In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: March 25, 2021
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Buying a cello can be a daunting decision, particularly because there are so many elements to take into account. If you don’t have plenty of experience, you may not know the best cello brands, so you need to familiarize with them first. Our guide can help you find the best cello for your particular needs.
We found that the Cecilio 4/4 CECO-1BK is the best cello on the market today, because it is a modern, electric reimagining of a true classic. We liked that it comes with everything you need to get started immediately and that it has a sound that leaves nothing to be desired. We also looked at eight other popular cellos, all with their advantages for different types of players so you can make the right choice.
For our reviews, we considered the most important features that you should look at when shopping for a cello, including type, materials, size, strings, and more. All of these are essentials factors to have a close look at before making a purchase. We spent weeks reading all about cellos and consulting reviews from those who tested them. The results of our research are in the comparison table below, which outlines the best cellos for different categories. In-depth reviews are available as well, together with a buying guide that offers you everything you need to know to make an informed choice and buy the best cello for your level.
We selected the Cecilio 4/4 CECO-1BK as our editor’s choice because it is a 4/4 size instrument that sounds fantastic while also being suitable for beginners. With a body made from hand carved maple wood, this is also a stylish instrument that makes for a solid experience without breaking the bank. This is an electric cello, and it offers a lot of value for money, even though you might trade-off some of the durability and quality of construction for the possibility of owning an electric cello with such a low-price tag.
Despite being rather affordable, the Cecilio 4/4 CECO-1BK sounds fantastic and many of the reviewers who bought this cello as a transition model from an acoustic cello found the transition very smooth. The electric components of this instrument mean that you can play the cello in standalone more at a reduced volume, or boost your sound with the help of an amplifier.
This electric cello has four detachable fine tuners around an inlay made from mother of pearl, all complete with pegs and a tailpiece construction. You can also purchase the Cecilio 4/4 CECO-1BK with the bridge installed. We found the body and the neck to be very sturdy. It comes with a one-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects and a 9V alkaline battery is included so you can start playing right away. The cello comes complete with a well-padded lightweight soft-case, headphones, a bow, and an aux cable.
We believe the Lykos Acoustic Cello is the best cello for beginners available out there. Not only does it come at a good price, but it also offers high-quality strings and sound, two things that are often difficult to find in cellos built with beginners in mind. This is a full-sized cello with the fingerboard and pegs made from bony, and the body made from high-quality basswood.
The Lykos Acoustic Cello comes with everything you need to get started right away, including a carrying bag, bow, and rosin. It is also available in three different colors so you can easily choose the one that best suits your style. While this cello makes an excellent choice for practice, it does not offer the best results when it comes to performances, so that’s a thing to keep in mind if you decide to purchase it.
This cello is a full-sized one and many of the users who tested it mentioned that it is a very good choice for a first-string instrument for children, but also for anyone who wants to become an instrument, regardless of age. Some of them mentioned that the bow is not the best of quality, but it is also very easily replaced. The overall look of the cello received a lot of praise, which is due to the fact that the wood finish is polished and shiny. The tone of the instrument is high quality and is not only a good choice for beginners, but also for those who already have a couple of years of practice behind.
Manufactured by a brand-new company, the Leeche Handmade Professional Solid Wood Electric Cello is an electric model that features a 2.4 inches deep plywood body, every fingerboard and fittings, a maple neck, and an aluminum alloy tailpiece. It comes equipped with the German pickup system that is high-sensitivity and offers high fidelity sound. The patented coloring technology makes this cello beautiful. The instrument is available in multiple color choices to suit your preferences.
We like that this channel features multi-level dynamic noise reduction and it comes with advanced tuners for tone and volume. This is a suitable instrument for cellists of all levels, and it comes with the added advantage of allowing you to practice in confidence without disturbing people around you.
When you purchase the Leeche Handmade Professional Solid Wood Electric Cello you receive a bag, bow, cable, as well as an extra bridge and set of strings. The cello doesn’t come with the battery, so you will need to purchase that separately. A one-year warranty against manufacturers defect is available, and according to the vast majority of the users who tested this instrument, the build quality is excellent and it looks like it’s going to be durable enough to last for the years to come.
The Stentor 1102 Student I Series Cello Outfit is one of the best instruments around for musical students, and is often the instrument of choice for many education establishments and teachers. This is an instrument that combines quality and consistency in a single body and is made by Stentor, a manufacturer with a history of over a century in creating good sounding instruments that have earned the trust of users around the world.
