Cello costs range widely since the price is mostly based on the level of craftsmanship used in making the cello which typically affects the sound. A higher-quality sound uses costs more.
Student cellos built for beginners are usually machine-made so they can be much cheaper averaging around $300-$400. On the higher-end, professional level cellos can cost well over $10,000.
Many students start out by renting cellos for practice until they are ready to own one. Essentially, cellos fall under three categories for pricing:
- Student Cellos: Student cellos are designed for beginner cello players. They are generally machine-made so that costs remain low for students who aren’t sure that they will continue playing cello. Since young students are typically learning how to play, maple (dyed black to resemble ebony) is sometimes used for the pegs and fingerboards, areas that are exposed to more friction. Student cello prices range from $200 – $2,500.
- Intermediate to Advanced Cellos: With higher workmanship, the sound of an intermediate cello is also much better. There are more dynamics and stronger projection. The pegs and fingerboards are crafted with ebony and most of the instrument is handcrafted. Intermediate/advanced cello prices range from $500 – $10,000.
- Professional Cellos: Pure craftsmanship using the finest quality of wood, professional cellos exude a rich tone and wide dynamics. Masterpieces like these are expensive. Professional cello prices go from $10,000 onwards.
Typically, how much one pays for a cello is how much one can expect from the quality. A cello priced at the extreme low hundreds tends to be “unplayable” while the more expensive ones can balance both playability and sound production better.
Of course, the price is not always merely an indication of product quality. Sometimes, it also incorporates the name of the cello maker. As a cello maker’s fame increases, so does the value of the instruments he crafts. The question of how much is a cello worth often depends on a variety of characteristics of that cello.