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Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: volcs0
Date: September 10, 2009 11:56AM
Our son started cello this week. He is in 5th grade, and an instrument is a requirement for all students from 5th to 8th grade. He has a cello at school, but we need to get one for home-use.

Renting is about $30/month. I'm not sure if there is an option-to-buy.

Cellos on ebay start at $99 (with $70 shipping). Cellos at the online retailers (Musician's Friend, Woodwind Brasswind) start around $300, sometimes with free shipping.

Advantages to renting are that the store will fix and maintain the cello as needed (within reason, I assume).

As a rule, I hate renting things (cars, homes, etc.), so I'd like to be persuaded to purchase a cheap student (3/4 size) cello. On the other hand, I assume most of the cheap cellos are crap.

Let's assume, for the sake of discussion here, that he will stick with the instrument, at least for 2 years. I wanted to get input on the other merits / experiences of renting vs. purchasing.

Thanks.
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: mikebw
Date: September 10, 2009 12:21PM
When I was in grade school I played alto sax. We were going to rent since I had never played before and we didn't want to risk buying one, but the rental costs for just one year exceed the amount we could spend getting a decent used one. I played it for 3 years, then switched to tenor which was supplied by the school. Then I switched to drums!

I would probably go with a used model instead of renting. You can always sell it off later, but money spent renting is pretty much gone.
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: Robert M
Date: September 10, 2009 12:22PM
Volcs,

Rent. See this thread:

<[forums.macresource.com];

Robert
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: September 10, 2009 12:22PM
Rent for the first couple of months at least. I bought a guitar for my son, lessons for 2 months. Practice ? No way !

The guitar sat in my closet for the last 5 years. Now he wants to sell it to buy an 'airsoft' gun.

Sigh.
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: Spiff
Date: September 10, 2009 12:26PM
The rented instruments are a dime a dozen and no thought is put into making it sound good. No tweaking, no hand finishing, etc. Therefore, the student is already behind the 8 ball with a lousy sounding instrument. Good luck making that sing. banghead smiley Therefore, buying as quality an instrument as possible would be an advantage as it will make practicing more enjoyable due to better sound quality. He can then pass the instrument down to his children when the time comes - i.e. family heirloom. If possible, make sure the instrument is heard first before buying. Either he plays it or someone else demonstrates it. If not - some sort of inspection period? Plus, this will be a good life lesson in taking care of something worth keeping (ie - don't break it, it's expensive).

Those instruments that are $99 on ebay are most likely the rental instrument quality. Again, your best bet is to have an inspection period to see if the instrument really plays well, or be able to play it first before buying. One can definitely hear the difference between a cheap and well made instrument. The cheap is tinny and muted. The better made instruments are clearer, have a more full sound - the sound opens up well.

Here's the other reasoning. I'd say renting is the way to go at this point. He will grow. In addition, who knows if he will like it enough to stick with the cello after 2 years. Therefore, renting would be the better option if you don't want a cello around taking up space, gathering dust.

There's the good, the bad, and the, well, expensive. Good luck! Keep him with it. Being a violin player myself, it was discouraging the first year or so with a stringed instrument. Afterwards, it really takes off. =)

Edit - after reading the other thread, there are merrits to renting. However, again, I think the quality of instrument would be better when buying, and it might put some responsibility into the child and motivation to practice (yes, I hated that as well. ugh) if he is involved in the buying process. I was, and that helped a little, knowing that it was MY violin that I picked out.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2009 12:29PM by Spiff.
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: troywellbuilt
Date: September 10, 2009 12:27PM
We've always rented. The bridge broke a couple times on the cello we were renting and was repaired free. We only rented for the school year. Kids change their minds - one son played cello two years, then switched to baritone horn. The other son switched from viola to percussion after a year. Both boys are much happier (and practice more) with their second choice. If I had purchased I might have made them stick to their first choice.
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: billb
Date: September 10, 2009 12:47PM
I cant imagine a cello for $99.00 being worth much.
The only instrument I can think of that would cost less than that would be a plastic fluterphone or maybe a cheap triangle.


Unless you're absoutely certain this kid is notgoing to change his/her mind and want toplay something else, I'd rent fora couple months and look around local for something used or new.


I still have a trombone tarnishing away in its originalcase and my parents had it replated (it was old when I got it) to look nice when I gave up the piano lessons permanently. Poor choice on my part in hindsight, but it was tough to chase the cute alto sax player with a piano.
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: Anthony
Date: September 10, 2009 02:09PM
I'm a violin teacher in Boulder. Renting is a good option to start.

Buying, however, makes more sense financially and sometimes instrument wise. Especially if you can sell it later to another child in the same position as yours now.

Don't buy on ebay. Do craigslist and show it to a teacher before purchasing. Lots of really bad instruments out there...

I have found SouthwestStrings.com to be great source for purchasing new inexpensive instruments that are set up well.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2009 02:11PM by Anthony.
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: comaplate
Date: September 10, 2009 04:02PM
Rent until you get a sense of whether or not he's going to stick with it. Once you've made a determination that it's going to stick, there can be some good bargains found purchasing instruments that other students have returned.
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: zero
Date: September 10, 2009 11:22PM
Rent.
Buy one after your kid
1. Decides to continue playing in high school
2. Can hold a full size cello
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: zero
Date: September 10, 2009 11:25PM
Quote
comaplate
Rent until you get a sense of whether or not he's going to stick with it. Once you've made a determination that it's going to stick, there can be some good bargains found purchasing instruments that other students have returned.

your kid should probably decide if he /she wants to stay with it, not you
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Re: Cello for student - rent or buy
Posted by: BernDog
Date: September 10, 2009 11:55PM
Ditto Anthony. I'm also an instrumental music teacher (but not orchestra) as well as a former music store salesman. If someone is doing it in your area, a good middle ground is rent to own (payment plan). You can get the best of both worlds. Your money is going towards purchase, but you can still be protected by the maintenance plan offered by the store. Plus, many stores will allow you to apply your accrued credit towards trading up to a full sized instrument if necessary, or even to a different instrument completely. Make some calls and ask around.

Ditto Southwest Strings as well.
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