This instrument is hand carved from carefully selected tone woods and comes with a tailpiece with integral adjusters, ebonies fittings, as well as a padded bag and a wood bow. What we like about the Stentor 1102 Student I Series Cello Outfit is the fact that it comes set up a standard with fitted strings, but you can also choose to enhance the sound of your instrument further by installing superior strings available from the manufacturer or even choose your own.
The Stentor 1102 Student I Series Cello Outfit is available in multiple sizes and is a classic acoustic instrument that provides you with reliable performance and is easy to transport and store thanks to the included carrying bag. Many of the users who tested and reviewed it were impressed with the quality of the materials used to create this instrument as well as the rich, deep sound that you can obtain when playing it.
Designed with performance in mind, the NS Design NXT4ACOSB features a body made from solid grain maple and a maple face completed by an ebony fingerboard. According to most users, this cello provides tones that are beautifully rich and balanced. This instrument is manufactured in the Czech Republic and comes complete with a padded gig bag for easy storage and transportation, as well as a tripod stand that can give you multiple choices when it comes to your setup.
The NS Design NXT4ACOSB is an electric instrument that comes with NXT Active output circuitry. This means that it is fully compatible with just about any amplifier or sound system and you can use it in confidence without having to worry about losing fidelity. The asymmetrical fingerboard relief makes this instrument very easy to play from the lowest to the highest positions. It is a suitable choice for both cellists who prefer to stand or sit while they play, and because it is very lightweight at only 4.2 pounds, it makes a suitable option for children and adults alike. Moreover, this is a very packable cello that is easy to transport, so that’s something to keep in mind if you are looking for an instrument that doesn’t require much effort when it comes to taking it to practice. The NS Design NXT4ACOSB comes complete with a set of strings, but you can use your own just as well.
Cremona is a company that is well known for creating high-quality beginner instruments at affordable prices. This is one of the best cello brands for beginners, and while all of the parts used in creating the instruments are made in China, the cellos are assembled in California. The Cremona SC-100 is no exception to the rule and it features solid hand carved tone woods that are capable of delivering the best quality sound. This is a lightweight cello at only 6.85 pounds, which makes it a suitable choice for students who need to take it to practice regularly.
The Cremona SC-100 has an oiled neck that makes it needed to play even if you are a beginner, and the ease of use is enhanced by the well-balanced bow. Users who tested and reviewed this cello mentioned that it is indeed one of the best options available out there for students who want to pick up their first stringed instrument and don’t want to have to deal with tuning their cello regularly. Because of its size and weight, this instrument is a suitable choice for children and provides good results even for ages 5 to 8. It’s a good choice for anybody looking for an entry-level cello that comes all setup and ready to play and that is easy on the fingers.
An electric cello with ebony fittings, the Cecilio 4/4 CECO-4DW comes complete with a well-padded lightweight soft case, headphones, a bow and rosin, so you can get started right away. This electric cello is a suitable choice for those who want to practice as intermediate and advanced students, but also for those who are performing on stage or recording in a studio.
We like that this instrument provides cellists with the ability to practice as long as they want without disturbing others. Because it comes fitted with a 1/8″ output jack, this cello can be connected to just about any PA system or guitar amp. It also features a headphone jack for practice together with a line-in Jack that allows you to practice with a background track.
The strings and bow often have an impact on the sound of an electric cello, and the good news is that the Cecilio 4/4 CECO-4DW has high-quality parts that allow you to obtain a quality of sound that is comparable to that you can obtain with instruments twice the price. Because of its dimensions and weight this cello can be used anywhere, which can be highly beneficial for cellists, because they don’t have to remain chained to their chairs as it might happen with traditional models. The Cecilio 4/4 CECO-4DW has a one-year warranty and comes complete with a 9V alkaline battery so you can get started right away.
Manufactured by renowned instrument producer Stagg, this cello is one of the best choices out there for those who are looking for a high-quality musical instrument that they can fit in a tight space. Cellos are often bulky and cause trouble to players who don’t have the room to accommodate a traditional model. With the Stagg ECL 4/4 BK Electric Cello, you don’t have to worry about that, as the instrument is compact enough to fit in any space.
The Stagg ECL 4/4 BK Electric Cello is also an excellent option for those who are looking for a cello that they can play on a professional level. Sporting a solid maple construction and volume and bass controls, this cello has metal tuning pegs and a solid maple construction that makes it a durable instrument that you are bound to practice on for the years to come. It includes a bow and comes with an active preamp with under saddle pickup.
