How to Find the Best Cello for Beginners

The cello can be a very difficult instrument to learn, especially without the right gear. To help set yourself up for success, you should learn how to find the best cello for beginners.

Knowing that will help you know what to look for and what to avoid. Then, you’ll find your perfect cello, and you’ll be ready to play famous cello pieces in no time.

Finding The Best Cello For Beginners

Having the best instrument can make a huge difference when you learn how to play the cello. Luckily, there is a lot of overlap between shopping for the best cello in general and the best beginner model.

You should compare a few options before you settle on one to keep from choosing the wrong instrument. But as a beginner, you may not be able to test the cellos yourself, so you have to rely on other factors.

Here are some things you should think about to help select a good student-level cello.

Consider Your Size

First, you need to think about how tall you are and how long your arms are. Cellos come in multiple sizes, from 17.5 inches to over 30 inches long.

Those measurements equate to sizes as small as 1/10 and as big as 4/4 (or full size). If your cello isn’t the right size, you may need to stretch your fingers or squish them together to play.

A full-size cello is great for people at least five feet tall. But younger students may need a smaller instrument to help them learn the proper positions without unnecessary tension and strain.

Think About Your Goals

Another essential factor in choosing a beginner cello is your musical goals. As a beginner, you may not have any specific objectives, but if you do, use them to your advantage.

For example, maybe you know you want to study cello performance in college. In that case, you might choose to invest in a better-quality student instrument to help you prepare.

On the other hand, if you know you want to just play for fun, you can start with a simpler model. You can always upgrade later once you decide you need a better cello.

Research Models

Since you can’t test them yourself yet, you should research cello models and learn what others think of them. You can read product reviews on retailer websites to get a sense of how good a cello sounds.

To learn even more about a model, you can search for it and see if someone has conducted a detailed review. There are plenty of articles and videos that talk about specific cellos.

When searching for models, try to stick to student-level instruments. They’re usually going to be cheaper than other options, so you can make sure that you don’t waste your time learning about a cello you won’t want to play.

Prioritize Reputable Brands

As you search for some of the best beginner cellos, you’ll find models from tons of brands. However, some brands are much better than others.

If possible, focus your shopping on better quality brands, like Yamaha or Cremona. It can be hard to ignore the cheapest cellos on the market, but they’re cheap for a reason.

Odds are, you won’t get much use out of those low-priced cellos. They might work well for a while, but you won’t be able to improve very much before you need to spend more money on an upgrade.

Spending more money on a better student model can save you money overall. And it can save you from the frustration that may come with a cheaper model.

Determine Your Budget

While you do some preliminary cello research, take note of how much various models cost. List them out on a sheet of paper or in a note on your phone.

After you find some good models to compare, consider the different prices. Then, you will have a good idea of how much money you’ll need to set aside for your purchase.

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a beginner cello. But you should have some money ready so that you have access to more models.

Find A Cello Teacher

Even if you don’t plan on taking regular cello lessons, you should look for a teacher in your area. The teacher can help you search for a good student model that will work for you.

You can have the cello teacher play-test various models so that you can hear them. The teacher may also be able to tell you how easy or hard it is to get a sound on a particular instrument.

That way, you’ll know if a cello is worth it or not. And you don’t have to rely on digital recordings or other online resources to help choose the right cello. The teacher can demonstrate the instrument right in front of you.

Look At Used Cellos

When shopping for a cello, you may want to go for the flashiest, newest model you can find. However, that will easily get expensive, and you may not be able to get a good model if you only look at new cellos.

As long as the prior owner took good care of it, a used cello can be just as good as a new one. But since even the best-used cellos don’t hold their value, you can get a good deal on them.

That way, you can still obtain a model from a reputable brand and that will work for you. Just make sure you or a teacher can test the cello first to make sure the seller isn’t lying about the instrument’s condition and trying to rip you off.

Start By Renting

Another excellent way to save money on your beginner cello is to rent it. A lot of music stores, local and online, offer rental programs for new musicians.

