Deciding to buy your first cello is one of the most exciting things that a musician can go through, but it must be said that it can be stressful. There is just so much information available online and so many reviews that conflict with each other – which ones should you trust?
I’ve always found that the best way to get past this conundrum is to investigate the reviews and guides behind every cello you are interested in individually, just like this one for the Cecilio CCO 200.
I’d be surprised if you’ve never heard of this instrument – as a long-term cellist, I’ve seen this cello pop up in just about every scenario, from music school practice rooms to live concerts! It’s a huge favorite of students because of the way it is bundled with accessories, so I thought it was about time that I reviewed it.
I’ll be discussing the pros and cons of the instrument, its key features, and providing you with some alternatives too. Read on to find out my thoughts!
Bottom Line Up Front: The Cecilio CCO-200 is a solid step up from the classic Cecilio CCO-100, providing a slightly higher quality build and tonal quality whilst maintaining a pretty low price.
It’s still not exactly the highest quality beginner cello out there, but for the low price range, you get a lot for your money, especially considering the range of bundled accessories.
Cecilio CCO 200: The Pros and The Cons
- A very reasonable price considering the quality, making it a solid option for new cellists
- Comes bundled with everything you need to get started as a cellist
- Designed by Cecilio, a brand with a stellar reputation for producing great value for money beginner cellos
- Comes with a lengthy warranty and insurance options (depending on the retailer)
- An improvement over the CCO-100 due to coming with a metal tailpiece and sturdier tuning pegs
- Built in a factory, and therefore does not have the quality of a handcrafted instrument
- Cheap materials used with no ebony fingerboard or fittings
- Slightly more expensive than the CCO-200 with not much additional benefit
- For the price, it obviously will not sound as good as a $1,000+ cello
- Cecilio CCO 200 – An Overview
As I mentioned earlier, I’d be seriously surprised if you’ve never heard of Cecilio – they’re well known for producing excellent quality cellos, particularly for beginners, although they also build instruments for intermediate players.
However, their instrument range certainly focuses on providing accessible instruments at a good price, making it a classic brand choice for beginners.
Whilst the little sister cello CCO 100 is slightly cheaper, the CCO 200 is still one of the cheapest cellos that Cecilio produces, but trust me – that’s not a red flag.
It’s an ideal instrument for anyone unsure whether they will stick with the cello due to not playing it before, but still has an unsatisfied itch to give it ago. It may not be a mind-blowing instrument, but you can worry about they a year or two down the line when you’ve learned the instrument and are ready to upgrade!
Let’s take a look at exactly why the Cecilio CCO 200 is such a popular choice.
Key Features of the Cecilio CCO 200
To start this review and guide off, I think it makes sense to pick the Cecilio CCO 200 apart in terms of its key features. I’ve decided to break these down into quarters – we’ll be investigating the cost, quality, tonal qualities, and accessories. Read on to find out my take on each area!
Cost vs Quality
I mentioned earlier that the cost of this cello is significantly lower than most options on the market, and this might have given you a red flag. However, as I already mentioned, this is a cello designed for beginners and not for cello connoisseurs, and therefore I believe that it should be treated as such.
Sure, it’s true that more expensive cellos are generally of higher quality, but unless you’re made of money, that’s not really what you should be looking for right now
With all that said, don’t get the wrong impression that the Cecilio CCO 200 is of bad quality – it may be less high quality than super expensive cellos, but I’ve found that it is of very high quality in comparison to other beginner cellos of a similar price by different brands.
If you’re a seasoned cellist, it’s certainly not going to blow your mind, but did you expect that for the price? However, if you’ve never really interacted with the cello before outside of attending a few orchestral concerts, I bet you any money that you won’t even notice the difference in quality.
It’s one of those things that you learn to appreciate over years of practicing the instrument.
At the end of the day, this instrument is comfortable to hold, nice to look at and listen to considering the price, and has everything that you need to start learning an instrument. Get stuck into a cello like this, learn your way around it, and then you can worry about buying something fancier!
Amplification and Resonance
When I was talking about the compromise on quality that you make when you purchase a cheap cello such as the Cecilio CCO 200, I briefly touched upon the tone. I explained that more expensive cellos generally have higher tonal quality, meaning they will ultimately sound better in an orchestra than a cheaper one.