Users who reviewed the Stagg ECL 4/4 BK Electric Cello appreciated the smooth sounds this electric cello is capable of delivering and the fact that is very quiet when it’s not plugged into an amp. Tuning the instrument is easy and the gig bag that’s included makes it easy to store and transport the instrument. A lifetime warranty brings you all the peace of mind you might want from such an instrument.
Our budget choice, the Crescent 4/4 Beginner Cello Starter Kit, is one of the most affordable kits available on the market, and it comes with everything you might need to get started, including a bow, rosin, bag, stand, and strings. While the build quality is not excellent, this cello does a good job when it comes to sound. Many reviews mentioned that the sound you can get with this instrument is similar to that of more expensive cellos.
The Crescent 4/4 Beginner Cello Starter Kit does not use real ebony, which is reflected in the price, and instead has a spruce top, and a back, sides, and neck made from maple. Only the fingerboard and pegs are made from ebony. The cello is a good option for users who want to take up a string instrument from scratch, but doesn’t perform well for intermediate and advanced users.
Some users found it rather difficult to keep it in tune, but still, it’s a decent instrument for those who want to learn the basics of playing cello without bowing a hole in the pocket. The Crescent 4/4 Beginner Cello Starter Kit has a 30-day return period, which means that you can change your mind should it not perform as expected.
What we liked:
Complete kit with carrying bag
What could be better:
Tuning is difficult
Low-quality overall build
Things to Consider
If you have always wanted to learn how to play the cello, you’ll need an instrument that does a good job at providing quality sound while also being easy to use. Cellos are string instruments that produce wonderful music, thus being the instrument of choice for children and adults alike. Whether you are interested in an acoustic or electric cello, it’s essential to do a proper research before parting with your money. Below is a buying guide that contains all the information you need to make a solid choice.
How to pick the best cello?
Buying a cello can indeed be an intimidating process, and many see this hobby as an expensive one. But because cellos come in a wide variety of models, types, and price ranges, this isn’t necessarily true.
To pick the best cello, you need to start with a budget. Low-priced models may often be enough for those who have never played this kind of instrument and are not quite sure they are going to stick with it. Average-priced cellos, such as Crescent 4/4 Beginner Cello Starter Kit, are a suitable choice for those who are serious about playing, while high-end models should only be purchased by performers, professionals, and experienced players.
When shopping for a cello, you need to look closely at the materials it is made from. Quality cellos are hand-carved out of maple and spruce, and they are also glued together properly. These are two factors that are essential for the quality of sound. Fingerboards and pegs should be made from rosewood or ebony, and the overall build-quality is essential. Next, you’ll need to make sure you are picking a cello in the right size. Don’t forget to pay attention to the accessories your new instrument comes with.
Cellos are made in multiple sizes and the most common of them are 4/4 (full size), 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 sizes. The full-sized cello is often a good choice for adults, even though many beginners prefer to start with a smaller instrument so they can handle it easier while they learn.
When choosing the size of the cello, you should take into account multiple factors, including the height of the player and the distance between the left hand’s tip of the index finger and that of the pinky. Another measurement to consider is the distance from the shoulder to the tip of the middle finger of the left hand. If you don’t have all these measurements, you can also use the age of the child you’re buying the instrument for. Kids ages 5 to 7 would do well with a 1/4 cello, those between the ages 7 to 11 can pay a 1/2 cello, while 3/4 cellos work well for kids aged 11 to 15. Children over 15 and adults can play on a full-sized cello.
The quality of the materials a cello is made from impacts both its price and the sound you can obtain when you play it. The top part of the instrument should be made from spruce wood and the sides, back, and neck should be from maple wood. The fingerboards and pegs are generally made from ebony, even in lower priced models. Our editor’s choice, the Cecilio 4/4 CECO-1BK, is made from a selection of hand carved maple wood and ebony for quality sound and a polished design.
Laminate cellos also exist, but they are best to be avoided if possible. They simply don’t have the ability to produce high-quality sound like their spruce or maple counterparts. To spot a cello made from laminate, look at the finish. If it appears to have layers instead of being made from a single piece, it’s most likely laminate.
Carbon fiber cellos are another good choice, but are not perfect for beginners looking to purchase their first instrument. They are an ideal choice for users who want to play in the outdoors on a regular basis, because this type of material is not easily affected by humidity and changes and temperature.
