Like many retailers, we private label some of the instruments that we purchase. This is a very common practice in the strings business. Our Wu Ling and Johannes Seibert labels are unique to Linda West Cellos, and both of these lines come to us from Beijing, China. We know many shoppers have questions about Chinese cellos, with concerns about quality and workmanship being completely understandable; afterall, you want to get the very best instrument that you can afford. So, before discussing the origin of our own brands, a few words about China and Chinese cellos in general.
China is a very big place with a lot of people, some of whom are very skilled at their craft. There are cello makers in China that have trained in the Old World, European-style of instrument making whose instruments can compete on the world stage with the best of contemporary European makers. We know of one maker who has made only cellos for over 40 years. His work is outstanding.
There are also assembly lines in China interested only in making a buck (or a yuan) that crank out junk made of plywood. You can purchase these cello all day long on a well-known website starting with the letter 'A' for under $400. We refer to these as 'cello-shaped objects' and would advise you against purchasing one.
We prefer to spend our energy searching out the best quality, fully carved, hand-made instruments in all price ranges for our customers. We feel that every cellist (even beginners) should be playing on the very best instrument that they can afford.
We prefer to purchase our cellos from Northern China; Beijing specifically, due to humidity considerations. It's drier and less tropical in Beijing than in Southern China, and we seldom have cracking or shrinking issues with the woods in cellos purchase from Beijing.
Our Wu Ling line is comprised of hand-selected, entry-level instruments made in Beijing and imported by a vendor in Los Angeles that we have a long-standing relationship with. They import the instruments, and a few times a year come to our shop with a large van full of cellos.
We will spend several hours inspecting all the instruments, setting them up with a decent set of strings, and playing them. We reject way more than we purchase. These are then labeled by us as Wu Ling. You can be assured that Linda hand-selected each one of these, and has then set it up professionally. The Wu Lings make very good beginner's instruments. They are all hand-made, fully carved, and with ebony fittings. If any part of the setup is not perfect, we will swap it out with something that is.
Our Johannes Seibert line comes to us from a Chinese American gentleman that we met a NAMM a few years ago. He is a very fine cellist himself, and plays in an American symphony. He hand-selects his instruments from a very fine shop in Beijing that does beautiful work. The top of the line is our Seibert 700, which easily competes with equivalently priced Vivos and Calin Wultur instruments in terms of performance and quality. Many of these will also be perfectly suitable for beginners. Look for our 'Best for Beginners' badge if you want to start with a step-up instrument, or are just looking for something that will be easy to play.
And like all of the instruments that we sell, our private lines are fully warranted against workmanship issues. If you ever have an issue with an instrument you have purchased from us, please contact us immediately so that we can remedy the situation. If you have further questions about our private labels, Chinese instruments, or anything else, please use our Contact Us form, or our Chat Now button to contact us.