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 07, 2022
Prime Sound is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Since the acoustic guitar was converted to an electric guitar, other instruments have actually been pretty slow to catch up. Nowadays, a lot of orchestral instruments are coming out in electric versions and in this article we’re looking at the best electric cello models for your needs.
The very best model is the Leeche Handmade Professional Solid Wood Electric Cello. It has great wood quality and is built to be robust, but also features “Shadow” advanced pickup system to help you to amplify the sound. It is a reliable and wonderful sounding instrument which meets all the criteria, meaning we’ve put it at the top of our list of 10 cellos. You can check these out in more detail below. Whether you’re looking for the best electric cello for beginners or you’re a true professional, the model we’ve reviewed are suitable for all kinds of needs and we’ve even nominated the strengths of the individual cellos.
So, what are some of the criteria we’ve considered when looking at the strengths of the cellos? Features include the size of the cello (is it full-sized or smaller for a beginner or young player?) The material is also important and the tonewood used to make the cello. We’ve also looked at things like the weight as it should be portable. Also, the warranty the manufacturers offer has been looked at in all of our cello reviews. Our reviews are presented as an overview table with nominations, full reviews and then a buying guide to help you to better understand the features needed when buying an electric cello.
"This model has some very cool features and functions and even comes with a reverb built-in so you can add some effects when playing, plus 5-year warranty makes it definitely the best Yamaha electric cello."
"This model is sold as a set, it comes with everything you could need to get started playing and it is perfect solution for those who don’t know all the accessories they need with their electric cello."
The Leeche Handmade Professional Solid Wood Electric Cello is a very well manufactured product with a high fidelity sound and a high sensitivity to the nuance of playing your cello. It is suitable for both professionals and beginners.
The “Shadow” pickup system is great quality and is designed to have no electronic noise. It rivals the very high quality of the Yamaha pickups that many of the top Cellos use.
This model is also good value for money, and has a smart look with solid plywood. It’s easy to set up and connect to PA systems or even headphones to listen to your playing and practice in silence.
Another plus point is the look of this electric cello. It’s beautiful, and the wood is even available with multiple different finishes and colors so you can choose the look you want.
The Cecilio CECO-1BK has been named the best option for beginners, and with good reason. It has a lot to like, and though the sound is certainly professional enough for more experienced players, the fact that this model comes with lots of different accessories makes it a very good choice for those just getting started. This is the best electric cello for self-taught beginners and buying everything as a package is a plus point.
The black metallic finish is fantastic looking and the cello is made out of hand-carved maple, which is a very high quality wood. The ebony fingerboard also feels great, and there are detachable tuners.
It does need a 9V battery to work, but this comes included with the cello.
Loads of accessories come with this including an aux cable, a case, a bow, rosin, even headphones for listening back.
The NS Design NXT4ACOSB definitely deserves its place on our list, and it looks absolutely fantastic. The design is innovative and absolutely tiny. This instrument is as tiny as possible, and this gives a huge level of freedom on stage, allowing the cellist to move about with ease.
This cello is not cheap. It’s designed for the more professional end of the market, but it has some great features to justify the price tag. The NS pickup system has a fantastic tone and picks up all frequencies brilliantly.
It is a hand-made instrument made in the Czech Republic and it does come with accessories including a tripod style sound and even a gig bag.
The circuitry and wood are both fantastic and reliable, with minimal unwanted noise.
Why is it special?
Clever design and very small and portable.
Brilliantly made with high-quality components.
What are the flaws?
No specified warranty offered by the manufacturer.
Whenever there is a list of the top instruments in almost any category, there is almost bound to be a Yamaha product on the list. The Yamaha Silent Series SVC-110SK Electric Cello is typical of the quality we’ve come to expect from the brand, and it is a reliable and well-made cello with a lot for beginners and pros alike.
The product has some very cool features and functions and even comes with a reverb built-in so you can add some effects when playing.
The five-year warranty is absolutely excellent, and not many instrument manufacturers are able to offer this. It’s not the most professional cello you’ll ever see but it is so robust and built to last for many years of use.
This has multiple outputs for both headphones and PA systems. It does need batteries to generate sound but this isn’t a huge problem.
This is further proof that Yamaha pretty much always have a good instrument in any category.