Many traditional cellos are on the heavy side, weighing approximately 20 lbs. While they are a good choice for serious players, they may not work so well for children or adults who want a lightweight instrument to easily take to practice. Enter lightweight cellos such as the NS Design NXT4ACOSB, which weigh less than 5 lbs. for increased portability. These cellos are easy to pack and transport, and because they are compact, they make an ideal choice of an instrument for those who don’t have enough room in their home for a full-sized instrument.
Perhaps the most important accessory of a cello, the bow is often a separate purchase, but it may some together with the instrument as part of a kit as well. The quality of the bow is just as important as that of the cello, and a rule of thumb in the world of musicians says that its price tag should be between 20% to 25% of the total cost of the cello. While you may take this with a grain of salt, it’s still important to go for a high-quality bow to be able to obtain the best sound.
Most of the premium bows for cellos are made from wood, with Brazilwood being a very common choice among manufacturers. These bows are generally quite expensive, but you may also choose from synthetic models, such as those made from carbon fiber and fiberglass. No matter which type you choose, you need to make sure the bow feels balanced in your hand and allows you to play different techniques and styles.
Another vital element to consider for your cello are strings. Just like in the case of the bow, you should do your best to purchase high-quality strings, as they have a significant impact on the quality of the sound. Some of the most popular brands of strings for cellos are Larsen, Evah Pirazzi, and Thomastik-Infeld. Many professional cello players use a combination of brands depending on the type of string they require at a given time. Strings need to be replaced on a regular basis, somewhere between six months to a year if you play every day.
A quality rosin can completely change the way your cello sounds, just like a poorly made one can ruin the sound. The Rosin is a resin that makes the hairs of your bow sticky, which is essential to create friction for the strings to vibrate. Different types of rosins exist, with medium strength being a very popular choice that allows players to get a deep sound. If you ever find that the sound your cello makes is too week, the rosin is most probably the culprit.
Carrying cases are a good thing to have around because they allow you to store and transport your instrument while protecting it from scratches and other damage. A padded bag usually has enough room for various accessories as well, such as extra strings, for example.
Many of the cellos we reviewed come with a bow and case, but there are plenty of other accessories that you may need for your instrument. These include a cello stand so you can play more comfortable, a tuner to keep your instrument in tune easily, and music books or sheet music. Many cellos are available in a selection of colors, so you can get the one that suits your personality best, like it is offered by Lykos Acoustic Cello. Other features you might want to look into are shoulder straps, which can make playing a lot more comfortable.
Acoustic cello vs. electric cello
The debate between acoustic and electric cellos is an old and long one, but the main difference between the two types is the kind of music you are interested in playing.
Acoustic cellos are the standard when it comes to classical/orchestral music, but they work just as well in modern music. Electric cellos, on the other hand, are considerably cheaper and less likely to get damaged because they are easier to get around. They are less responsive than acoustic models, though they are the best choice if you want to work with amplifiers.
Cellos are instruments that come in a wide range of prices, with acoustic models going for $2,000 to $5,000. Lower priced models are available for those who want to learn to play the cello without breaking the bank. New players can choose from models that cost a couple of hundred dollars, which deliver deep sounds and have a high-quality build. Kits are also available, and many of the models we reviewed come with all the accessories you might need to get started, offering good value for money.
An electric cello can deliver sound that is similar to that of an acoustic model, but professional musicians generally prefer acoustic models. Electric cellos offer unique sound qualities and deliver a strong signal, while also being able to get a classic cello tone that you would expect to find in an acoustic cello. If you are a beginner, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference when it comes to the richness of the sound and tone.
This depends from one model to another, but generally, yes, the cello is already set up before shipping. All you need to do is tune it and start learning, as the strings are already in place for most of the models we reviewed.
Just like in the case of any other strings instrument, learning how to tune it properly is an essential skill to master. Cellos have four strings that are tuned to fifths, just like violins. You can use an online cello tuner guide to make sure you tune up your cello correctly. Electronic cello tuners are also available so you can easily match the strings to the corresponding note.
The best cello currently available on the market is the Cecilio 4/4 CECO-1BK, which made it right to the top as our Editor’s choice. This is a high-quality cello with fantastic sound and an overall solid build that is bound to provide you with years of enjoyment. A second close is the Lykos Acoustic Cello, the best cello for beginners, which offers high-quality strings and sound and is available in multiple color choices. This cello comes with everything you need to get started right away, so you can get a proper introduction to the world of string instruments. Finally, those who are looking for the best electric cello might find the Leeche Handmade Professional Solid Wood Electric Cello an excellent choice, as it offers high fidelity sound in a high-quality plywood body. When shopping for your next cello, make sure you choose one that is appropriate for your level.