Instead of paying for the cello upfront, you can make monthly rental payments to borrow it. That way, you can make sure you will want to stick with the cello before you spend a lot of money.

If you do decide to continue playing, a lot of rental programs have rent-to-own options. So you can apply your previous rental payments toward the cost of the instrument and make it yours.

Test The Feel

Even if you bring a cello teacher to a music store to test cellos for you, you should do some basic tests. You may not be able to play the instrument, but you should consider how it feels.

Find a chair where you can sit and place the cello between your legs. Consider how easy it is for your left hand to move up and down the fingerboard.

Test what it feels like to bow across the cello with your right hand. Then, you can make sure that the cello is the correct size for you.

Just Get Started

Choosing the perfect cello as a beginner matter but it’s not as important at this level as it is later on. You probably won’t play on the beginner instrument for years, so it just needs to work well for the short term.

As soon as you find a beginner cello that feels good, sounds good, and is within your budget, don’t be afraid to buy it. The sooner you get a cello, the sooner you’ll be able to start learning.

You can always shop around for intermediate or professional models after you’ve played for a while. Then, you can put more time into choosing your perfect cello.

Best Cellos For Beginners

When you’ve never played the cello before, you won’t know where to start your search. That’s why I found a few of the best beginner cellos available on the market.

I looked for cellos from brands with good reputations and at decent prices. And I made sure to find cellos that come in various sizes to help beginners of all ages.

Consider the following cello models when looking to learn the instrument.

Cremona SC-130

The Cremona SC-130 is an excellent option for new cello players. It uses spruce and maple for the body, while the fingerboard and fittings are ebony.

Cremona follows national music education standards, so this is a great choice for students in school orchestras. There’s oil on the neck to help it feel good, and the bow has a good balance to make playing easier.

You can choose from sizes as small as 1/4 and as large as 4/4 to get a good fit. Meanwhile, the strings have good spacing to help facilitate a good tone.


  • Easy to play
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Meets music education standards
  • Nice balance
  • Good tonewoods


  • The bridge may not fit properly

Cremona SC-165

If you need something a bit different, give the Cremona SC-165 a try. This cello uses maple and spruce as the tonewoods for the body, and there are also rosewood fittings and an ebony fingerboard.

The cello follows the same national music education standards as the 130, making this cello useful for young students. You can choose from a 1/4 or a 1/2 size, though it doesn’t come in full size.

Pegs and fine tuners make it easy to get the cello to play in tune. And playing the model isn’t too hard, so you can start making progress as a cellist.


  • Easy to play
  • Great for younger players
  • Good tonewoods
  • Fits education standards
  • Tuning is easy


Not for adults

Cremona SC-175

Another step above but still great for students, you’ll find the Cremona SC-175. Spruce and maple make up the body of the instrument, while the fingerboard and fittings use ebony.

This model has a lot of the same features as the other Cremona cellos. But this model also features strings with perlon cores and aluminum on the outside to help you get a good sound.

You’ll also receive a hard case to protect the cello in storage and transit. Unfortunately, the strings can make a buzzing sound, but it’s still worth considering for a beginner.


  • Comes in multiple sizes
  • Easy to play
  • Good materials
  • Comes with a case
  • Not too expensive


  • Some string issues

Cremona SC-200

Yet another Cremona cello to consider is the SC-200. This cello uses the same materials as the other models for the body and fittings, but it uses flamed maple to give the instrument a warmer sound and appearance.

The strings are the same as on the 175, so you can get a nice tone. And the string spacing helps you play specific strings without disturbing neighboring strings.

You can choose from sizes 1/4, 1/2, and 4/4, so it’s great for smaller players and taller adults. Plus, you can get a lot of use out of this model before you have to upgrade.


  • Easy to play
  • Great tonewoods
  • Decent sound
  • Variety of sizes
  • More advanced than some student models


  • Some problems with the bridge

D Z Strad 101

The D Z Strad 101 is an amazing beginner cello for a lot of new players. It has a spruce top with a maple back and sides and the fittings and fingerboard use ebony.

