How To Buy A Cello

What To Look For In A New Student Cello

As for cello brands, the finest “beginner’s” cellos are hand made by individuals all over the world. The best could cost thousands of dollars. Also, two cellos made by the same maker can vary in quality depending on the pattern, wood or numerous other factors. Of course, if you have the resources, you can buy a “professional” cello for tens of thousands of dollars. I wouldn’t recommend that even if you could. An instrument has to feel right to the player, it would be difficult for a beginner to know what feels right.

I’m finding that some of the string instruments sold on online from China are good for beginners. A few things to look for though. If you buy a Chinese or any starter cello, make sure you get one with an ebony fingerboard and ebony pegs (not ebonite or ebonized). Also look for inlaid purfling (not painted). Purfling is a narrow binding inlaid into the edges of the top and often bottom plates of stringed instruments. Purfling serves to reinforce the plates and prevent cracking along their edges.

I have purchased quite a few good quality student instruments for around $400 USD. These instruments need to be set up by a knowledgeable person by fitting the bridge and nut, adjusting the sound post and putting on better quality strings. The most qualified person to do this is called a luthier, he or she usually works at a violin shop making or repairing string instruments. The repairman or luthier may also have to adjust the tuning pegs, they tend to slip on these new instruments. Figure on adding $300 – $400 for a complete setup service.

The most important things to do on cello purchased online are:

  • Make sure the nut (the piece that holds the strings as it comes out of the pegbox) is adjusted properly. It’s usually too high making playing in the lower positions difficult.
  • Make sure the soundpost is set up properly.
  • If needed, replace the strings with good quality strings.

I found that the bridges are usually fitted adequately for these cellos although it also may need fitting. For the pegs, a material called Peg Compound or Peg Drops may have to be applied to the pegs to help them operate properly.
As for the cello strings, anything you get will usually sound better than the strings shipped with the cello. Either buy a set from a local violin shop or go to an online music store and find a set. I use the D’Addario Prelude Cello String Set for my students. The Jargar Cello String Set is a step up from the D’Addario strings and the Pirastro Permanent Soloist Cello String Set is what I currently use for my instrument.

As for my beginning students, a good inexpensive instrument I found is the Cecilio CCO-500. The best price I’ve found is here. It has all the basic components. I have purchased many of these and have been not only satisfied, but actually impressed. These instruments have all the basic components; inlaid purfling, ebony fingerboard and ebony pegs. If you decide to buy one of these, you will have to spend a little more money to get it set up. An beginner’s instrument like this should be adequate for at least a couple of years of serious study.

The all around best value for your money I found is the Cecilio CCO-500

Click to see on Amazon

This is the same instrument I’ve seen listed on Ebay but at a equal or lower price. I’ve haven’t had any problems with this company from which I’ve bought my cellos. I also have no relationship with this company (I don’t make a commission from them). I only know this model cello and for my beginning students, it is more than adequate. Remember, this instrument will need to be set up properly before you can play it.

If you have any questions, or want me to look at a cello you found locally or online, let me know by contacting me here. Make sure you send a link to the page where you found the cello.

Below are a some links to instruments I have found for my students. I am always on the lookout for good, inexpensive instruments to recommend. If you have any recommendations, let me know here.

Best Cellos Under $1000.00

The all around best value for your money I found is the Cecilio CCO-500

Setup Option:

If you would like to purchase the Cecilio CCO-500 cello listed above set up and ready to play, click the “Shop Now” button below.

What you get:

  • Fingerboard inspected and planed for maximum playability
  • Nut inspected and shaved down for ease of fingering
  • Bridge setup and position marked for easy customer positioning
  • Pegs inspected and treated for ease of tuning
  • Proper positioning of the tailpiece
  • Soundpost setup for maximum tonal quality
  • A new set of D’Addario Prelude Cello Strings pre-strung on the instrument

Recommended Cellos Under $20,000.00

Contact me here.

Recommended Cellos Over $20,000.00

Contact me here.