There are a number of cello accessories that you can buy to improve your playing experience, sound quality, and enjoyment. Some are necessary to play the cello properly and comfortably, while others are more just for fun (see pickups and transducers below). We cover the various cello accessories below, which include: the bow, the case, pickups and transducers, extra strings, rosin, dampits, and tuners. Make sure that you don’t forget cello accessories when you get your new cello!
Required Cello Accessories
The following accessories are required to learn and play successfully. You should purchase these as quickly as possible after acquiring a new cello.
The bow is the most important accessory for the cello as, without it, the cello could not be played. It is important to buy the right cello bow which has the right weight and feel while remaining within your budget. If you need a refresher on how to buy the right cello, you can read our cello bow buying guide. Most beginner cello outfits come with a cello bow already, but once you get to the intermediate and advanced level, you need to be sure you are using the cello bow that works for you. We recommend trying out several bows to see which one sounds the best with your instrument.
Cellos are easy to break so you need to have a solid cello case to protect it. Cello cases typically come in two styles, the oblong case, which fits in a rectangle around the instrument and usually has a lot of room for accessories, and the fitted shape which surrounds the cello snugly. Most cases will offer at least one compartment for accessories, 1-2 cello bow holders, possibly a humidifier, and some extra pockets for music, etc. Beginner cello outfits generally come with a case, but if you want a better or sturdier case, you can explore our recommended cello case options.
Rock Stop and Endpin Stops
Endpin stops, or rock stops, are one of the main accessories cellists need in order to hold their cello up. Since cellos do not sit on the shoulder like a violin or viola, they need to be supported on the floor via the endpin. In order to prevent this endpin from slipping, you need to either have a very sharp endpin, preferably made from silicone-carbide, that digs into a wooden floor (usually impractical) or a great endpin stop.
Rosin is what allows your bow and cello to make sound. Like a bike chain won’t move without grease, a cello bow won’t make sounds against the strings without rosin. The stickiness in the rosin allows the bow to “catch” on the string, pulling it ever so slightly to cause vibrations.
There are two main types of rosin: amber and dark. Dark rosin provides a softer tone and is better suited to cool, dry climates since in warmer climates it gets too sticky. Dark rosin is generally used by cellists who need a softer rosin to make the cello sing. Lighter, amber rosins tend to be harder and denser, making them a good fit for cello.
Some rosins even have precious metals inside. Gold rosin is said to produce a warm, clear tone and is appropriate for all instruments. Silver rosin creates a concentrated, bright tone and is especially good for performance in higher positions. It is best suited for the cello or viola.
The next major decision you need to make when choosing rosin is boxed or caked. Most students use boxed rosin to begin with as it is often included with many beginner cello outfits. It is lower quality and can be used by any instrument during any season. In addition, it is less prone to cracking. Caked rosin is used by more advanced players who want a better sound.
Mutes are used to dampen the sound of a cello both for orchestration purposes (composers require them in certain pieces) and practice sessions so you don’t disturb the neighbors. Mutes are often fairly cheap, with most rubber mutes coming in under $5 on Amazon. You should always keep at least one in your cello case.
Cello strings have a tendency to break at the wrong time, such as during a concert. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you don’t have an extra set of cello strings on-hand. We highly recommend the Thomastik Dominant cello string brand in our review of the best cello strings, but feel free to test out several sets of strings before choosing the right set for you.
Optional Cello Accessories
The following accessories are optional accessories that are either fun to have or good in general to have stored away for when needed.