The Cecilio is a little bit different to some of the other options on this list. It is sold as a set, so rather than just the instrument itself, it comes with everything you could need to get started playing. The brand may not be as well known as some of the others, but this product is still good enough to make our list. Also, for those who are a little lost and don’t know all the accessories they need with their electric cello, this could be a very good solution.
The cello is made out of maple, and has a high quality design with an anti-deformation technology to keep it smooth and avoid unwanted noise. The resonance is full and the bass sounds are present where they sometimes go missing in cellos.
This comes with a tuner, bag, cleaning cloth, strings, rosin, bow and even an aux cable. It offers an ‘all in one’ solution. Though it isn’t quite up there with concert cellos in terms of sound, the quality is good enough for most beginners and casual players.
What makes it special?
Excellent accessories, everything you need to get started.
What cons did we find?
Sound quality not quite as good as some other models.
Stagg is a manufacturer of a lot of different instruments and though we have no ill feeling about the brand, it is fair to say that they operate on the cheap end of the market. This means the products are often affordable, and this is no different. The Stagg ECL 4/4 BK Electric Cello is well-made though. Just because it is affordable doesn’t mean it isn’t a good option, though.
Something we like about this cello is the active preamp which sits under the saddle. It’s good quality, but crucially it is active and this means you can use it with any headphones, and listen to the audio without having to worry about a preamp or any special headphone adapter.
It’s a very compact cello but it is well made out of maple. The cello comes with some accessories, however, it should be said that the bow included is not the best quality. If you want to get the most out of this instrument then you might need to get a better bow.
Overall, a good instrument for the price.
Why are we impressed?
Excellent pickup which is active and can be listened to through headphones.
What negatives must you be aware of?
Not a very good bow, you will probably need to upgrade this.
The Yinfente Electric Acoustic Cello 4/4 is a fantastic, affordable cello that can provide a lot of functionality that both beginners and pros are looking for. It is full-sized, and has more of a traditional look than many of the other cellos on this list. This is partially due to the fact that it is an electric acoustic model. It can be used normally as an acoustic cello if you don’t want to hook it up to amplification.
The spruce and maple woods are good quality and matured for 10 years before being used on the cello. All of this makes for a very good quality cello with hand made fittings, too.
It comes with some accessories including cello strings, a bag, bow and rosin cake.
The sound quality is very good, and for the price tag, you’ll struggle to find many cellos that rival this model. However, it is an electric/acoustic cello. This means it comes with some pros and cons. If you want to use it purely through an amp with no ambient sound from the instrument, this won’t be possible.
Why did it make our list?
Can be played as an acoustic cello.
Good sound quality.
Well-built with hand made components.
What is not ideal about it?
Sound can’t be isolated like with a fully electric cello.
This is the top Cecilio model on the market and is available in multiple sizes. The excellent quality is owed partially to the hand carving and the brilliant maple wood that has been used, along with a mother of pearl inlay.
This is an affordable cello, and within the price tag you get some added extras including a soft case, rosin, headphones and an aux cable. You also get a bow to start you playing if you’re new to the instrument.
A fairly generous one-year warranty is included. This is normally the case with products made by this manufacturer.
This isn’t a perfect cello and some people have reported the paintwork coming off on their fingers. Also, the tuners may rattle. Though it isn’t 100% professional, to get an electric cello this much under $400 is a big selling point and has led many people to this instrument.
Cecilio offers is an economical range of electric cellos in which the main difference is the shape of each of the models. The electronic elements are the same in all of them, and the final decision, if you opt for this brand, depends on purely aesthetic tastes.
The Cecilio CECO-4BK is without a doubt one of the best from Cecilio’s range of electric cellos, thanks to its great quality/price ratio. You should also note that with this cellio, we are dealing with a cheap electric cello.
The use of D’Addario Helicore strings greatly improves the sound quality. It’s a great option for getting started in the world of electric cellos. Cecilio is quite a very popular manufacturer of instruments for students. The CECO-4BK is a prime example. Available for a low price, the novice player will get what they want, from a padded soft instance to bow, rosin, outlet, and cans.
The CECO-4BK is a tool with completely rounded edges. It is carved in maple wood by hand with a great quality finish. It features a fingerboard made of ebony, as well as tailpiece, pegs, with detachable tuners and inlays.
With a 9V alkaline battery, it features controls for the tone and volume, line and headphone outputs, and auxiliary input, and includes a 1-year warranty in case of manufacturing defects.
What are our favorite features?
