Which is the best cello? That’s the question we want to answer today. Let’s dive straight into the topic. The deeper the better? Then you have probably decided in favour of either the cello or the double bass when choosing your instrument. Our article today is about the smaller of the two instruments: the cello. The cello is smaller than the double bass, but it’s still not small. If you had to describe it, you would probably say that it looks like a «big violin» that is supported on the floor with a spike and held upright between the player’s knees.

In any case, the cello is an instrument that is particularly impressive due to its size and pitch, or rather «depth of tone», with its warm, soft sound, which is why many people prefer it to the shrill violin. I can’t really blame anyone for this decision.

best cello
Are you ready to buy your first cello and enjoy your first wonderful low humming notes? – So am I! – Shall we?…

The cello is also one of the most versatile instruments there is and can be found in pretty much all musical genres, whether classical, popular or jazz.

No wonder that you have also decided to play the cello and are now looking for your own instrument. To help you with your decision and selection, in the following article we provide an overview of all the important information and criteria that you should consider when buying a cello. We will also introduce you to five instruments that you should definitely get to know and take a look at. Let’s go!

The cello at a glance


Here you can read what you always wanted to know about the cello and what you should definitely know about the cello:

The cello has been a part of the music world since the 16th century and, like the violin and viola, belongs to the string instrument family, or more precisely to the so-called «viola da braccio» instrument group. In the past, the cello was also known as the bass violin or bass violin. The cello is a large string instrument in the tenor register that was created in northern Italy around 1535. At that time, however, the cello looked somewhat different from the modern instrument we know and play today.

The cello was initially very underestimated and, due to its low register, it only ever played the accompaniment to the melody in the orchestra. It was not until the classical period that the importance of the cello was gradually recognised and the cello was also used as a melody instrument.

The size of the cello has changed again and again over the course of time. From the 17th century onwards, the cello had its current dimensions, built by the famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari. The body of the cello is approximately twice as large as that of a violin, of course only if it is a 4/4 cello, i.e. a cello for adults. The cello is also available in smaller sizes and can therefore also be learnt by children.

In the past, the cello was held with the legs or hung around the neck while playing. It was not until around 1850 that the «spike», which we know from today’s cello, became widespread and the cello could now be placed on the floor.

Components and construction of the cello


Like the violin and viola, the cello is made by a violin maker. It is very similar to the violin. However, it takes about three times as long to make a cello as it does to make a violin.

The cello is made from different types of wood, including spruce and maple. The top and blocks are usually made of spruce and the back, sides, neck and pegbox are made of hardwood. The other components such as the fingerboard, pegs and tailpiece are usually made of ebony.

The cello has four strings and is tuned in fifths. The pitches and names of the strings are C-G-d-a. The basic tuning of the cello is a whole octave lower than that of the viola. The cello has an enormously wide range of tones, from a capital C to a three-note g. If you play harmonics, you can even reach pitches up to a four-stroke a.

Criteria and things to watch out for when choosing a cello


The following criteria should be considered when buying a cello. These include:

Sound


The sound is undoubtedly the most important of all criteria. A good instrument has a beautiful, warm and balanced sound. It is therefore particularly important to try out the cello and have it assessed by a professional/teacher.

Price


There are many different cellos in different price ranges. It is therefore advantageous to set a budget before buying an instrument.

Playability


Of course, the cello must also fit in the arms (and legs) of the player. Playing and trying out the instrument is an absolute must. Not every instrument harmonises with every player. An instrument can become your life partner, so you should definitely take your time when searching.

Quality


Instruments are made from different materials. The choice of these has a great influence on the sound and the overall package. The workmanship of these materials is also an important factor to consider. The better the quality, the more stable and durable the instrument will be.

Size


Cellos are available in different sizes, from 1/16 to 4/4. The right size depends on the size of the player. Adults normally need a 4/4 cello.

To help you, we have selected 4 instruments for you below that you can’t go wrong with when buying.

The Best Cello for Beginners | 4 Cellos Compared

Thomann Classic Celloset 4/4

This 4/4 cello from Thomann is a wonderful, inexpensive, «all inclusive» beginner’s model. It is an ideal instrument for beginners as it is delivered directly to your home with all kinds of accessories. This instrument is made ready to play in Germany by the renowned Thomann string workshop.

