The Basics

  • Strings: (high) A, D, G, C (low)
  • Main accessory: Rock stop (strap recommended)
  • Bow: Shorter and thicker than violin or viola with curved corner on the frog

Posture & Positioning Checkpoints

  • Seated in a balanced posture
  • Shoulders down, arms held out from body
    ("like low key airing out your armpits")
  • Neck on left side of head
  • C-peg near left ear, space for thumb between instrument neck & musician's shoulder
  • Lower left back corner of C-bout into side of left knee, right knee free if desired
  • Arms should be able to easily hug cello & hands reach bridge

Left Hand Checkpoints

  • Fingers curved to play on finger tips -- nails must be kept short enough to properly play on tips of fingers
  • Hand shaped like a "C" -- like holding a soda can
  • Thumb aligned between 1st and 2nd finger... travels with 2nd finger on extensions

Right Hand Checkpoints


  • Thumb on side of fingerboard (not under), halfway between shouder & end of fingerboard 
  • Fingers curled in
  • Pluck with tip of index finger (not nail) -- pluck away from where the bow will be... about 4 inches from the end of the fingerboard is good.
  • Tilt top of hand slightly back to face ceiling, fingers pointed toward end of fingerboard

  • Curved thumb, inside corner of thumbnail touches inside corner of the bow where frog meets stick.
  • Fingers draped comfortably over stick, stick touches at "knocking knuckles" on first 3 fingers
  • Pinky also draped over stick