Cello Models


The Montagnana is one of the most popular models of cello. The outline of the cello body is very wide and short. The widths between the C-bouts gives the cello a very broad, dark sound that projects evenly and warmly. The sound has a clear, warm projection in a hall without being harsh. It is well suited for chamber music, such as string quartets, since it lends a strong bass without overpowering the other voices.


This cello displayed is a model of Janos Starker's Matteo Goffriler cello. I had the privilege of examining Mr. Starker's cello on several occasions and the hour of building a copy for Mr. Starler. The upper and c-bouts are a standard size, but the lower bout is quite large. These characteristics give the cello a bright responsive upper register and a large bass. I have always had a preference for playing this model of cello, enjoying the ease that comes with playing it.

Stradivarius 'Forma B' and 'Forma B Piccola'

The forma Buono or forma B was so named by Stradivarius himself as 'the good model'. This is the most famous and commonly seen model of cello. Charles Beare, a famous violin expert, said the following about this design:

"The 'Gore-Booth' cello of 1710 introduces the shape which Stradivari called 'forma B' and which as come to be regarded as the perfect design for the instrument. Twenty examples only of 'forma b' have survived, and most are famous instruments, indeed one or other of them has served a the model for every successful violin maker of the last two hundred years. As well as Rocco Fillipini, who is the present owner of the 'Gore-Booth', Mstislav Rostropovich and Yo Yo Ma are among artists currently using a cello of this ideal pattern, which seems to embody the perfect combination of powerful sound, easy response of tone, and manageable dimensions."

Later on, Strad decided to narrow the 'forma B' into what is known as the 'Forma B Piccola'. The most famous example of this model is the 'De Munch', which was played for many years by Aldo Parisot, and is now owned by Steven Isserlis. I had the pleasure of examining this cello several times, and I have made a number of copies.