May 24, 2021 3 min read
To rent or to buy; that is the question. Every person's situation is different, so I'll go over some of the things you should probably consider before making that decision.
Renting a cello is a great idea if you are not totally sure this is something you or your child is going to stick with. Cellos can be very expensive to purchase. However, there may not be any shops close to you that rent cellos. And although our rental fees are quite modest at $40/month, we have heard of people paying as much as $120/mo to rent a cello!
Most string shops (Linda West Cellos included) will allow you to accrue part of your rental payment towards an eventual purchase, but this isn't always ideal. If your local string shop doesn't carry many cellos, or won't let you choose your cello, this can be a great disappointment when you finally decide to purchase.
Most shops that rent cellos will rent substandard instruments, sometimes completely made of plywood, because they are more durable (and cheap). These cellos will not provide the most ideal learning partner. There are some stores that don't even specialize in stringed instruments who are more than happy to order a cello, and then rent it to you, although they have no one on staff to ensure it is setup properly, or to help you if you have any issues in the future with the instrument. It's best, therefore, to rent from a string shop, and not just a music store. In many cases, you will not be given a choice of instruments when you walk in to rent. You will take what they give you. All that being said, your money out of pocket will be much less renting than deciding to purchase a cello, then changing your mind about playing in 6 months. Click here to go to our rentals page.
If you have a strong passion for learning the cello, and can afford the expense of purchasing a cello, we see no reason that a beginner should not purchase. Renting for a short time may still be prudent (if there is someplace near you that can rent you an instrument). Even so, many of our adult beginners choose to just purchase from the very start.
"Since I'm a beginner, I won't know what I'm doing when I shop for a cello. How will I know whether it is a good cello, or right for me?" These are very good questions. If you were to shop in our showroom, we would assist you personally in selecting a cello. Even rank beginners can almost always decide which cello they like the best with our assistance. If you are shopping online, we offer individual attention from a distance to help you decide. We will ask you many questions, and that information will help us to recommend a small selection of instruments that we know would be a good match for you.
Cellos, however, are not a cheap instrument to buy. These are works of art, crafted by skilled craftspeople with decades of experience making musical instruments. Expect to pay upwards of $2,000 to get a decent instrument. Many adults, who can afford it, will pay much more for their first cello than that, so don't let inexpensive mean 'beginner' to you; we have instruments in all price ranges that would be appropriate for a beginner. We usually mention this in comments. If not, please ask us if we think it would be good for a beginner.
Cello upkeep is not something to take lightly. String sets are expensive, and the bow needs to be rehaired at least annually. Even if you are renting, you will need to pay for new strings and bow rehairs.