Includes a 9V battery
Hand-carved from maple wood
Lightweight and well-padded
Inexpensive and great for beginners
What could be better?
The pegs are not gripping well
Things to Consider
Even if you are a seasoned musician, you may not know everything there is to know about the electric cello. It’s actually a relatively new instrument, in the scheme of things. If you have never played one before, it is especially important that you familiarize yourself with some of the terms associated with cellos. You need to understand what the features mean in order to make the right purchase for your own needs. What is best for a concert cellist may be different to what is best for a beginner. Our guide can talk you through the features and how you can choose the perfect cello.
How to pick the best electric cello?
How can you choose the best electric cello? What are the features you need to think about? We’ve summarized the top features below, discussing what they mean and why they are important when buying an electric cello. As we’ve said, electric cellos are quite an unusual instrument so some of the features are well worth researching before you make the final choice.
Some features are more important for certain users. Think carefully about whether you plan to use your instrument for performance, private practice or learning. Make your choice on features accordingly.
Most of the cellos on the list are full sized. The 4/4 size means that it is full-sized and usually 27.5-30 inches in total. This size is perfect for most adults, but sometimes a beginner cello is made in a different size, such as ½ or ¾ size. These are designed mainly for children or teenagers, people with smaller hands and arms who can’t play the full-sized cello as easily.
With an electric cello the rules aren’t quite as set in stone, but if you are used to playing full-sized, or you are a larger adult who needs fully sized instruments, go for a 4/4 size.
The materials of any instrument are very important. Though with an electric cello the tonewood isn’t as important as it would be with an acoustic cello, it is still key to the design. Just like with an electric guitar, it is vital that the wood and other materials are sturdy but also help with the tone.
Our editor’s choice, the Leeche Handmade Professional Solid Wood Electric Cello, is an example of a product using good materials. The wood is maple and ebony. These are sturdy tonewoods. This is combined with high quality electronic components which ensure there is minimal buzz or electrical noise.
Cheap and poor quality electronics could ruin the sound just as much as poor quality wood. There’s no point in getting a cello made out of the best wood in the world, but isn’t wired well and has low-quality electronics. This will cause electronic noise which could totally ruin the sound. This is why people pay extra for very good quality pickups!
The weight of the cellos can vary a huge amount. This is worth paying extra attention to if you are looking to buy a cello for portability. The lightweight design might be one of the key points you are hoping for in a cello, so if you then buy an electric cello that still feels big and bulky you might be disappointed.
The Yamaha Silent Series SVC-110SK Electric Cello weighs just 8 lbs, this is very lightweight for a cello so it is a good choice if you are looking for something that is flexible. Sometimes, the light weight is not just about taking your cello to band practice or lugging it around in your band’s van, it can be about moving around stage. Some cellists like the freedom to move while performing and not be stuck in one part of the stage.
Heavier electric cellos can weigh up to 20lbs or even more. This can be a bit more restrictive. Cellos are quite large instruments and this means they are bulkier and heavier than, say, a violin. Most people in the market for an electric cello want something flexible and light.
Naturally, you can’t play a cello without a bow. Electric cello bows are no different to those used on acoustic cellos, but if you are a beginner, you probably won’t have a bow. In fact, most of the cellos out there come with some form of bow. It can really let an electric cello down if the bow it comes with is low in quality. It can also mean you aren’t getting the full amount out of the cello.
Even the Cecilio CEVN-1W, our budget pick, comes with a bow, and this is actually pretty good quality with real Mongolian horse hair.
If you already have a bow then this may not be your number one priority, but for a beginner, it is worth getting a cello which has a bow with it.
The strings of an instrument tend to only ever be noticed if they are bad! The strings of your electric cello need to be good quality. They are the final step before the pickup, which takes the sound and amplifies it to the desired level. Strings need to be hard-wearing, but they should also add something to the sound.
The Cecilio CECO-4BK is an example of an electric cello that is a bit let down by its strings. This isn’t terminal, though, the cello can be greatly improved if you replace the strings. You can either do this yourself (with some difficulty if you are a beginner) or you can take it to a store to have someone install new strings for you.
All of the cellos on the list come with strings already included. Some are better than others, but generally this shouldn’t be the main thing that drives your purchase. You will need to replace the cello strings eventually anyway once they break. There’s nothing wrong with just buying some extra strings to install as a bit of an upgrade if you need to.
Rosin is a form of resin that is applied to the hairs of a bow for electric cello (or any cello, for that matter). These can change the friction and the tone, and help to aid the vibrations to give a clear sound. Rosin comes in different darknesses, and a light rosin is usually suited to violins, however, cellos usually use a darker rosin. If you play in cold or dry areas you will find rosin especially helpful for keeping the instrument producing clear sound and vibrations.
The rosin is included as a cake or rock. This is then used to slip along the hairs of the bow. It’s another feature that is a nice bonus. If your cello comes with rosin then it is certainly not a bad thing. However, it isn’t a deal breaker if it does not. You can buy rosin separately.
A carrying case is a vital piece of kit. it may not be the most glamorous equipment a musician owns, but it is one of the most important pieces of gear. A lot of the electric cellos on the market are sold with carrying cases. These make them easier to transport from place to place, but the most vital feature of a carrying case is the protection it gives your cello. In truth, some cello cases are not worth bothering with. Don’t buy a $2000 cello with an amazing design such as the NS Design NXT4ACOSB, and then fail to protect it properly with a quality case. This is an investment you should definitely make.
Though soft cases can do the job, make sure they have plenty of padding. If you are worried about the cello getting knocked around a lot and being at risk of damage, you should buy a hard case to give the utmost in protection.
Naturally, the marketplace is getting more competitive, more and more brands are vying for your business, and one of the ways they try to stand out from the competition is to introduce extra features and choices you can make when you are buying your cello.
One of the extra features is a range of different colors. Loads of manufacturers are starting to give some extra choices when it comes to the colors on the cello.
Other features that are often included are stands (these make it easier to store your cello) and things like tuners. A tuner is essential. We all need to know how to tune our instruments, so you would have to buy one of these eventually.
A lot of the cellos also come with headphones. These aren’t always the best quality, but they’re a good addition. One of the key benefits of an electric cello is the fact that you can listen to what you are playing privately, and headphones will allow this.
Acoustic cello vs. electric cello
You might be wondering whether you should buy an acoustic cello or an electric cello. In an ideal world, you may eventually want to own both. However, if this isn’t possible, there’s a decision to be made.
Acoustic cello – Advantages
A more classical sound.
You can play anywhere with no need for amplification.
Acoustic cello – Disadvantages
A good acoustic cello costs a lot of money, much more than a good electric cello.
Not as easy to amplify or record your cello.
Electric cello – Advantages
Some of the budget options have a very good sound.
Can be used with effects pedals and loop pedals, and more.
You can listen in private so you don’t have to annoy others with your practicing.
You can turn it up loud to be heard among other instruments.
Electric cello – Disadvantages
Not quite the same classical sound, which is hard to replicate.
Needs power and an amplifier.
Sometimes needs a battery in order to work.
The price of an electric cello can vary hugely. The budget pick on our list is well under $200, this is a bargain price for an electric cello as they are usually more expensive. They go up to around $2000 on our list. Acoustic cellos can be much more pricey than this.
It is likely that you will have a budget in mind, we don’t all have an endless amount of money to spend on cellos! Much as we would love to splash out, it is worth being cautious and only spending what you can afford, and what you need to spend to get a good quality electric cello. An example of a product that doesn’t cost a huge amount but is a compromise between price and performance is the Yamaha Silent Series SVC-110SK Electric Cello. This isn’t the priciest model but it feels very professional. It isn’t at the cheap end of the market.
Though the original sound to come from the strings can’t be altered initially, the sound signal that it creates and that is delivered by the pickups can be altered. The Yamaha Silent Series SVC-110SK Electric Cello even has a reverb built-in. You can impact the sound in lots of different ways by adding effects and different amplification.
Cellos are tuned with the pegs that the strings are wound around. An electric cello is no different to an acoustic cello in this respect. A tuner is needed, this can automatically pick up the pitch of the string and tell you whether you need to tighten or loosen. There are some excellent YouTube videos that can talk you through the whole process of tuning a cello.
The Cecilio 4/4 CECO-1BK is a brilliant option if you need something with a lot of accessories. It has a 9.7/10 rating and comes with a case as well as many other accessories. It’s suitable for beginners as well as more experienced players.
The NS Design NXT4ACOSB has a rating of 9.6/10 and though it is more expensive it has an exceptional build quality and innovative, slimline design. The sound is fantastic and this is a very well built cello.