While we take pride in the quality of all our instruments, the cello holds a special place at RentalInstrument.com. The company founder, Kenneth Kuo is a concert cellist who received training under world-renowned cellists at Juilliard and Yale (winning the coveted Aldo Parisot Prize), and has since gone on to play on the world’s greatest stages and record several best-selling cello recordings. As a professional cellist, he has played some of the world’s rarest instruments, so he personally understands what to look for when choosing instruments of exceptional tonal quality and construction. Mr. Kuo personally oversees the production of all RentalInstrument.com instruments to meet his exacting standards and to provide you with professional-quality instruments at affordable prices.
RentalInstrument.com has three different classes of cellos to choose from, depending on the level of the cellist, as well as a premier Label for budding professional students.
As with the violin and viola, our White Label cellos are built specially for beginning players. The instruments are designed to be more durable, complete with scratch-resistant varnish. The Super Sensitive strings are softer for new players, and they come with adjustable fine tuners, a wooden bow made of real horsehair, a soft case with straps to carry the instrument like a backpack, and name tag.
The instruments are specially designed for easy playability (for example, strings are a little lower and softer). The instruments are fully carved from spruce and maple, and available in sizes ¼, ½. ¾, or full. They come with Super Sensitive Red Label or Thomastic Dominant strings, four adjustable fine tuners, a wooden bow made of real horsehair, a hardcase with backpack strap, and name tag.
For those who are more than entry level players, but still don’t require the top-of-the-line Black Label cellos, we offer the Red Label. The Red Label cellos use a varnish that’s somewhere between a scratch-resistant varnish and an oil varnish, meaning that it’s durable, but also retains some of the more sophisticated tonal qualities of high-end instruments. Red Label cellos have a solid ebony fingerboard. If you zoom into the picture, you’ll see that the instrument also has a beautiful flamed wood pattern, which is usually something found in high-end instruments.
Red Label Cello Video Demonstration
Here, professional cellist, recording artist, and RentalInstrument.com founder Kenneth Kuo demonstrates the excellent tonal qualities and aesthetics of the Red Label line of cellos.
Our Black Label cellos represent our high end model of student cellos. These are instruments that are constructed with aged wood and oil varnished, yielding a mature tone that’s perfect for more advanced students. The instrument is carved rather than laminated, yielding a superior acoustic tone. The ribs and back of the instrument consist of flamed maple, and the top is made of spruce, which is among the most resonant varieties of wood. The instrument also has a bridge made of aged maple and a solid ebony fingerboard. The design and construction of the instrument is inspired by famous cello makers like Stradivarius, Amati, and Guenari.
Black Label Cello Video Demonstration
Here, Kenneth Kuo plays a cello from the Black Label line, showcasing its phenomenal sound quality and beautiful appearance which rivals high-end professional instruments.
Over the centuries, several historical cello makers have designed different cello models; some designs have a higher arch on top, some have broader shoulders, and so on. Each of these designs yields a different aesthetic and produce different tonal quality.
As a professional cellist himself, RentalInstrument.com founder Kenneth Kuo is a student of instrument design, and has taken a special interest in producing exceptional quality cellos based on these designs for advanced players looking for professional-quality instruments.
Due to the custom nature of these instruments, they are available by special request only.
Silver Label – Montagnana
The Montagnana model is a cello which is built according to the design of Domenico Montagnana, an Italian cello maker who lived from 1686-1750. There are only 96 original Montagnana cellos in existence. The design is distinctive in that its body is a little shorter than conventional cellos, whereas its mid-section is wider, producing a very deep and rich bass sound. This bass sound is preferred by many cellists including Yo-Yo Ma, who owns and plays a 1733 D. Montagnana. The photo below is of an actual RentalInstrument.com Montagnana cello, complete with aged wood and oil varnish.
Silver Label – Rogeri
Pietro Giacomo Rogeri was another instrument maker who produced instruments in the 18th century. This cello follows his measurements. The tonal quality is amazing, and the instrument also comes with oil varnish and highly flamed wood.
