Friday, October 10, 2008

Building a Prakticello: The Plans Arrive

This is a departure from my cheesy java bits, but I'm building a Prakticello; so this will be a build log of sorts. 
I travel a bit and I really miss cello practice when I'm out of town. I thought about getting a silent or electric cello but none of them seem to be overhead compartment friendly except the Ned Steinberger electric cellos. The NS cellos look awesome, and in my imaginary world I can see myself playing Bjork or the Clash's "Straight to hell" and becoming a rock star cellist. But I bought a cello over the summer, so I'm just not ready to plunk down $2K for another instrument. Once again cheapness (or more kindly, thrift) crushes my dreams. Another mitigating factor is that I joined the Christmas orchestra at my church. While the pieces are not particularly difficult, most of the songs are in F major and I'm still kinda banging around C major in the Suzuki 2 pieces.  Yeah, I know I should practice my scales more often. Anyway, I don't want to sound like an ass because my extension sucks. I ordered a set of plans from the inventor of the Prakticello, Mr. Ernest Nussbaum. The plans were written circa 1985 and they have the sort of charm of plans ordered from the back of Popular Mechanics. The plans are hand drawn (as opposed to be done in a CAD package) and the hand lettering is charming, not Leroy lettering but you can see faint lines drawn in to guide the lettering. The plans come with a 22 page instruction manual written in a Courier font adding a typewritten charm. You can imagine Mr Nussbaum banging away on an IBM Selectric. The plans are actually for a Traviola, which is the electrified version of the Prakticello. They contain the build of materials and general instructions which include building a small amp. For my purposes, I'll stick to the silent cello build for now. There are a couple of photos of the Prakticello in the manual and the website, but they really don't do the Prakticello justice. I found these pics on a discussion board:


  1. Do you think that this could be proportionately enlarged to build a double bass?

  2. no idea, but there are couple sites with double bass plans: