The decision on whether to rent or purchase an instrument depends on so many things. This kind of decision is akin to purchasing a car with all of the same stress (and sometimes, even more!) I know that sounds scary initially and finding the right instrument, as well as deciding how to acquire it, is a nuisance. In this guide, we’ll look at some of the pros and cons of renting a cello.
Some Initial Things to Consider When Choosing Between Renting a Cello & Buying a Cello
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between renting a cello and buying a cello.
Consider Yours or Your Child’s Height
First and foremost, the one thing in deciding whether to rent or not, is how tall your child is. If your child is tall enough for a full-size cello, then you have lots of options for rentals and purchases.
However, if your child is not tall enough to fit a full size cello, your options are more limited, and general music stores are likely your best bet.
Consider the Quality of the Instrument
Many general music stores will give you the option to rent an instrument with them. In this case, be cautious. I worked at a general music shop for a number of years and, on paper, our promotions were unbeatable. The music store offered an extremely low rate for renting cellos on short and long term contracts.
This is standard. Lots of music stores will offer reasonable rates on their rentals and will include accessories that make this initial low payment seem like a no-brainer. To be fair, rightfully so. This is a fantastically affordable option for getting your student an instrument. If you consider just the accessories (rock stop, cleaning supplies, books, rosin) all of these products would likely cost about as much as the music stores charge for the instrument itself.
The problem is that the instruments rented by music stores aren’t high quality. Instruments in general music stores are typically mass produced.
Within these contracts with general music stores, you will likely have access to an in-house luthier that will help with any problems that may arise with your cello, as well as options for rent-to-own options.
This perk is one of the best options to take advantage of! Purchasing an instrument is expensive, and renting to own means your monthly payment is actually an investment in a future instrument.
Renting Through a Luthier
The other option is to rent through a luthier, which is easier said than done. Luthiers are often difficult to find and extremely expensive. Often they will give you similar benefits as the general music stores but at a premium price.
The product that you get is often very nice and works incredibly well and will require proper maintenance to keep up with the requirements of the lease. The downside is that often, they will not give you the option to cash in on your rental in a rent-to-own fashion.
Purchasing a Cello Gives You More Flexibility
Remember that once you are locked into a rental contract, you are stuck with what you signed up for. If you purchase an instrument, you have so much more flexibility to choose who you do business with. If you don’t like a luthier or technician that is working on your instrument, you can always change with no repercussions.
Be aware of the quality of the instrument that you are renting. Bad instruments make playing/performing impossible. Luthiers often take better care of their instruments than those at general music stores, and to get a premium instrument you have to pay a premium price.
At the end of the day, pick whatever keeps your student playing for as long as possible. Renting an instrument is a long game, so invest with the end goal in mind. Take your time and find what works best for you and your child!