It’s undeniable that this is true, but it’s worth mentioning once again that you probably won’t even notice it if you are a new cellist. However, what you will notice are the resonance and the amplification. The resonance is literally how powerfully a string’s frequency resonates, and the amplification is how loudly it does so.
Thankfully, the CCO-200 packs a powerful punch in terms of both amplification and resonance, it’s quite surprising considering the price of the instrument.
There have been tons of times where I have heard this instrument being played in the street and I am expecting to walk around the corner to see a high-end instrument, only to find it is just a budget Cecilio!
This is just yet another reason that I love this brand – they somehow manage to charge a minimum price for their instruments, yet still provide some serious quality. I never would have imagined that such amplification and resonance would be possible for this price, but these days, anything is possible!
In a moment I’m going to be taking some time to explain to you about the different sizes that this instrument is available in, but before I do that, there’s one last thing I wanted to mention – accessories.
Much like any other instrument or hobby, there is a ton of accessories out there that you will want to consider purchasing if you are going to become a cellist.
I’m talking strings, a bow, rosin, a cello case, a stand… these are all essential things that you are going to need at one stage or another, and therefore the best cello brands always make sure that they include them in a beginners cello purchase.
This will raise the price of the cello overall, but trust me – it’s worth it to spend a little extra initially knowing that when your cello arrives, you’re going to have everything you need to get started.
This is yet another reason why Cecilio stands out to me – their beginner bundles or ‘outfits’, such as this Cecilio CCO 200, always come with everything you need to get started. Specifically, this instrument comes with a bow, two sets of strings (one pre-fitted to the instrument), rosin, a soft case, a cello stand, and a warranty.
There are a couple of last bits that you will still need to consider purchasing – if it’s your first musical instrument then you probably don’t have a tuner knocking around, and this will be essential.
At the end of the day though, it is great how many accessories come bundled with this instrument. I think it’s great that Cecilio does this – they know what a beginner needs, and they ensure that they have it. Now that is good customer service!
The three key areas that I have mentioned are always important to look out for when purchasing any new cello, but that’s not everything yet – perhaps the most important thing to consider is the size.
If you have learned an instrument before such as the guitar or violin, you will have encountered this conundrum before. Instruments come in a variety of different sizes to suit people of different ages and body types, and this will have a huge impact on how comfortable the instrument is to play.
This is particularly important for cellos – sure, you might be able to squeeze your hands around a slightly oversized violin, but cellos are huge and this makes size all the more important. If the cello is too large or too heavy, it may stop you from even being able to perform with it!
To combat this, cellos come in several key sizes, with the two most popular being 4/4 and ¾. 4/4 is considered to be a full-sized cello, whilst ¾ is the same but smaller by a couple of inches. However, as the fractions suggest, ½, ¼, and 1/8 cellos are significantly smaller and are designed for children.
Luckily, Cecilio is fully aware of the importance of having such a broad range of sizes and therefore ensures that instruments such as the Cecilio CCO-200 cover them. Unfortunately, size such as 1/8 and the rare 1/16 are pretty unpopular and therefore Cecilio do not stock them, but the CCO-200 is available in 4/4, ¾, ½, and ¼.
This ultimately means that it doesn’t matter whether you are 10 years old or 50 – the Cecilio CCO-200 is an equal opportunities cello and it should fit you just fine. Now, let’s investigate exactly how to work out which of these sizes will fit you!
Choosing the Right Size
I mentioned at the beginning of this guide that purchasing a new instrument can be a stressful process, and perhaps the main reason for this is the sizing.
I will always remember how I was pulling my hair out trying to work out how the sizing systems happened when I was first purchasing a cello, it was such a nightmare! Don’t worry though, because I’ve compiled my insights into the matter.
Firstly, many people are pressured into thinking that they should buy a 4/4 cello because it is “full-sized” and they can grow into it, but this is just nonsense. It’s bad advice to listen to as it will only result in you owning an oversized cello that you cannot play for years to come.
It’s much better to find a cello that fits you, especially when they come as cheap as the CCO 200. That way, you can simply buy a larger size in the future when you are ready!
So, how exactly are you supposed to work out which size to purchase? I have two words for you – music stores. That might seem a bit of an obvious thing to say, but many people do not realize that music stores have one of the most valuable resources out there, cello experts who are paid to help you find the perfect cello.
