should know about choosing sheet music:

What Do I Look For? 

Everyone has different priorities when choosing an edition, but here are some things to keep in mind while browsing sheet music:

  • Is it easy to read? Can you read the notes? Are articulations clearly marked? It’s a good idea to look at different editions in person. Compare them side-to-side and see which one is easier for you to read.
  • Are there a lot of marked bowings and fingerings? These are easily changed with a quick pencil scribble. However, if too many are already marked in the part it can start to look messy if you need to fix them. Some people prefer to get sheet music with the least amount of bowings and fingerings so they can clearly mark their own.
  • Does it lie flat? Does the sheet music lie flat on the stand, or would you have to secure it? Would you have to break the binding to get it to stay where you need it to?
  • Price: More expensive editions cost more for a reason. You may find it helpful, or you may not notice a difference.
  • Is it Urtext? This only applies to certain pieces, but sometimes it’s helpful to use an urtext edition instead of a more modern one.

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We pride ourselves on our sheet music selection at Johnson String. Stop in to compare in person or visit us online. We also do special orders; contact our sheet music specialist, Joan Faber at joan@johnsonstring.com.

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons

Departments of JSI: School Programs and Delivery

Departments of JSI

It’s time for another installment of Departments of JSI! This series highlights the different people in our company. We’re able to run such a large business through the expertise of and collaboration between our different departments. Everyone has a skill they use to accomplish everything from coordinating rental trips to selling instruments to repairing instruments to shipping things on time and safely. This series will help you get to know the variety of people and jobs that are done here at JSI.

The School Programs and Delivery department are the people you see at our rental nights throughout New England and New York State. They handle any deliveries, exchanges, and other transactions done through school districts or at rental nights throughout those areas. They are constantly in contact with teachers and school administration to make sure everyone has what they need.  We asked some of them to talk about what they do:

What is your position at JSI?

Justin Davis: School Program/Guitar Specialist.

Natalie Harrington: I’m the Rental Delivery and Programs Manager.

Steve Soucy: I am a School Programs Specialist. This means I work specifically with teachers and administrators of various public and private schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to cater our products and services to meet the needs of their string/orchestra programs.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Justin: My days tend to be quite varied. Some days I will be setting up and repairing guitars, others I will be scheduling with and otherwise contacting teachers to ensure that they and their students have all of the proper instruments and accessories that they need to succeed. In the busy times, mainly the start and end of the school year, I will be visiting each of our programs in Connecticut and Southern Massachusetts while also helping out the rest of the team where needed.

Natalie: That depends on the season. My top priority is always working with our teacher clients to ensure we’re meeting their programs’ needs. Sometimes that means driving to schools myself; other times it’s coordinating staff, vans, instruments, and product to send on the road. I always need to be at my desk for at least a few hours a day to answer emails, update our service trips web page, and make sure everything is ready to go for the next delivery.

Steve: In September, I start the day at my desk to answer any questions or fill any requests made by teachers and clients the previous night or earlier that morning. Then it is off to the workshop to review and pack instrument and accessory orders for the event that night. Once we are packed, we head off to the event. There we unpack and prepare for parents and students. Afterwards, we pack up, head back to the workshop, and unload. Once unloaded, we close up the workshop and prepare for the next event.

What is your main instrument?

Justin: I call guitar my primary instrument but violin was my first instrument and I played that all through school as well. I was always a bit of a jack of all trades with experience with viola, cello, mandolin, and ukulele as well.

Natalie: Violin. I started in the Suzuki method when I was four, and continued to play seriously, even becoming concert mistress of my orchestra, until I graduated from high school.

Steve: Electric Bass

Did you go to school for music?

Justin: I went to the University of Maine, double majoring in music education and guitar performance.

Natalie: No, actually: I got my degree in Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences from Wellesley College.

Steve: No, economics.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Justin: My favorite part of my job has always been seeing the excitement that a new player has when they first pickup their instrument. You can just see in their eyes that this will be a lifelong learning adventure for them.

Natalie: I love a challenge! We rent to over 100 school programs throughout New England and New York, so there is a lot to coordinate. Doing my job well involves keeping an eye on a wide variety of staff, procedures, and departments, and anticipating problems so I can solve them before they happen. Never a dull day!

Steve: Working with schools and music teachers. Providing students with a high quality instrument that allows them to enjoy playing music and develop a life-long passion for it.

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons