One mistaken belief which a lot of people have is that the more expensive the cello is, the better the tone quality. This is sometimes not true. I have come across great sounding cello at an affordable price whereas one which costs a lot more, comparatively has weaker tone quality. As such, what are the criteria you should look for when choosing a cello?
1. Tonal quality
The brand name or the maker may not necessarily be more important than the tonal quality of the instrument. Stradivari made about 50 cellos. Some of these produce excellent tone, some mediocre and some not so good tonal quality.
The difference is because cello is made of wood and different pieces of wood vibrate differently. Wood is organic. In addition to that, there are the various components including the fingerboard, back, sides and so forth which are assembled together by the maker. It is impossible to duplicate this combination of parts which vibrate against each other. As such, choose a cello based on the tone it produces, not for the brand name.
2. Condition of the cello
Examine the cello for any visible cracks. Cracks are caused by a number of scenario, including extreme changes in weather, too much or lack of humidity or severe impact. Cracks which open up will cause buzzing sound and tonal issues. Because a cello is much bigger than the violin or the viola, it does get more than the usual number of bumps so do check the instrument for such issues.
3. Age of the cello
As an instrument like the cello or violin ages with play, it will sound better. The older the professional cello for sale, the wood becomes harder and resonates better. Having said that, an old instrument which has been repaired many times may not sound as good as a new one which is structurally well made. So you will need to evaluate and compare the instruments before making a decision.
4. Physical look of the cello
Very often, most people will pick the best looking instrument when presented with several to choose from. This is not unusual, since human beings are visually attracted to good looking things. With a music instrument like the cello, the physical appearance does not affect the tonal quality of the instrument. Whether the cello has a beautiful birdseye Maplewood back, excellent flaming or otherwise, the most important factor is still how it sounds.
Once you have selected your cello, you will also need to look for a reliable and experienced cello teacher to guide you through the techniques needed to play the cello proficiently. Once you have learnt how to play the cello, you will be able to enjoy many hours playing it.