Where to buy a cello

Archived Q&A and Reviews

December 2001

I am looking for a cello for a 9 yr. old. Any suggestions old or new welcomed. Thank you diana

Whether or not to buy a cello for a nine year old depends on many factors. How serious a player is your child and for how long have they been playing? What size cello are you looking for? Do you plan to trade the cello in for a larger size when your child outgrows it or will you be reselling it yourself? What is your budget?

Decent small size cellos, the maker called Jay Haide, can be rented from Ifshin's in Berkeley for $50 per month. They have cheaper, lesser quality cellos for rent as well. To buy, a good quality small sized cello will cost from $2,000 to $3,000 (or more). Joan Balter, a private studio in Berkeley, 524-4333 has a good collection. Kamimoto String Instruments in San Jose is a good source, 408 298-8168, and Roland Feller in San Francisco, 415 567-3708.

Sometimes, as in our case, a Master teacher will have fine cellos to lend to students. It is very difficult to find good small cellos, easy to find mediocre ones. There is not much of a re-sale market for cellos smaller than 3/4. Lucy

And now a response to the where-to-buy-a-cello request: Try Ifshin violins on University Ave. in Berkeley. Jane
We rent our cello from Ifshin Violins at 1633 University Avenue. They outgrow cellos so quickly, even though it's costly, it seemed less costly than buying. Also, if you rent, Ifshin will take care of any problems (buzzing strings, slipped bridge, change strings when needed, etc). They also sell cellos, if you really want to buy.

For rentals (if Ifshin doesn't have the right size at the moment), you could also try Aeril Whitback, who runs The Cello Orphanage in Danville, at (925) 837-3814. She repairs damaged cellos and generally rents them out, although sometimes sells them as well.

There is also a catalogue company, Shar Music, that has reasonable priced cellos (relatively, the least expensive begin a bit below $1000 and go up from there). They have a web site, http://www.sharmusic.net/home.htm. Cynthia

How wonderful your child is taking up the cello. I have a nine year old son who has been playing for a year now. Perhaps even more important than where you buy, is that you get assistance from your cello teacher. I do recommend Ifshin on University Ave. in Berkeley, and they are knowledgeable, helpful, wonderful. Ideally, meet your cello teacher there and he/she can help you through the process, choosing the right instrument for your child. Ifshin does rent, but we purchased an older cello, which Henry has now almost outgrown. Ifshin has an excellent buy back program when you trade up to a larger instrument. Hope this helps Nuckypuff