Learning Cello (??????)

Discussion in 'Acoustic & Orchestral instruments' started by sIR dORT, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. sIR dORT

    sIR dORT Member

    Oct 26, 2018
    A) Is it pretty dang expensive to buy one?

    B) Is it very time consuming just to learn the basics?

    C) Is it worth it?
  2. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

    Nov 13, 2007
    it might depend on how old you are. Most people find it pretty rough to learn if you never had string lessons as a kid.


    you can still play it on your own recordings and that is quite fun / illuminating.
    sIR dORT likes this.
  3. prodigalson

    prodigalson Senior Member

    Nov 14, 2013
    Can't speak to the cello but I recently started learning the violin and while it is incredibly challenging (I'm a classically trained professional pianist) It's very rewarding. The instruments can be very expensive but they don't have to be and you can rent one while you're learning to see if you take to it. A lot of the financial investment comes from paying from lessons which, IMO is an absolute must. You won't be able to learn it on your own.

    String instruments take time and patience though so be ready to spend the first month or so just learning how to create a remotely satisfying sound, let alone any kind of proficiency in playing anything more than a few scales.
    sIR dORT, Mark Schmieder and JohnG like this.
  4. N.Caffrey

    N.Caffrey Senior Member

    Mar 15, 2016
    I've started learning the cello almost 2 months ago. It's been good fun so far!

    What I recommend is instead of buying a cheap crappy one from Amazon (as I was going to do) rent one! Is very cheap and you get a better instrument. I pay £25 a month.

    Regarding learning the basics, I graduated in flute, I play also guitar and piano decently, so I think it was easier in a way to learn than if I didn't know how to play anything. This said, intonation is very difficult to achieve, so having a good ear helps, and of course lots and lots of practice, without it there are no results!
  5. Mark Schmieder

    Mark Schmieder Active Member

    Feb 4, 2019
    Concord CA
    Linda West is one of the best resources on-line for cello sales and information.

    Scott Cao and Eastman are two brands that deliver excellent bang-for-buck that is way above what you'll find on well-known generic instrument sites.

    I'm not sure if it's against forum policy to post a commercial link so am not doing so. I have wanted a cello for decades but keep putting it off.

    I babysat a friend's for a year while he was in transition and preferred a trusted musician to care for it than put it in storage, and he said feel free to play it, which I did. :)

    Any stringed instrument has to be set up, and you don't get that from the typical big box retailers and on-line vendors. I bought a China-made upright bass for $600, a bow for the same price, and Thomastik strings for almost $300 plus setup work for somewhere between $400 and $500.

    The setup work is more important in many ways than the specific instrument choice. And that's a good argument in favour of renting at first -- especially if there's a rent-to-own discount and they have an instrument you're likely to want to buy (not always the case with rentals).

    Upright bass is a bit more expensive for setup than the other strings though, as invariably the fingerboard needs a LOT of planing work to be playable.

    You can save up to 50% by buying used, and likely little if any setup work (or new strings, at least right away) will be required.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  6. ghostnote

    ghostnote Vincit qui se vincit.

    Nov 3, 2011

    If you already know how to play an instrument and the discipline that comes with it, then go for it!

    Yes, do it! Playing a classical instrument is great, doesn't matter if you just start out or if you are a professional, 6 or 60 years old. If you really want to play, then Play!
  7. Parsifal666

    Parsifal666 I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.

    Sep 7, 2015
    E. YeeHaw, Indiana
    This. I took just enough violin, cello, viola, and double bass lessons to get a firm handle on the instruments and thus an easier (and more accurate) time writing for them. I did that with all the basic brass and wws as well. If you can find the time, save up some rental money and do so, because it's quite the fascinating journey. I myself learned so much applicable...

    , don't even think about it, just go for it imo.
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  8. MatFluor

    MatFluor Senior Member

    Jan 11, 2017
    a) No - a student Cello (plastic) can be had for $150 or $200. Or you can rent one out for a time. I did that with a clarinet, rented it for $50/Month for a year - the good thing was that I could play on a high class real wood instrument without having to buy it (student plastic clarinets can be cheap, and real wood ones can be $2.5k and above - same applies to Celli).

    b) As others mentioned, it's the discipline that matters. and a few lessons with a teacher are good advise, just to get the basics down

    c) it's very rewarding. I learned to play a couple of instruments on a very basic level (Clarinet, Percussion, Violin...) and it is very illuminating indeed.
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  9. David Cuny

    David Cuny Words! Words! Words!

    May 8, 2018
    It depends on how tight a budget you're on. Renting is often a good option to find out how much you really like an instrument. If you buy a used cello, you'll likely end up needing repairs to get it into good playing condition.

    That's not to steer you away from getting a used cello. Just be sure you've budgeted money for it if you go that route.

    You mean, enough to play a song in tune? Not if you have a background with another instruments and motivation.

    Of course! :)
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  10. Hasici

    Hasici New Member

    Apr 4, 2019
    Students cello is build to be more resilient with the downside being the sound. There are also electric cellos which I personally like for various reasons: they are virtually unbreakable and hold tune, they are pretty quiet so you can practice any time you wish and you gain confidence very fast first few months because you are not disturbing others and so you can really dig into it without worrying what people around you think. Same for good electric violins.
  11. TheKRock

    TheKRock Member

    Apr 19, 2017
    I've been taking cello lessons now for 4 months, I am proficient in piano, guitar, the sax family, and a host of other instruments...definitely rent a cello as per all the reasons above plus as a student you really won't get to take advantage of a really good instrument for awhile but you'll definitely know a cheap crappy one and it will most likely make you not want to practice cause the sound sucks. I also concur with what N.Caffrey said above intonation is a bitch as well as any sort of vibrato so taking lessons will only make you a better player and will make you want to stick with it when you're strangling the cat on the A string. I would not be as far along as i am without taking weekly lessons but I can hear my progress every week. Love this instrument! Get one, learn it, you will love it! Good on you diving in!
  12. danbo

    danbo Member

    Jun 14, 2018
    Look up the Stentor line of string instruments. Chinese made but the company has a long history in the UK, they moved the factory there for skilled labor and costs. Here's a factory tour video which shows how they're all made by hand using traditional methods

    You can go with the Student line, which has all the same features (purfling, maple, ebony, etc) but isn't made with the same care. The upper two lines, Conservatoire and up are made in a special part of the factory with the most experienced workers. I bought a Conservatoire violin for not much money and it's a beautiful instrument that sounds as good as any other I've heard. I'm looking to get their Conservatoire cello, but it's hard to find online.

    Otherwise I played the clarinet professionally, and now an advanced pianist, beginner violinist and guitarist, and will pick up a few later. Better than trolling eBay for old crappy synths as some seem to do.

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