Best Cello Brands & Models 2020 Review

A cello can be an expensive investment which makes buying the right cello paramount. You need a cello brand that is known for high-quality workmanship that not only shows through in the external beauty of the instrument but also the sound. Our list of the best cello brands is based on quality and affordability and is intended to help you select a high-value cello brand that fits within your budget.

Every cello brand on this list may not suit your individual personality. You need to find a cello that sounds right to you and that you know you will play for a long time. In addition to sound, budget constraints always play a factor. Most cellos cost somewhere between $200-$5000, and the best cellos listed below cover that spectrum. We will call out typical prices and recommendations for skill level for each of the brands below.

Best Cello Brand for Beginners

Recommended For: Beginner

Cecilio cellos are great beginner cellos. They’re both affordable and sound good enough to play for a couple of years. Even though they are made in factories instead of violin shops, the cellos themselves are hand-carved from solid tonewoods. The cellos are made with a crack-proof spruce top, maple back and sides, and inlaid purfling. Their upper tier of student cellos also features well-defined flames that look quite beautiful.

The main shortcoming of Cecilio cellos is that their fingerboards are made of maple instead of ebony. Ebony fingerboards are sturdier than maple since ebony is a hardwood which means ebony fingerboards can withstand the repeated pressure of fingers tapping on them. Of course, removing the ebony fingerboards makes for a lower-cost cello, but you may need to take your cello in for repairs more often.

These cello outfits are also very generous and include a padded soft carrying case, a Brazilwood bow, rosin, bridge, cello stand, and an extra set of strings. Everything you or your student needs to get started playing the cello.

Given the value you get for the price, the Cecilio cello brand gets our highest vote, but if you are an advanced player, we recommend looking at some of the higher-end cellos below.

For more beginner cello brands, check out our Best Cello Brands for Beginners guide.

Best Cello Brand for Intermediate Players

Recommended For: Intermediate

DZ Strad cellos are consistently rated as some of the best mid-tier cellos from both a sound and price point. The Model 150, in particular, is a great instrument for the intermediate cello student that sounds amazing for its price. The Model 101 is also a favorite among Suzuki teachers.

The company has a workshop in New York and Minnesota and offer a complete range of services for the string community. The cellos themselves are made with hand-rubbed Italian tonewoods that have been naturally dried outside on a covered, ventilated area for 20 years. The wood is then placed into a drying room, consistent with old world traditional European practices to ensures that the wood will not open or expand, and guarantees stability.

The outfits include the cello, a soft cello case, cello strings, and a cello bow. For a high-quality cello that ranges between $600-$2000 depending on size, this is a ton of value.

For more details on the DZ Strad line of cellos, you can read our review of the DZ Strad Model 101.

D Z Strad Model 101

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D Z Strad Model 150

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Best Cello Brand for Advanced Players

Recommended For: Advanced

While Eastman Strings does make student model cellos, they are well-known for making advanced violins and cellos that sound beautiful which is why we highly recommend them for the advanced player. Strings Magazine often recommends Eastman VC- 305 cellos for advanced players due to their playability and tone.

The cellos are handcrafted with a select spruce top and highly flamed maple back, ribs, and scroll. They come in either Stradivari or Tertis patterns. Outfits generally come with a base Despiau bridge, which can of course be modified after-market, and a metal alloy tailpiece.

Outfits on Amazon usually only include the instrument, no bow or case. As Eastman’s cellos are built for advanced players, the bow choice is often up to the player. As we mention in our buying a cello bow guide, the cello bow needs to fit the player’s style.

Other Cello Brands

Recommended For: Beginner

The Stentor cellos are very affordable and have made a name for themselves by being one of the highest quality cello brands for the price. This is a great instrument to develop your cello skills one before moving on to an intermediate cello. Stentor is often recommended as one of the best cellos for beginners.

Based in the United Kingdom, Stentor manufactures the instruments in Chinese workshops, but checks each instrument for quality before delivery to your home or store.

