If you or your little one are a cellist in the making, you’ll need a quality cello that offers good quality and durability to see you through your practice and progress.
Buying your first cello is an exciting yet daunting experience, one that calls for thorough research.
But don’t worry because we’ve carefully compiled this buying guide to tell you how to find the Best Student Cello for you.
Our Top Student Cello Reviews
Overall Best Student Cello: Cecilio 500 Solid Wood Cello
Cecilio makes some of the best hand-made student instruments on the market. The Cecilio CCO-500 Solid Wood Cello is one of the most popular and best-selling cellos on this list. In fact, it’s our overall favorite cello in this category.
Not only is it hand-carved from the finest wood, but it also comes with an essential cello starter kit.
With this ½ size Cecilio model, you get an extra set of strings, a padded soft case, rosin, bridge, cello stand, and a Brazilwood bow with genuine Mongolian horsehair.
All that for a much better price than most of its competitors in the same category. This cello can provide solid and consistent sound quality for any beginner.
What We Like:
- Crack-proof spruce top
- Flamed maple neck, back, and sides
- Ebony fingerboard and pegs
- Great tone and quality
- 4 Nickel-plated fine tuners
- Rich and melancholic sound
- Great for practicing and performing
- 1 Year warranty against manufacturing defects
Best for the Money: D Z Strad Cello Model 101 Student Cello
The D Z Strad Cello is on the more expensive side of the spectrum, however, it’s a great investment if you plan on playing the cello for years to come and want something to use as you progress to intermediate levels.
It’s made with beautiful wood and excellent craftsmanship which makes it durable and capable of producing fantastic sound quality.
Regardless of how long you use it for, the warm and round tone will stay consistent over time which is why this cello is highly recommended by the most prominent teachers out there.
What We Like:
- Sturdy Case
- Excellent and consistent sound quality
- Long-term durability
- Easy to play
- Suitable for beginner and intermediate levels alike
Best Cello for Beginners: D’Luca MC100 Student Cello
D’Luca has always been famous for producing good cellos at affordable prices for beginners. The D’Luca MC100 Student Cello has everything a student needs to start playing. It has a clean look and a sturdy, reliable structure.
The MC100 has a rosewood body with perfect fittings in all areas. It comes with maple a bridge and an adjustable endpin which together produce a clear and consistent sound.
What We Like:
- Portable cello stand
- Easy to play
- Well-polished look
- Great for beginner and intermediate levels
- Tall endpin that prevents scuffs
Best Budget Pick: Merano 4/4 Size Cello
The Merano 4/4 Size Cello comes with quite the comprehensive kit. In addition to the basic stand, case, strings, rosin, bow, and stand, it also has a carrying bag with wheels which makes it much easier to transport from one place to another.
Besides that, it comes with a tuner and a mute which is great for damping the high notes and making them more mellow. Additionally, the mute is a lifesaver if you’re rehearsing late at night and want to keep the noise down.
The cello has the much-beloved standard spruce top with maple back and sides. The tuning pegs and fingerboard are made of black hardwood tuning pegs while the tailpiece is a reliable metal alloy with four built-in fine-tuner pegs.
What We Like
- Two bow holders
- Two sets of string
- 600 denier nylon bag
- Easy to transport
Best for Intermediate Students: Cremona SC-165 Premier Student Cello Outfit
Cremona is well known for its renowned violins but what most people don’t know is that they make excellent cellos too.
The Cremona SC-165 Premier Student Cello Outfit, in particular, is one of their best models. It’s built to meet and exceed the standards set by renowned professional music instructors.
This Cremona SC-165 is hand-crafted from the finest spruce and maple out there.
The high-quality Brazilwood bow of this cello has a perfect balance which combines with the well-oiled neck to give the cellist maximum comfort and ease while playing.
The strings are precisely spaced, with specific height to guarantee excellent hand positioning, producing flawless warm tones which can be further enhanced by upgrading the strings.
What We Like:
- Easily tunable, lightweight tailpiece
- Swiss shaped pegs
- Good sound projection
- Easy to play
- Excellent height and spacing
- Deep and warm high-quality sound
Premium Pick: Paititi 4-String Acoustic Cello
This Paititi 4-String Acoustic Cello features a simple and sleek design for any beginner. Its back, sides, and neck are hand-crafted from reliable maple with classic inlaid purling and ebony pegs and fingerboard.
Thanks to its simple design, this cello is incredibly straightforward to play, allowing you to learn easily and conveniently.
