That question is asked by students and parents alike. Once we have ruled out the “I’m not using good technique” or “I dropped something in my cello,” the best thing to do is go in to your local luthier (magical instrument maker and adjuster) and 90% of the time they would be happy to listen to you play and help diagnose the cause of the sound.
My first questions to my students in this discussion are:
- When is the last time you rehaired your bow?
- When did you last change your strings?
If the answer is over a year, than those two things may be your culprit. Honestly, our bow hair and strings can only stretch so far before they truly stop working, and then the truly awful thing is that we end up overplaying to compensate. Don’t do this to yourself – your sore muscles and frustration is worth more than the cost of this yearly upkeep.
For my current recommendation for strings:
Young Students: Heliocore is fine.
Students 7th grade and older: Larson for A&D, and either Spirocore on G&C or Jargar on G&C. Or Larson for all.