Best Beginner Cello Review – Top Rated Models in 2018 with Buying Guide
This guide will help you choose the best beginner cello for you. If you have no time on your hands, this short paragraph summarizes our thoughts and recommends some good beginner cellos. We did our research and after analyzing the quality and value of some of the most sought-after models, we came to the conclusion that the D Z Strad 101 is the one that you should be searching for. It offers a nicely handcrafted design, with an antique look. The carefully chosen wood helps it to offer some great sounds. To make it more durable, the sides and back are made of strong mahogany wood. If you, unfortunately, cannot find our first recommendation for sale anywhere, you should have a look at the D Z Strad 150.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
Finding a suitable cello for a learner is something that needs time. Fortunately for you, we have searched the market, read all the possible beginner cello reviews and experts’ opinion and we’ve seen what are the most popular products. After doing all of these we were capable of selecting some of the most desirable beginner cellos. Here they are.
D Z Strad 101
This is a good choice for those looking for a beginner cello with a deep tone. The great tone is provided by the quality craftsmanship this cello goes through. Written reviews of cellos for beginners praise it a lot and teachers recommend it. It’s an acoustic cello that showcases a beautifully handcrafted exterior design, with a dark, red gold lacquer finish.
It has a certain antique look and feeling and it’s available in sizes between ½ and ¾. It is thus a suitable instrument for kids and adult learners as well. Featuring a toned wood construction, this cello provides a pleasing and organic aspect.
The instrument comes with a Brazilwood bow bearing a Parisian Eye frog design. The hair used in making it is authentic white horsehair. A cello’s bow is a bit shorter than violin bows because it requires the player to hold the notes less, so make sure to pay attention to that aspect.
On the sides and back, one can find durable mahogany wood that offers remarkable sound capabilities. The strings are the only ones that might need to be upgraded.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1250)
D Z Strad 150
Although great for beginner players, this model is also very well suited for intermediate cellists. The value for money offered is something that is really surprising about this model. For those wondering if this cello is sturdy enough, if it can last so long that it can be passed down to generations, the short answer is yes.
Of course, once you learn to play it you might want to advance to another model, but this one is good enough to constantly produce quality sounds. It’s very durable, but it will suffer if you use it too harshly, of course.
Manufacturers say that this cello is 100% hand-carved and oil-varnished. To please those that want to start playing immediately, this instrument comes totally ready to play. The package includes a wonderful bow with a mother-of-pearl inlay and a ‘fleur-de-lis’-style design on the frog. A padded carrying case is also included to help you protect the cello.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($2400)
GRACE 4/4 Size Natural
If you’re looking for great value at a budget-friendly price, this cello is for you. It’s a full-size model that can be used by the adult students. It offers a classic spruce-and-maple wood combination, with the top being made of spruce and the neck, back, and sides of maple.
To make it more resistant, the fingerboard and the pegs are made of hardwood. The tailpiece is made of alloy and it has built-in tuners. The bow is particularly nice, with white horsehair and a frog made of hardwood. All of these make it pretty durable and offer it a good sound and tone.
If you are unfortunate and one of the strings snaps you can get one of the extra strings out and replace it. To protect the cellos the manufacturers offer padded cello cases, with plenty of cushioning inside of them.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($198)
D Z Strad 600
Made of specially selected maple wood featuring a pronounced flame and a tightly grained carved spruce top, this cello is handcrafted to achieve the most beautiful sounds. It is an instrument that is built by award-winning luthiers of the Violin Society of America. To give it a more antiqued and aged appearance, the crafters hand-rub the cello with oil varnish.
All the detail and work put into making this cello give it a warm and smooth sound and a round and even tone. The process of making such an instrument takes a lot of time as the tonewood is left to dry outside on a ventilated and covered area for 10 years.
Using old European practices, the wood is processed and the manufacturers ensure that it doesn’t expand or open. This whole process guarantees stability in the resulting instrument. Available in ½, ¾ and 4/4 sizes, this cello should offer every player a feeling of pleasure when used.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($5600)
Yearly Guide & Report
A cello is one of the warmest stringed instruments out there and cello players often have an attachment with their instrument. When you get your first cello, as a beginner, it’s valuable to feel special when playing it. That is why you should strive to choose the best one possible, and here are some tips on how to do that.
For each category of players, there are specific cellos that can be purchased. Many beginners start out with renting cellos until they know that they are passionate enough and they can afford to buy one. There are mainly three categories of cellos, based on the skill level of the player.
The first of them, the student ones, are for the beginners. They are made to help the learners to practice and work on the basics of playing, bowing, fingering and tone producing. This is why the fingerboard and the pegs are made of maple that is sometimes dyed black to resemble ebony. It’s a more sturdy type of wood and it does well in areas more exposed to friction.
Cellos made for students are affordable and mostly machine-made in order to keep the costs low, while they’re still good enough to maintain tone consistency. Intermediate to advanced cellos, on the other hand, are handcrafted.