What We Like
- Easy to play
- Simple design
- Classic feel
Student Cello Buying Guide
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a cello for your musical journey. The right cello should offer excellent craftsmanship, not just in durability but also in the quality and acoustics of sound it produces.
It’s never a one-size-fits-all situation. What’s right for you doesn’t necessarily have to be right for someone else, so here’s what you need to be looking for.
Cellos vary in sizes from 1/16 to 4/4.
Children aged 5-7 years old often learn on 1/4, while those between the ages of 7 and 11 practice on 1/2.
The 3/4 is common for those between the ages of 11 and 15 while the full size (4/4) is common for those who are 15 years or older.
Beginner students often play cellos somewhere between 1/8-1/2 while most adults usually play 3/4 or 4/4.
Bigger cellos produce a wider range of tones, making the player sound more mature.
Unlike violins, cellos are large instruments, so the player’s size must be taken into consideration. Just like with clothes, the best way to choose the right fit for you is to try the cello on.
To determine whether or not a cello is the right size, sit on the edge of the chair with your back straight and knees bent at a 90 degree angle, extend the endpin and place the body of the cello against the left side of your chest so that its firmly balanced between your knees, then check for the following:
- The upper edge of the cello is resting on your sternum
- The lower bout corner is touching your left knee
- The cello’s neck is a few inches away from your left shoulder
- The C string peg is close to your left ear
- The full length of the fingerboard is within comfortable reach
We strongly recommend having a cello expert help you make sure you find the best fit when you’re trying the cello on.
Keep in mind that cellos of the same size can produce different quality of sound depending on their strings, wood materials, and so on.
After settling on the cello’s size, you need to consider what kind of music you’ll be playing.
Different cellos produce different tones so it’s important to pick one that fits the style you’re interested in.
Many hit middle and high notes smoothly, while others deliver low notes with ease.
Some are light and bright in nature, while others have a more mellow and dark sound.
Whichever cello you choose, listen closely to the tone and timbre of each string and make sure the sound quality of the four strings is consistent.
You should also try out several different bows because the bow’s quality and weight can also affect the sound.
Build and Material
Quality materials are key. Good cellos are hand-carved out of maple or spruce and the pegs and fingerboards are typically made of ebony, maple, or rosewood. The material of the tailpiece can vary from plastic to wood or metal.
As for the build, the cello’s endpin should be adjustable. The soundpost and the nut should be properly positioned, and the bridge should be accurately cut to the right thickness and perfectly fitted to the belly of the cello.
You should always know the exact materials used in the making of your cello before purchasing it if you want to be able to practice on it for years.
Be sure to consult with a trusted expert who can differentiate between the quality of different materials. You see, sometimes cellos are manufactured from cheap or frail materials disguised as quality ones.
Fingerboards, for example, can be made of black-painted cheap wood to resemble ebony which can create unwanted friction, making it extremely difficult to play.
Handmade cellos can last a lifetime but to keep costs low while maintaining tone consistency, most student cellos are machine-made, making them more affordable.
New cellos usually come with a bow and case but there are a few extra accessories that you might want to consider buying.
Your cello will come with a bow and case but you need to make sure the case is a hard and sturdy one that allows you to safely transport and store your cello in.
Picking the perfect cello won’t matter if you don’t have the right bow to play it.
If you don’t like the sound of the original bow, try several other bows using different techniques to see how they respond and pick the one that sounds right to you.
Cello bows come in two different shapes: round and octagonal. When it comes to bow shape, there’s no right or wrong, all that matters is for the bow to feel balanced in your hand and produce a clear sound from your cello.
Remember, with the right bow, you would never feel like you’re forcing the sound from your instrument.
Rosin is another important accessory that’s applied to your bow and used to create the right amount of friction between your bow and strings to produce smooth tones. Without rosin, your cello wouldn’t produce any sound.
While cello strings aren’t as fragile as violins’, they do occasionally break. Keeping extra strings in your case is highly recommended. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
An endpin stopper is an optional accessory but it’s important because it can keep your cello from slipping. A music stand is also a necessary addition to support your music sheet as you practice.
By now you should have the basic knowledge you need to choose the right cello to start your journey into the cello world.
What an exciting experience!
Given the great value you get for your money, the Cecilio CCO-500 Solid Wood Cello gets our highest vote for a beginner cello.
Its crack-proof, spruce top means you don’t have to worry anytime soon about any damages, so you can practice as much as you need for as long as you want.
But please remember, the best student cello is the one that meets your individual needs! If it doesn’t sound right or feel comfortable, don’t buy it.
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