Going through the task of choosing the best cello that fits your budget can seem quite daunting, especially given what can seem like an endless amount of choices. However, choosing the best cello for you can be a very manageable and indeed enjoyable task if done correctly, along with allowing the proper amount of time and patience to find just the right instrument that suits all of your needs. Here I will try and offer some helpful advice from my experience in instrument shopping of things to look for in a good instrument, as well as how to go about designing an efficient process for finding an instrument that works for you.
Choosing the best Cello for You
First, the best way to ensure that you will find the right instrument is to allow yourself the most amount of time possible. Time might seem like a luxury, but in fact it is imperative when taking into consideration the fact that this is an instrument that you will be spending a LOT of time with, so having patience early on will pay off.
Next, go into the process with a very open mind, and allow yourself to try as many different cellos with as many different setups, strings, tailpieces, etc. as possible. The key to finding the right cello for you is having innumerable modes of comparison to draw on. You will learn a lot about your playing as well as about the myriad of cellos that exist, both modern and older instruments. The more open you are to the opportunities in front of you, the more you will learn.
Ah, if only our budget was of no concern, but alas, it always is. Therefore, I suggest playing some of the most expensive instruments that you can get your hands on, from both modern and classic makers, and absorb as much about those instruments as possible. Then, when you have settled on your price range, try and find an instrument that has as many similar qualities to that apex instrument, but that is within your budget. Also, when possible, always go instrument shopping with a friend whose playing you respect; a cello will always sound different under your ear than in the hall, and having that kind of perspective is imperative in making the right decision.
This brings us to my final point: do price and age always imply value? The short answer, of course, is no. That is the way, after all, this is about choosing the best instrument FOR YOU. Always prioritize feel, comfort, and sound over the maker, year and what you paid for it. Its difficult sometimes to have the foresight to see if an instrument that you choose now will continue to grow with you and challenge you down the road. But, if you search long enough, and with a little luck, you’ll find an instrument that’s just right.