When I met my husband and we started playing string quartets together, he was playing a really crappy student cello. But he was a grad student living in Boston on an NSF fellowship so buying a really nice instrument wasn't in the cards.
We did eventually go to Reuning and Son, where he tested a number of instruments, including a glorious one that cost $16K. We laughed, and then he purchased one that was a compromise: still so much better than his student cello, but affordable given his savings–-basically a match for my student violin.
Fast forward 18 years: I have recently acquired a much nicer violin; he has a great job and financial security. When we play piano trios together he claims that it's harder to hear himself. He got to play someone's Haide Lin instrument a year ago and was blown away. It's time to go cello shopping again.
For those of you who are familiar with this ritual, what should we know?
How much should one expect to spend on a cello to approximate the caliber of a $12-15K violin?
What about a bow?
There doesn't seem to be as much inventory in most shops (for reasons that seem obvious to me). We'll hit up Ifshin. Where else should we go?
Is commissioning a new instrument a good way to go? We've heard good things about William Whedbee...
We just went through this. A really good cello from the best modern makers averages around $40K, ranging from the 30s to the 50s. A violin or viola from the same maker might run in the high teens to 20s. Good luck!
I never had the pleasure of meeting Stan on his search, but his thoughts are pretty on point with what to look for in instruments of comparable price range and quality of your violin.
When I spent some time at the traveling Cremona Makers' show three different years the prices of the cellos by a given maker tended to be about twice the price of their violins. So you might expect to pay $24 -$30K to match your violin in price. But there can be real bargains from lesser known makers. A mechanical engineer friend of mine became a violin maker (first as a hobby and later as a retirement vocation - he has made and sold 99 instruments - still has his first and last!) and it took him about 120 hours to make a violin and about 300 to make a cello. The wood for a cello is more expensive too (it takes a lot bigger tree!).
How much does it cost for you to "pop across to Poland"? You could save much on the purchase of a good orchestral standard cello.
I don't know how many times I've had conversations with friends wherein they shake their heads in amazement when I tell them what I've spent on violins, violas, and cellos for myself and my kids. And then the
... and the vehicle already lost 15% of it's resale value even before turning on the engine the very first time - just by putting on the license plate!
Well, yes, I agree, of course. Just don't ask me how much we've spent on road bikes. ;-)
I've never spent more than $15k for a car. Right now I have my eye on a 94 Mercedes.
Katie, I'll look forward to hearing from you. I'm in town this week. Happy searching!
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