How Do I Choose the Best Beginner's Cello?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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With prices that start around $1,000 US Dollars (USD), the cello is a costly instrument, and its purchase should not be taken lightly. If you are in the market for a beginner’s cello, however, you may not know what to look for as you shop. In order to choose the best beginner’s cello, begin by enlisting the expertise of a cellist or cello teacher, and shop at establishments that specialize in bow-played stringed instruments. Be aware of the issues that can affect a cello’s quality, such as wood type and construction method, as well as those factors which can affect its playability, such as size. Finally, before purchasing a new beginner’s cello, give consideration to temporarily renting one or buying a used one.

If your knowledge of cellos is limited, attempting to buy one can be confusing and even intimidating. To dispel first-time-buyer’s anxiety, consider enlisting the help of an expert as you shop. If you have a friend with significant experience playing the cello, for instance, consider asking her to evaluate instruments with you. Alternatively, if you already have a cello teacher lined up, she may be willing to visit instrument shops with you. Due to their experience, these individuals will likely be better able than you to physically evaluate an instrument as well as to converse with store staff about issues such as construction.


Another point to keep in mind as you begin shopping for a beginner’s cello is that in most cases, it is preferable to visit shops which specialize in bow-played stringed instruments rather than those which sell many types of instruments. This is because staff members in specialty shops are likely to have a deep understanding of the cello. They may, therefore, be better equipped to answer your questions and help you fulfill your needs than those with only a basic knowledge of the instrument.

As you search for a beginner’s cello, you should also be aware of the issues that can affect a cello’s quality, such as wood type and construction method. While mass-produced cellos made from compressed wood may be more affordable than hand-constructed spruce and maple models, they often sound poor and are prone to breakage. On a related note, be aware that certain factors can affect an instrument’s playability, and that these factors can be affected by a cellist’s size and personal preferences. For instance, cellos are available in several different sizes, and an instrument which is incorrectly sized relative to your height will likely prove uncomfortable to play.

Finally, before purchasing a new beginner’s cello, consider temporarily renting one from a teacher or an instrument shop. Renting a cello for several months gives you time to determine whether you in fact wish to pursue the instrument before you have paid the hefty purchase price. You may also find that you can save a significant amount of money on a high-quality cello by purchasing a used model.


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