Which cellos are best?
The cello has remained a staple in music for hundreds of years and to this day, remains an important part of contemporary music too. Like other stringed instruments, the best cellos are those that are the most comfortable for the user — whether you’re just starting out or are already a master. Still, there are a few distinct features shared by the best cellos on the market that can be helpful to know before you buy.
The Stentor 1586 Conservatoire Full Acoustic Cello is one of the best cellos available online, especially if you can afford to pay a little bit extra.
What to know before you buy a cello
Scale and size
Perhaps the most important thing to consider before purchasing a cello is what size you’re looking for. Unlike the best music stands, which can be adjusted, the cello’s neck cannot be adjusted and is built in a series of different sizes. The most common adult sizes for cellos are ¾ and 4/4, though cellos for kids can be found in 1/10, 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 scale sizes. A larger, bass cello will still be tuned to the same notes as a cello for kids.
Equally important to the cello itself is the cello’s bow, which also needs to be maintained properly to both maximize the bow’s lifespan and produce the most harmonic sound possible from the strings.
Acoustic cellos vs. electric cellos
While many gloss over the option, electric cellos are a good alternative to the traditional acoustic cello. They are best suited for quiet environments, recording into an audio interface or experimentation with pedals. Most electric cellos include a simplified carbon fiber or other non-wood design, with an ebony neck and a horsehair bow like acoustic cellos. Instead of producing loud, acoustic noise generated from the cello’s body, electric cellos use a ¼ inch cable input to send a signal to headphones and amps.
What to look for in a quality cello
Acoustic cellos made of spruce, maple and even poplar usually make for good cello bodies, though buyers should avoid cheap laminate cello builds. In contrast, most electric cellos are made from some kind of metal material with wood components and an ebony fingerboard, which is often constructed from lightweight carbon fiber.
The brand of a cello can also help users determine which cellos may be a safe bet. By going with known brand names like Yamaha, Cecilio, Eastar and Stentor, users can avoid getting lower-quality products that will break in the long run.
It’s common for cellos to come in bundles that include things like cases, stands, strings, and other helpful accessories that can make it easier to use your cello straight out of the package. While some come with soft, gig-bag-like cases, other cellos may also include hard cases, which are a more protective option for long-term use.
How much you can expect to spend on a cello
Cellos have a wide range of prices, but, in general, buyers can find cheap cellos ranging from $300-$500, while mid-tier cellos usually cost between $1,000-$2,000.
Are cellos plucked?
A. While some songs may call for a plucked cello, most traditional cello playing is done with a horsehair bow coated with rosin to create sound-producing vibrations.
Do cellos have frets?
A. Unlike some stringed instruments, such as guitars, banjos and ukuleles, cellos do not include frets. However, you can find cellos with harmonic fingering inlays, which can help beginners get the hang of where to place their fingers on the fingerboard.
What’s the best cello to buy?
What you need to know: A full-sized, hand-carved Conservatoire cello that offers a comfortable ebony fingerboard.
What you’ll love: At about 22 pounds, this hand-carved cello is finished with a long-lasting varnish, and it includes an ebony fingerboard that’s suitable for beginners or experts alike. This particular bundle also comes with a classic wood horsehair bow, strings and a hard case with carrying straps. There’s also a sturdy alloy tailpiece that can be adjusted to the user’s preferred height.
What you should consider: Some users complained that the cello did not arrive with strings already installed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top cello for the money
What you need to know: A 4/4 cello that’s perfect for those just starting out or are on a budget.
What you’ll love: This affordable cello includes useful fretboard markings for those learning the instrument and an adjustable tailpiece like most cellos. Along with the cello itself, this bundle also includes a cello stand, strings and a horsehair bow with three packs of rosin, as well as a 6 month warranty for issues.
What you should consider: While the cello arrived with strings on, buyers had to place the bridge by themselves upon arrival.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: An electric cello that offers an authentic cello-playing experience.
What you’ll love: Since it isn’t made from a wood body, this electric cello is quite a bit lighter than most acoustic cello. It can be played quietly through headphones and still has an ebony fingerboard, pegs and an adjustable tailpiece like many cellos. In addition, the 1 year warranty against manufacturer’s defects offers buyers some extra peace of mind.
What you should consider: While it is suitable for certain live performances through a P.A. system, an amp or speakers, this wouldn’t work for use in an acoustic string band without the use of some sort of amp.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Zachary Visconti writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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