I am a terrible musician. Help me be terrible on a new instrument.
November 13, 2017 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Do you have experience with electric cellos? What would you let someone know looking to purchase one? Any recommendations for a specific instrument?

I played upright bass for ten years and can noodle around on a guitar. I have always loved the cello and am looking for a way to learn the instrument and play along with recordings.

Because I know I will give up if I am filling the house with terrible playing, a silent/electric instrument is a must. I would like to spend under $500.
posted by munchingzombie to Shopping (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
enthusiastic amateur cellist here (five years experience, member of two orchestras).

1. get a teacher.
2. get a teacher.
3. get a teacher.
4. find a local string shop and rent a decent cello for a year to make sure you like it. that way, you'll have a year's worth of rent to put toward the purchase of an instrument if you decide to stick with it, and you can return it if you don't. you can also probably find a list of good local teachers at the string shop.

edited to add: looks like you're in portland! kerrviolins.com is who you want-- corner of SE Holgate and 28th. lovely folks used to beginners with a huge selection of instruments.
posted by hollisimo at 4:31 PM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

another thought: the $500 price point in cellos will only get you a Cecilio-level instrument that will not be of the quality that will encourage you to continue playing. rent a decent instrument. you won't be sorry.
posted by hollisimo at 4:49 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

As an alternative, consider an electric viola. Viola range is not as deep as a cello, but it does have some John Cale sonorities. If you're not traditional, get some cool guitar pedals too.
posted by ovvl at 6:46 PM on November 13, 2017

I'd suggest getting an electric cello that is configured substantially like a real cello. I have a Ned Steinberger 5-string electric that I almost never touch because there's no physical feedback or context to help understand where your hand is, and since it's impossible to hear (unless you have a good monitor setup) it's nearly impossible to play. If I had the money to do it again I'd get one of the Yamaha ones that has a cello - shaped framework.

The Steinberger one also sounds like crap, thin and weak without major processing, and at that point you might as well be playing guitar.

Um, what I meant to say is "Electric cello for sale, MeMail me for details!"
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:50 PM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Steinberger one also sounds like crap, thin and weak without major processing

It probably needs a preamp for impedance buffering before you just run it into a guitar amp
posted by thelonius at 6:45 AM on November 14, 2017

I have a preamp, it just sounds like a cheap piezo pickup no matter what.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:48 PM on November 14, 2017

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