Silver Label – Stradivarius
The designs of Antonio Stradavari of Cremona, Italy are extremely recognizable and what most instrument makers have modelled their instruments after. Almost all famous cellists of the past and present have owned or played on a Stradivarius instrument. There are only about 650 original instruments in existence; a few years ago, a Stadivari violin was auctioned off for $3.54 million. The RentalInstrument.com Silver Label Stradivarius carefully follows the later Cremonese designs of Stradivari’s career.
Silver Label Cello Video Demonstration
Here, Kenneth Kuo plays a Silver Label cello. Note how the tonal quality and beautiful varnished wood rival those of top-of-the-line professional instruments.
Our cellos are amazing, not only in their tone but they look gorgeous. I have been blessed to play and record on million dollar cellos in concerts. Therefore, I value the quality and the playability of each instrument I touch. These special cellos are handpicked and adjusted by me for each student to ensure the maximum potential of the instrument. No two cellos are identical since no two trees are identical. Each cello has its own personality. I am so proud of these cellos, that I will personally play for you on the cello of your choice to show you what that specific instrument can and is supposed to sound like. We guarantee no one has better cellos for the price we are renting them.
About the Cello
The cello is the second largest bowed string instrument and carries the torch in symphony orchestras behind the double bass.
The word cello comes from ‘violincello’, and plays the bass roll in any string quartet and chamber group.
Because the cello’s voice is so low and has been compared to that of the human voice, many sonatas and concertos have been written completely for cellos. One of the most famous collection of suites entitled Prelude by J.S. Bach, was written solely for the cello. There are even pieces written solely for the as many as four or more cellos or “cello choir”.
It was in the 20th century when cello repertoire really started to grow, mostly in part, by a virtuoso cellist named Mstislav Rostropovich who was responsible for dozens of works with the main focus being on the cello.
Traditionally, cellos are made with a spruce top and maple sides, neck, and back, although in some cases, alternative materials such as aluminum or carbon fibers are also used.
A huge difference between a cello and its smaller family members the violin and viola, is that one must be seated in order to correctly play the cello. The cello rests on top of its endpin or the little metal stick that can be pulled out or pushed back in by loosening or tightening the screw at the base. Once the cellist is seated and ready to begin playing, the left hand is positioned along the string which then determines each note’s pitch. If the strings are depressed close to the bridge, then a high pitch is produced, shortening the length of the vibrations in the string. Curved fingers and a bent knuckle help the fingers remain in contact with the strings.
Tons of popular music from the past and today has incorporated the cello into its repertoire and sound, including that of The Beatles in the 60’s with such songs as “Strawberry Field Forever” and “Eleanor Rigby”. Mainstream rock group Arcade Fire has also used cello for a number of their songs, and it seems like the trend isn’t near stopping anytime. The age of the cello, its maker, its appearance, sound, and who performs with it all help make a cello stand out in the limelight and be coveted by other cellists. Noteworthy cellos are definitely collector’s items, such as the Vuitton Foundation owned David Strativarius which is on loan solely to Yo-Yo Ma .
Famous cellists include Yo-Yo Ma, Carlos Prieto, Jacqueline Mary Du Pre, and Soo Bae.
Cello Care Tips
There are a few rules that cellist should follow to ensure the longevity and quality of their instrument:
- When finished playing, return the cello to its case and it on its side with the bridge facing the wall.
- Keeping the cello faced towards the wall helps keep the cello safe from anyone or anything bumping into it and displacing the bridge.
- Always make sure that your bridge is straight. If the bridge is uneven it will affect the tone of your cello. By taking the bridge between your thumbs and index fingers, you can carefully straighten out the bridge. Otherwise, you can ask your Luthier or cello teacher to help.
- Keep your cello out of extreme hot or extreme cold weather. The cello’s wood can warp if exposed to extreme humidity and can even dry and crack if exposed to extreme heat.
- Do not let rosin build up on your strings affect the tone of your cello. It’s always best to wipe down the strings with a soft cloth after playing