The cost of a cello can range from under $300 to several thousands of dollars. Like many classical stringed instruments, the cost of a cello will vary depending on the type of construction used to make the cello, the age of the instrument, the brand name, sound quality, and playability. Examining the variables underlying cello cost can help you decide what price-to-quality ratio you are comfortable with when purchasing the instrument.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of cello cost is the process used to construct it. Cheap cellos are typically made using automated machinery, while expensive cellos are created by hand. People who make cellos and other stringed instruments by hand are known as luthiers. Cello enthusiasts will usually agree that the sound, aesthetics, and playability qualities of a hand-made cello are vastly superior to that of a factory-made cello. The age of the instrument is also closely related to the cost of a cello. When considering recently made cellos, a brand new one is likely to be more expensive than one that is a couple of years old. However, as age increases, the rarity of a cello may increase its value to a point well above the price of a new model. It has also been said that the sound of some cellos increases in quality as the cello ages, further increasing the cost of cellos with an aged sound. To determine the type of cello for you, and therefore determine the cost of a cello meeting your standards, you should first decide if the cello is being bought for a student or a professional.
Student Cello Prices
Buying a cello for a student is a different experience than purchasing one for a professional cellist. There are many low-priced brands of cellos on the market (under $1,000), but the sacrifice in quality is often too great to justify buying a cheap cello, even for a beginner. The playability and sound quality of a cello is actually very important when introducing someone to the instrument, as the student may be less likely to enjoy the experience with a low-quality cello, leading to a disinterest in the craft.
Another approach for those who cannot afford the cost of a high quality cello is to consider renting a cello from your local music store. In this manner, cello cost can be minimized should the student decide to move to a different instrument, or stop playing altogether. Renting may also give you the option of changing to a lease-to-own situation, so that your regular payments can go towards owning the instrument after some time. This is ideal for a student who may become attached to their particular instrument when the cost of the cello is too high for an all-at-once purchase.You should also be aware that finding a dealer who offers student pricing could lower the cello cost. It is strongly suggested that you consult with an expert before purchasing a cello, as they can help you to avoid buying an instrument that is not worth its price. You should also remember that the bow used with a cello has its own cost. At student levels, a bow can run from under $50 to over $300 depending on desired quality and construction. On the other hand, bows are extremely important to professional cellists, and for them they can cost upwards of $2500, rivaling the cost of the cellos themselves.
Professional Cello Prices
Most cellos that are used by professional musicians originate from luthiers. The experience of these handcrafters and the personal touch that they provide results in instruments that are truly one-of-a-kind. Highly skilled cellists will gladly pay extra for a cello that helps them reach the full potential of their abilities. The level of intricacy and the time required to craft an instrument of this kind tends to make the cost of cellos for professionals quite high. Professional cello costs typically range from several thousand dollars to dozens of thousands of dollars. Some luthiers may be independent, while others provide high-end retail models.
Where To Buy A Cello
Regardless of cello cost, cellos can be purchased used or new from local stores, the manufacturer, or via the internet. If you are well experienced with cellos and sizing, you may be able to buy one without trying it first, allowing for a long-distance purchase. This, however, is not recommended, especially for beginners and/or students.
Among the cheapest available cello brands is Merano. They offer many models under $300 and a few between $500 and $1,000. As the cost of a cello increases, so does the amount of human involvement in its construction, though none are 100% hand-made. Palatino has both manufactured and handcrafted cello models that fall around the low-middle area of cello cost ($700-$1,300). Glaesel produces cellos under the name of Scherl & Roth. These instruments are made by hand and can cost more than $2,000. The cellos produced by Eastman cover all areas of price and quality. Beginner models are laminate and the price reflects it at under $500, while average handcrafted models average in the $1500 dollar area, and master level cellos are over $2000.
Buying A Cello
You can purchase a cello in several ways. Finding a used cello locally is a possibility and can result in the lowest possible cello cost. You can buy or rent/lease from a local music retailer, or purchase directly from the retailer. Both of these options can be achieved online, as well as the option to peruse websites that may offer discounted or used instruments. Buying online is a risky choice when it comes to just about any musical instrument, as you cannot try it out before purchase. This is especially true for cellos, as they must be “sized” to match their player. Full-sized cellos are the standard size, with fractional sizes denoting the volume (not length) of the instrument. For example, a 1/4 sized cello would have 1/4 of the volume of a full sized cello. The process of matching a person to their appropriately sized instrument is called sizing. Sizing involves resting the top of the cello against the chest while sitting, and should be performed by a professional if possible.