Thanks for watching our video on cello pricing, good brands, and finding a beginner cello! It’s important to understand pricing so you don’t end up paying more than you need to in the end. Hopefully, the information is helpful to you, and we’d love to hear any comments or questions about the buying process.
Pretty much all inexpensive brands $400 or less are at worst garbage and at best going to cost you the same as an intermediate cello in the end as you replace things.
These include the lower end Cecilio and Easter brands on Amazon. The most important thing to understand about this is the value of having some of the smaller components at a high quality.
A good bridge alone costs $400 to have made. That’s as much as some “beginner” cello setups! A bow rehair alone costs $75, if a bow comes with this level of cello, it’s definitely not up to scratch.
And while this stuff seems like nit-picking a little; after all, can’t guitar players often make do with beat up $200 guitars? Well, they kind of can.
But cello is a bit more finicky both in terms of sound production (the bow and strings need to be a certain minimum quality to get a decent sound to come out of an already difficult instrument) and also hardware build at all.
With so many loose parts that need to be tightly fitted under string tension in order to fit together at all, a cheap machine made cello will often arrive in an almost unplayable condition at first.
That being said, there are cellos you can get for less than $1000 that are a better bargain because they will at least come better set up, even if still more cheaply/inexpertly made.
If this price is too high to pay in a lump sum we would recommend you going to a local violin/string store. They will be able to rent or often make rent to own payments on a line of cellos that you know are set up properly by the luthier and you can come back to with problems.
All cellists end up having a regular working relationship with someone in this line of work, because the knowledge is just as specialized as how to play the instrument, and can be a whole high level career in and of itself to repair and build string instruments.
With that expertise in mind, it can be helpful to keep in mind how expensive cellos can go. By the time someone has graduated undergrad in music, they are probably looking at or have already acquired a cello in the $20-50k range.
In most A list professional orchestras, the cellos are $90-120k. And some very rare cellos sell in the millions. This is part of the reason why you save money in the end starting with a decent enough cello. Remember the $200 beater guitar?
The version of that in the cello world is somewhere around $1700. Once you hit a certain price point, you’re balancing how many times you’ll have to repair/upgrade the instrument, and it will serve you better longer.
The relationship between cello and cellist is very strong, and it can actually take some adjusting to switch between instruments. If you’re taking it seriously, it’s something you will spend hundreds or thousands of hours practicing, plus any rehearsals, lessons, etc.
Try to really get to know your instrument, and as you move from your starter on to a more advanced cello, it’s okay to be picky! Cellos don’t just vary by abstract quality but also by the specific playing style and uses of the cellist looking for one.
We wish you the best of luck in your cello search, and hope to hear about all your success!