Simply find a music store that stocks cellos, locate a member of staff who knows what they are talking about, and spend some time with them trying out different sizes.
You should be aiming to find something that fits comfortably against your torso, with a fingerboard that you can navigate with relative ease. Whilst a new instrument will inevitably feel awkward and uncomfortable to a certain extent, it shouldn’t feel painful or impossible to use.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that your local music store stocks the CCO-200, but don’t worry – cello sizes are pretty universal, so ask for the closest thing that they have to the instrument, try it in different sizes, and this is what you will want to go for.
Trust me, you’ll regret not going through this process when your CCO 200 arrives in the post only to be two sizes too big or too small!
- Body: Spruce Top and Maple Back
- Neck: Maple Neck
- Tailpiece: Metal
- Color: Natural
- Weight: 0.45kg
- Dimensions: 55 x 14 x 23 Inches
- String Material Type: Alloy Steel
Alternatives to Consider
Now that we’ve covered just about everything there is to know about the CCO-200, I think it’s time to look at some alternatives. After all, this wouldn’t be a very fair review if we didn’t take a look at the competition! Read on to see my two top picks!
Cecilio CCO 100 or 500
Perhaps the most obvious choice in terms of an alternative to the CCO 200 is another model by Cecilio – after all, they’re a fantastic brand with a solid reputation. Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier in this guide, Cecilio is well known for accommodating all different experience levels, for example through the CCO 100 or the CCO 500.
The CCO 500 on the other hand is a completely different situation – this instrument is approximately $750 more expensive due to featuring an ebony fingerboard, pegs, and tailpiece, along with having a hand-carved body and high-luster varnish finish.
If you find yourself craving a more luxurious cello, the CCO 500 could be more up your street. However, if you’re frustrated at paying a little extra cash just for the metal tailpiece and studier tuning pegs, perhaps the cheaper CCO 100 would be more justifiable.
- The CCO 500 is of much higher quality, whereas the CCO 100 is more affordable
- The CCO 100 features an ebony fingerboard, tailpiece, pegs, and a hand-carved body
- The CCO 100 does not include the metal tailpiece and sturdier tuning pegs, which may seem like unnecessary purchases
- The CCO 500 is very expensive in comparison to the CCO 200 and 100.
Eastman Master Series Stradivarius Cello Outfit
I previously mentioned that I respect it a lot when a brand sells a cello as an “outfit”, including everything the musician needs to get started. This is pretty common with brands such as Cecilio that focus heavily on beginner instruments, but it’s less common to find with brands such as Eastman.
For those who have never heard of them, Eastman Strings is a brand known for its exceptionally high-quality cellos. Most of their instruments cost well over $1,000 due to being handcrafted, acoustically treated, set up by professional luthiers, and having tonal qualities that are simply unbeatable.
The Eastman Master Series Stradivarius Cello Outfit is no exception to this rule.
Amazingly, this instrument even comes as an outfit, including a bow, sturdy hard case, spare strings, rosin, and a three-year warranty. It’s undeniable that it is very expensive in comparison to the CCO 200 and even the 500 for that matter, but if you’re looking for quality and have the cash to splash, this cello is simply unbeatable
- High-quality ebony fittings, plating, resonance, and amplification
- The price may seem high, but for the quality, it’s a small price to pay
- The hard case ensures that this cello will never be damaged when transported to cello lessons
- Costing around $2,500, this is a very expensive cello in comparison to the CCO 200 and many would argue that it is not suitable for beginners
Well, that brings me to the end of my review and guide of the Cecilio CCO 200 – we’ve covered a ton of information so far, so it only makes sense to round things off with a quick FAQ.
Answer: The CCO 200 comes in sizes of 4/4, 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4.
Phew, that sure was a lot of information to cover! I hope that my analysis of the key features, sizes, and alternatives to the CCO 200 have helped you make a decision.
It’s a seriously good beginner cello from a fantastic brand, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It must be said that you don’t get that much extra for your money in comparison to the CCO 100, but then again, the price isn’t much different.
If you’re looking for a beginner’s cello, you can’t go wrong here. However, if you’re looking for something that is going to blow people’s socks off with luxurious quality and tone, perhaps look for something more expensive such as the CCO 500 or an Eastman cello.
Regardless of which cello you choose, I wish you the best of luck on your musical journey. I hope that you enjoy playing it as much as I have throughout the last two decades. All the best!
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