Those materials help you get a warm tone, so you can start playing the cello more easily. Plus, it comes with a good case, bow, and rosin, so you have what you need to play.

You can choose from sizes as small as 1/8 or as large as 4/4, making this cello suitable for all ages. While it’s not the cheapest cello, it’s still a good deal.


  • Easy to play
  • Comes in different sizes
  • Includes accessories
  • Good tonewoods
  • Nice design


  • Not the most affordable

D Z Strad 250

If you’ve wanted to play the cello for a while, you may want to try the D Z Strad 250. This model is a mix between student-level and intermediate-level, so it is a bit more costly than other models.

But it uses spruce, maple, and ebony, which can all help you get a good sound. D Z Strad makes this model by hand, so you can expect excellent quality.

It comes in 1/8, 1/4, and 4/4, making it great for all beginners. And you shouldn’t have to worry about needing to upgrade to a new cello for quite a while.


  • Great for serious students
  • Easy to play
  • Available in different sizes
  • Lasts a while
  • Nice tonewoods


  • A bit expensive

Yamaha AVC5

Yamaha is one of the best musical instrument brands. And the Yamaha AVC5 cello has the same quality as other models from the company.

This cello uses spruce and maple for the body, and there are rosewood fittings. Professionals adjust the cello before selling it so that it meets music education standards.

You can choose between sizes ranging from 1/4 to 4/4, so it’s great for children and adults. Unfortunately, it is on the more expensive side, but you can play the cello for a long time.


  • Easy to play
  • Good quality
  • Nice tonewoods
  • Comes in various sizes
  • Lasts a while


  • Expensive

FAQs About How To Find The Best Cello For Beginners

Question: Can a beginner play any cello?

Answer: A beginner may be able to play any cello, but some models will be easier to play than others. Beginner cellos use the right design and materials to offer a quick response.
Plus, they’re more affordable than professional and intermediate models. So unless you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars at the start, you should stick with a student-level instrument.

Question: How are beginner cellos different from advanced models?

Answer: Beginner cellos usually have more machine-made components than pro instruments. That makes it much more affordable to manufacture the cello, so the company can pass that savings to you with a lower price.
Student instruments may use the same materials and design as advanced models. But they may not have as many customizations, which can increase the cello’s cost.

Question: How much should you pay for a beginner cello?

Answer: You can expect to spend about $1,000 on a beginner cello. Some good models will cost less than that, while others will cost significantly more.
Be sure to look at as many beginner cellos as you can to learn how much you should budget for the purchase. Then, you’ll be able to afford the perfect beginner model for you.

Question: Are cheap beginner cellos worth it?

Answer: In general, the cheaper beginner cellos you find online aren’t worth it. They may last for a few months or even a year if you’re careful.
However, they can be almost impossible to repair when something breaks. And the repairs often cost more than the value of the cello, so you’re better off replacing it.

Question: Can you teach yourself the cello?

Answer: You can teach yourself the cello if you have the discipline to practice it each day. It also helps if you are interested in learning the instrument since that can help motivate you to start.
But you don’t need to learn without any resources. Be sure to check out articles and videos online to help you learn the basics of how to play the cello.

Question: Do you need to buy anything with your beginner cello?

Answer: A good beginner cello will come with what you need, including a bow and a case. However, some cellos may not come with rosin, which is crucial for helping your bow glide across the strings.
You may also want to purchase an extra set of strings in case a string breaks. And if you want to teach yourself, you should also get a good cello method book to help guide your studies.

Final Note On How To Find The Best Cello For Beginners

Knowing how to find the best cello for beginners can make a huge difference in your musical journey. If you get a good cello, you won’t have to struggle as much to get a good sound.

So be sure to try a range of models, like the Yamaha AVC5. That way, you can determine if the Yamaha cello is the right fit for you or if another model would be better.

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