The craftsmen that make cellos for advanced cellists put more effort in them and that is why they sound better, and they have a stronger and more dynamic projection. The pegs and fingerboard are made of quality ebony.
For professionals, crafters dedicate a lot more time and patience in making the cellos and only use the best wood. That is why such masterpieces have a very rich tone and dynamic and they aren’t accessible to everyone.
Test the cello before buying
Because cellos are not as popular as violins, you will find a smaller selection of them when you go to a music shop, or you might not find them at all. But you can always try to go to a violin shop and see what cellos they have to offer. There you can test the available ones and make an idea of how a good one should sound.
It’s generally wise not to buy one from the internet without knowing or hearing it before. Try to ask your friends if they have one that you like and ask them if you can hear it. Only after you have heard it you can know if the projection reaches far enough, if it’s comfortable and if it has the right resonance.
Features that affect the sound
The size of the cello is one feature that has a big impact on the volume of the sound coming out of it. Cellos can be found in a variety of sizes, from 1/16, the smallest to 4/4, the full-sized ones. Children and beginners play on instruments between ⅛ and ½ usually, and adults should use full-sized models or just a bit smaller.
The bigger the cello is, the fuller the tone is and that makes the cellist sound professional. However, if you are unable to feel comfortable while playing a big cello, you won’t manage to get the best sounds out of it. Certain aspects such as the size of the upper bout, the neck size, the height of the ribs and the scale length influence how well a cello feels in a player’s hands.
Because the sound of a cello is darker and mellower than other instruments, it’s important that in an orchestra the cellist should make sure that he or she can be heard and that is why the projection is a very important attribute of cellos. Make sure to use rosin on your bow to achieve that projection. Violin rosin is a good alternative if you can’t find cello rosin.
When testing a cello you need to listen to each string and ensure there is coherence and they all offer the same power. Having a C string that has a powerful sound is great, but the others should not be far away in terms of volume. Depending on what you want more, shorter cello strings are more comfortable to play on, but longer ones offer more power.
When testing each cello, if you have the possibility, try different bows. You should also attempt to play more varied passages and scales and use all the strings with or without vibrato. If you are unsure of how good or bad it sounds, ask a professional.
The wood used
The materials used in making the cello have a great impact on the sound of the instrument. Cheap cellos for beginners are made from wood from America or China and have a brighter sound than others. The more sought-after European woods produce a warmer and sweeter tone that makes the instrument sound more elegant.
A quality cello is one that has some intense and pleasant looking “flames” or “tiger stripes” on the back, sides, and scroll. A cello that has clear flames is more desirable and it showcases a better building quality. Cellos that are able to hide the center crease on the back are considered to be very beautiful and this feature is indicative of great craftsmanship.
An electric cello doesn’t require a great wood in its construction because the sound it produces relies on electronic amplification rather than acoustic. If you prefer electric instruments, have a look at some electric violins too. Electric violas are also available if you wish to have even more diversity in your instruments.
Frequently asked questions about cellos for beginners
What kind of cello should a beginner buy?
There are cellos made in factories that are built for beginners. The cello parts that will be most affected by friction are covered in maple, a strong wood, thus the instrument is made to last a bit longer. Beginners will benefit from this kind of cellos because they will be able to experiment and learn more about the instrument.
These cellos are quite affordable, but if you want to get to play at an intermediate level, you will need a handcrafted cello. Regardless of what you choose, the size is important and for adults taller than 5 feet, a full-sized cello is recommended.
How to tune a cello for beginners?
Similar to the violin, the cello has four strings and they all need to be tuned in perfect fifths. In order of thickness, from the least to the thickest, the strings are C, G, D, and A. Many students use a piano to tune their C string because it corresponds to two octaves below middle C on the piano.
However, beginners should use a digital tuner at first. Start tuning each string separately from C to A by slowly tightening the strings and looking on what the digital tuner displays. Don’t perfectly tune a string right from the start because that will cause uneven pressure on the bridge and you will affect the other strings.
How much does a beginner cello cost?
Cellos vary in price but in general, one suited for beginner use is between $200 and $2500. The ones found in the lower price range are almost like a toy instrument, they are made of plywood and they aren’t recommended at all. They might only be suitable for those kids that want to pretend to play the instrument and learn a bit.
For people that really want to learn, a cello that is around $2000 is more suitable. Although these kind of instruments aren’t entirely handcrafted, they can have parts made in an assembly line, with some craftsmanship involved in the process too.
What size cello for beginners is the most appropriate one?
Fortunately, cellos come in a lot of sizes and choosing the right one for you depends on how tall are you. A full-size cello is described as 4/4 and it’s suitable for most adults. A slightly smaller version is available, the 7/8 one. This one should be used by adults that are a bit below the average height.
The 3/4 size is mostly used by students that are between the ages of 11 and 15, while a 1/2 size should be used by children between 7 and 11. Between the ages of 5 and 7, a 1/4 cello is most suitable.