Stentor is sure to have the right cello for your student, from absolute beginner to slightly below intermediate.  They come in a variety of sizes and are very sturdy, a plus for parents worried about durability while being transported to and from school.

Like their other instruments, Stentor cellos are made in the traditional way out of solid tone woods. This includes a solid ebony fingerboard (as opposed to the Cecilio above), pegs, and fittings with maple sides and back, and a spruce top. Stentor cellos also have inlaid purfling to prevent the softer spruce wood top from splitting.

Packages on Amazon include a cello bag, wood and horsehair bow (usually brazilwood), and rosin.

Stentor 1102

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Stentor 1108

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Recommended For: Beginner

Cremona makes decent beginner cellos that sound good enough to play for a couple of years until your student is ready to upgrade to a DZ Strad or similar intermediate cello. Cremona cellos are assembled in California after the parts are initially made in China. The cellos themselves are made hand-carved from tonewoods such as maple, spruce, and ebony. These cellos are good enough on their own but can be made significantly better with small improvements such as upgrading the strings.

We highly recommend upgrading the cello strings that come with the Cremona to a higher-quality cello string since this will greatly improve the sound.

Cremona cellos are built to MENC standards (National Standards for Music Education as prescribed by the Music Educators National Conference in 1994) in their Cremona workshop in the state of California. The MENC standard ensures that they are playable when they arrive, and can be easily integrated into your child’s school orchestra or ensemble. It’s no wonder that students and teachers alike favor Cremona over other student cello outfits.

Each outfit comes with a high-quality Brazilwood bow, a Cremona VP-202C bridge, a Travelite TL-20 (which weighs only 4 lbs) cello case, and a Breton composite tailpiece with 4 built-in fine tuners.

Cremona SC-100

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Cremona SC-130

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Recommended For: Intermediate

Primavera cellos are a very affordable intermediate cello brand. Slightly more expensive than many of the beginner brands ($600-$1000), Primavera cellos are made out of high quality solid tonewoods, including hand carved maple and spruce with inlaid purfling. The fingerboard and pegs are made out of carved ebony, as well as the fittings. In addition, the Primavera intermediate cello outfit comes with a “student-proof” (ie. very strong) composite bow with an ebony frog and Mongolian horsehair. To make it even more student-proof, you can get a hard cello case for it.

Primavera has made several decisions to cut costs while improving the musical experience. For example, they use a metal alloy tailpiece with four fine tuners, instead of a solid wood tailpiece.

Primavera beginner cello outfits come in many sizes, so you can find the proper fit for you or your child. Most also come with a hardwood bow and soft bag.

Primavera Prima 90

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Primavera Prima 100

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Recommended For: Beginner

While lower quality than many of the cello brands on this list, Merano definitely deliver on affordability. Many of their cellos are just over $200 which makes them especially good for absolute beginners who may not continue playing after their first year. While they won’t garner a high resale value, they will certainly meet the requirements of a novice and your budget.

Like Cecilio listed above, Merano cello fingerboards are made out of hardwood instead of ebony, meaning you will most certainly have to upgrade to a better model or have the fingerboard repaired frequently.

If you can’t afford a higher quality model at this moment, the Merano cello makes a good starting instrument.

Outfits on Amazon include a ton of extras including an extra set of strings, an extra bridge, rosin, cello bag, music stand, and electronic tuner. Buying a Merano cello outfit is one way to be up and playing in no time.

Merano  Cello

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2020-05-16T20:01:52+00:00 May 9th, 2020|Categories: Reviews|Tags: , , |

2 Comments

  1. Karen Jeffery March 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    What do you think of a Pfreitzchner cello built in 1961?

  2. Faith Scott June 18, 2018 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    This really helped me become more educated in the cello industry, I’m a 14 year old cellist looking for a high quality cello to support my needs. Thank you so much!

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