What are some of the best options for a beginner, when it comes to the cello? I realize a cheap one could very well be a waste of money, while also adding unnecessary challenge to the learning process. So what are some models that you find acceptable for beginners? Thank you. :)

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    Don't buy: rent. Keep renting until you have sufficient proficiency to be able to evaluate low-end instruments ( Say $3000 - $8000 US) and pick one you like. Nov 11 '19 at 18:22

While shopping recommendations are off topic for this site, I can give some tips on what to look for in the instrument to avoid purchasing an unplayable "Instrument Shaped Object":

Looking for specific Brands won't necessarily help you. There are some brands on the market that have worked on their reputation, but now sell very different, much lower quality instrument under different model names.

I have found in the violin family instruments that there is a quality shift when the instrument includes certain things, so look for:

  • carved, solid spruce top
  • inlaid perferling (the edging that goes around the face)
  • real Ebony pegs and fingerboard (not "ebonized wood")

If the manufacturer is including the more expensive fittings, materials and needed workmanship then the instrument is more likely to be in a range that is properly setup.

Also look at the used market. A quality used instrument can be half the price of a new model.

  • There is nothing wrong with non-Ebony pegs. Perferling is cosmetic, not sonoric. Similarly, wood vs. synthetic tailpiece is a choice to be made on a per-instrument basis. Nov 11 '19 at 18:24
  • Good point, but I wanted to simplify the answer. The other Hardwood pegs are also good, but you generally don't find Rosewood or Boxwood in the standard student level instruments. Mostly what you see in the poor quality instruments is a soft wood that has been painted black, which makes tuning very hard to do because of the flexibility of the wood. They also tend to break very quickly. Nov 11 '19 at 21:35
  • Also, instruments that have painted-on perferling generally also have other short-cuts in the manufacturing. By looking for actual inlay you are finding instruments that are higher in cost of manufacture, making it more likely that additional care in manufacture is followed. Nov 11 '19 at 21:37