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Old 02-20-2013, 11:40 PM   #1
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Getting a Cello

All right guys, i don't know if this is in the right forum, but I am looking into getting and learning to play a cello. I need advice on what brand, type, and whatever else there might be involved in such an intrusment. I need a fairly budget friendly (<$400) but still need it to be decent at least. I don't know if there are any Cello players on this site, but if you do play or know anyone who sould help, it is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:05 AM   #2
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I played cello- an Anton Schroetter- but mine is on loan to another musician. I hadn't played it in years, and I didn't really keep up with the brands.

However, you want a real hair bow if you can afford it- synthetics are cheaper, but they don't hold the rosin as well, which means you won't be as able to dig in and get the full effect of your efforts.

Better cellos tend to be made with thinner woods- they tend to resonate and project better.

The end peg should have a good tightening screw- having your instrument slip down several inches while playing is inconvenient at best. You'll also want a donut with a good grip surface.

All told, I don't know that what you're seeking can be found under $400- to me, that sounds like a used student instrument at best- but there's nothing wrong with getting a starter instrument.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:53 AM   #3
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A decent cello costs a crapload of money. $400 isn't really going to cut it unless you get really lucky on a used deal. I'd start by renting an instrument. A lof of places will let you apply some portion of your accrued rental fees towards an instrument if you decide to buy one.

String instruments don't really have 'brands' the way that guitars do. Brands exist, but there's not really a Agile/Epiphone/Gibson sort of distribution. So suggesting a brand isn't really a useful thing for cellos.

Cello is a lot harder to learn than guitar. I'd strongly suggest taking lessons, at least to get you started out properly. The technique is a lot less forgiving. On a guitar you can get away with an awful lot. If you learn wrong on cello you're going to be fighting against yourself and sounding awful for a long time.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:20 AM   #4
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I found a cello on craigslist during the spring and had a very good impulse buy. I mainly use it for studio projects and my band has done a acoustic set with me on cello.

Without proper training your bowing and probably your left hand technique is gonna suffer. I would suggest getting a teacher in your area to help you out with it. Lucky for me my skills from playing double bass in college translated quite nicely over to cello. Except the tuning which a cello is c, g, d and a( low to high respectively) . So that did take a little while to get used to the tuning being in 5ths rather than 4th like a bass or guitar.

But your budget does seem a little low compared to normal. Try a rent to own, craigslist, ebay etc and you may stumble across a gem.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:06 AM   #5
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I really love the sound of the cello, and just completed some extensive research into what it would cost to get going with one. Although there are a number of cheap ones to be found in various places like eBay, every article I read said to stay away from them... as with guitars, a bad instrument is impossible to work with and would only serve to discourage a new player. The consensus was quite clear, that a decent starter cello can't be had for less than $1,500.... and better ones go anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 and more. Playing cello is definitely not a cheap hobby to get into, but like with other instruments, once you buy it, you are set for many years of future service. You just need to be sure you'll stick with it, and get your money's worth out of the thing.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:03 PM   #6
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I'm no cellist but my daughter reads music fluently and plays piano, 3/4 Bass, violin and Cello. She wasn't sure about cello so she got a Kay-Englehardt student model. It's laminated and is 4/4 cello sized. It has a nice ebony fingerboard and an excellent action. She got it for less than $200 and a new one can be bought for about $800.

If you just want to try cello, there's no reason to spend thousands. Obviously a good cello will sound better, but for starters, you can't beat a Kay-Engelhardt. They are made in the USA, too.

If she sticks with it, she will certainly spend a lot more on her second cello.

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Old 02-21-2013, 08:21 PM   #7
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Kay/Engelhardt were/are notorious for being tough as nails but sounding like them, too. They're decent for someone who has to lug one back and forth from school every day, but sound-wise they're famously awful.

For $200 that would be a nice starter instrument, though. The first one is never going to sound good.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:10 PM   #8
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All right. I was afraid of that. I found a used student on eBay for 365. I can't post a hyperlink now, but if anyone could search student cello, and find the one for that price, it would be appreciated.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:15 AM   #9
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Hi. You might struggle to find a decent cello for the price you suggested, but even a low budget cello can be made playable with a good set up.

When you buy one, take it to a local violin maker/repairer and get it set up properly. Don't bother taking it to a typical music shop as they won't have the expertise to do this.

Buy some good strings too. Cello strings are pricey but it will make a world of difference. As mentioned above it's best to have a bow with real hair but make sure you get some good rosin, as the cheap stuff is a waste of time.

Anyways, learning the cello is hard work but if you are really motivated you will enjoy it. It can take a long time to be able to produce a nice sound, so be prepared for lot's of scratchy noises for a while but don't be put off... You'll get there with lots of practice. Definitely get a good teacher from the start, though!
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:19 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice guys.

Here's the cello I might be interested in.....

http://store.gotofmi.com/anvcstudcel.html
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:24 PM   #11
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Hard to tell, but it looks nice in the pic.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:42 PM   #12
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Some good points about the difference between the laminate vs solid wood in their commentary.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:36 PM   #13
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So anyone have an opinion if it's worth $330? I think it would be good till I was a bit older, but like I said, I have zero experience.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:46 PM   #14
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:17 AM   #15
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Either would be fine as a starter.
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