The top of the instrument is made of solid spruce wood. The back and sides are made of plywood and the neck of the cello is made of beautiful maple wood. As usual, fine ebony was used for the fingerboard and peg. The cello is fortunately equipped with fine-tuning tailpieces, making the process of daily tuning of the strings easier. The cello is an «all inclusive» offer, as the bag, bow and rosin are included in the purchase.

Despite its modest price, the sound of the instrument is quite impressive. Warm and dignified, this cello plays its way into the hearts of players and listeners. The response of the strings is clear and direct in all registers. Dynamic differences can also be reproduced on this cello without any problems. The bow supplied is not necessarily a masterpiece, but it fulfils its task. In principle, it is highly recommended to consider buying an individual bow after some playing time, but the bow included in the set is definitely sufficient for beginners.

The workmanship of the instrument is clean and flawless. You can tell that it has been in the hands of a Thomann employee before it was released for sale.

All in all, a great instrument for beginners. If you want to get even more out of the instrument, you can string the cello with other strings, for example. This will allow you to discover an even wider variety of sounds.

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Thomann Gothic Black Cello 4/4

If you prefer things a little fancy, modern and unusual, this Thomann Gothic Black Cello is the perfect choice.

It’s hard to believe at first glance, but the 4/4 cello from Thomann is made of wood. Its top, back and sides are made of laminated lime wood, the neck of maple and the fingerboard of hardwood. The cello is equipped with fine tuners and a height-adjustable spike. It is also strung with high-quality Jargar Classic Medium strings. This cello also comes with a bag, bow and rosin and is ready to play immediately after purchase.

For its price, the cello is a great instrument for beginners. Not only does it look great, it also sounds marvellous. Its response is good and easy. It is characterised by a full sound, which is not only due to the top stringing. The bow does its job, but if you want to get a little more out of the cello, then I can personally recommend looking for a higher quality bow.

All in all, a beautiful and modern beginner’s instrument with which you will have a lot of fun and enjoy learning the cello.

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Stentor SR1102 Cello Student I 4/4

Another cello «all inclusive»! The Stentor SR1102 leaves nothing to be desired: made from a solid spruce top and a solid maple body and equipped with dark hardwood pegs and a mala fingerboard and supplied with a carrying case and bow.

This cello can be seen and heard: its appearance and workmanship are impeccable and this instrument also conveys a wonderful feeling and a wonderfully balanced and clean sound when played. The strings respond well and are also very easy to tune.

Everything is just right with this cello! It scores with its excellent price-performance ratio. It’s best to see for yourself. For me, the best all-rounder.

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Stentor SR1108 Cello Student II 4/4

If you are looking for even more quality and a particularly high-quality instrument, the Stentor SR1108 is the perfect choice, as this cello goes one better in terms of sound and workmanship (and price).

It is also made from a solid spruce top and a solid maple body and its pegs and fingerboard are made from ebony. This cello also comes with a bag and bow and is ready to play immediately after delivery.

The sound of this cello is pleasantly warm and balanced. The response and quality are clean and pure. The resonance is great and fills the room with a beautiful and round reverberation. The materials used are also excellent.

Anyone looking for a cello that will accompany a long learning and playing process and give more pleasure is well advised to buy this instrument.

Let us now summarise everything once again and come to our final conclusion and our personal recommendation for you to buy.

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What are you waiting for?

The important thing is that the choice of the right cello depends on the individual needs of the player and, of course, on the available budget.

Basically, I can warmly recommend all four cellos presented here. All instruments are ideal for beginners, but the Stentor SR1108 is an instrument that I would personally buy if you are already an advanced player or are aiming to play the cello more intensively or want to perfect it. If you attach particular importance to the cool look of your cello and prefer it to be fancy and unusual, the Thomann Gothic Black Cello is the best choice.

A good tip when buying a cello is to seek advice from a cello teacher or a professional violin maker. They can help you find an instrument that best suits your needs.

Your own instincts should not be underestimated. When choosing a cello, it is important to listen to your own instincts, as the instrument will become your own voice when you make music and should reflect your own individual personality.

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