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Cello Lessons: Installing the Block Strap

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Multi-Style Cello with Mike Block. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Cello Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
So if you have bought a block strap,
congratulations and welcome to the future.
My distributor who I loving
call mom has packaged
your block strap up in a nice plastic bag.
I'm gonna open this up
much like you will and
just walk you through all
the steps of installation.
It comes with and uncrumpled instructions,
mine has been in my backpack all day.
You can read these instructions, but
I'm gonna talk you through what
the instructions say right now as well.
You've got your travel bag here,
nice and soft and so
inside of this is all
the components to the strap.
As I take them out,
the first one I feel is the chest cushion.
We'll get to that in a second.
There's also gonna be a lot of little
strap cushions all with Velcro that would
probably get stuck on each other and
on other things annoyingly, but
I'm gonna put those down, cuz those
will be the last things that we put on.
And as I just put those all on the ground,
I am left with the strap main body.
As I loop this out, you can see it's
got a nice little logo and everything.
And if you look at the logo,
if you read it,
you'll notice there's
a buckle just above it.
Unbuckle this in your left with the first
component that we're gonna install.
It's the called the peg glove.
It's got two Velcro pads and this buckle.
I want you to hold the peg glove,
so the buckle is hanging down and
the soft Velcro strip is facing out.
I'm going to insert the D string tuning
peg through the first, the top hole
right here and then I'm going to
wrap the peg glove around the back
and insert the G string tuning
peg through the second hole.
Then the two ends of the peg glove can
reattach through the Velcro strip and
the buckle is going to hang down in
between the A and the D string pegs.
For what it's worth, actually, some of the
buckles like the concavity of the buckle
is facing different directions on
different straps, but it works either way.
So don't worry.
But after that gets hanging down there,
we're actually gonna take the main
body of the strap and we're just gonna
buckle it back to the peg glove.
The reason this buckle is here is so
that when you put your
cello away after playing,
you can fit it in the case
without taking the strap off.
When I put the cello away I unbuckle this
and kind of lay the strap like this.
And that way, I don't have to take it
on and off every time I play cello.
But since we're about to play, I'm gonna
buckle that and make sure to buckle it,
so that as you are sitting behind
the cello, you can still read the logo.
With the logo facing you, I'm going to
take the opposite end of the main body.
This end is called the bottom extension.
It has an adjustable slider, which we're
going to extend the first time we open it.
So, it's a little longer.
The end of the bottom
extension is the eyelet.
This hole is actually what
the endpin is gonna go through.
So, any removable endpin can just simply
go through the hole and close in over it.
I'm gonna put the cello down now,
we're making good progress.
On the other end of the main body,
you'll notice there's another two
things that are buckled together.
Unbuckle that.
The long, adjustable strip here at
this end is called the neck connector.
I'm gonna lengthen the slider
of the neck connector,
this first time and I'm going to slide
it over the A string tuning peg.
And then I'm gonna have it run
parallel to the fingerboard,
all the way down around the bottom
of the neck where without crossing
these two strips, I'm going to
buckle it back into the small strip.
The small strip is the one that
extends from the top of the main body.
We're making good progress.
So now that the neck connector and
the small strip are buckled,
we can start working with chest cushion.
The chest cushion opens up and
inside you'll find
three foam padding inserts and
you may not need all three.
I only use two of them, actually, but
I wanted to give you
an extra one just in case.
So, leave one padding insert extending
the whole way and then I'm actually
going to fold the second one and insert it
in the bottom side of the chest cushion.
This will help us get a nice rotational
and oblique angle when we put it on.
So now that I zip it back up,
you can see that the chest
cushion has an angle to it.
You can make the fat end
be either on bottom or
the top,
depending on your ultimate preferences.
It hangs from the chest cushion strip,
which you can unbuckle and
I might even lengthen it too as
we have it for the first time and
I'm going to loop this
around the small strip.
You can actually buckle it around
the neck of the cello too, if you want.
It's all a matter of
preference at this point, but
the back of the chest cushion is textured
and this is meant to provide a very
gentle friction on the instrument to
keep the instrument from sliding.
So you wanna play with the soft,
the nearly soft side with the icon
facing your body and so
it'll sorta look like this.
The last thing I'm gonna put on
are these Velcro strap cushions.
There are well, you can see there's this
soft Velcro on the back of the main body.
And if I just line it with all of these
strap cushions, I could have done
this ahead of time, but you're
getting the authentic experience here.
I'm gonna align them all the way.
There's enough of these strap cushions to
go the whole length of the block strap.
Just a couple more, bam.
And yeah, well, that's it.
Now, we are ready to wear our cello.
So, I'm gonna let the bottom extension
lie on the front of the cello here and
I'm gonna put my head and
right arm through it.
It's all like super tight on me, sorry.
This new isn't adjusted to me.
So actually, this is a good teachable
moment to make sure you extend this
bottom extension a whole bunch just so
you can get in it the first time.
Yeah, this is feeling pretty good.
So now that it's on actually,
I'm gonna tighten this a little bit.
And chest cushion, I'm gonna have
it hang vertically on the back
of the cello right about here to
give me a nice rotational angle.
And however,
many minutes it took me to install this.
You can see that it's actually
already kind of replicating my
sitting cello posture and
I've got another video on adjusting it.
Your general rule of thumb is
you're gonna want it to look and
feel just like it does when
you're sitting with an endpin.
So yeah, if you have any other
questions about the installation,
feel free to submit a video.
Show me what it looks like on your cello.
And if you've taken a wrong
step at some point,
I can help point you in
the right direction.
[MUSIC]