Preparing Your Cello for Sale

Selling a cello, like any other valuable item, requires careful preparation to ensure you get the best possible price. From assessing its condition to setting the right price, each step plays a crucial role in the selling process. One of the most critical aspects to consider is the condition of the cello, especially if you’re not skilled enough to assess it yourself, and setting a fair price. This article will guide you through the steps to prepare your cello for sale, with a particular focus on condition assessment, the decision to carry out repairs, pricing, and cleaning and tuning the cello from a non-musician’s perspective.

Step 1: Assess the Condition

The first step in preparing your cello for sale is to thoroughly assess its condition. Look for any signs of damage, such as cracks, open seams, or varnish wear. Check the fingerboard, pegs, and set-up to ensure they’re in good working order.

However, if you’re not confident in assessing the cello’s condition yourself, it’s highly recommended to get a professional assessment. A professional luthier or appraiser can provide a detailed evaluation of the cello’s condition and identify any issues that might affect its value. They can also give you an estimate of the cost to repair any damage, which can be helpful in deciding whether to carry out repairs.

Step 2: Consider Necessary Repairs

If your cello has any damage or issues that could affect its playability or value, it’s worth considering having these repaired before selling. This could include structural repairs, such as fixing cracks or open seams, as well as cosmetic repairs like varnish touch-ups.

However, the decision to repair is not always straightforward. Specialist cello repairs can be costly, and it’s important to weigh the cost of repairs against the potential increase in value. For minor issues, the cost of repair might not significantly increase the cello’s value. For major structural issues, professional repair is often necessary to make the cello playable and saleable, but the cost can be high.

In some cases, it might be more beneficial to sell the cello “as is” and adjust the price accordingly. Potential buyers who are luthiers or who have access to affordable repair services might be willing to take on a cello with known issues for a lower price.

Step 3: Cleaning and Tuning

A clean, well-presented cello is more appealing to potential buyers. If you a non musician or don’t know how to clean or tune your cello safely, it’s recommended to get your cello professionally cleaned and tuned by a someone in a friendly specialist music shop.


Specialized music shops should have the knowledge and tools to clean your cello without damaging it. They can remove stubborn dirt and rosin, polish the wood, and clean the strings. This can enhance the cello’s appearance and make it more appealing to potential buyers.


A well-tuned cello allows potential buyers to hear it at its best. If you’re not familiar with tuning a cello, consider having it professionally tuned. A professional can ensure that the cello is in tune and that the sound post and bridge are in the correct position, which can significantly affect the sound of the cello.

Step 4: Set a Fair Price

Setting the right price for your cello can be challenging. Research similar cellos to get an idea of the going rate. Consider factors like the cello’s age, maker, condition, and any unique features.

If you’re unsure about how to price your cello, consider seeking professional help. A professional appraiser can provide a detailed valuation based on the current market, the cello’s condition, and comparable sales. They can also advise on how any necessary repairs might affect the cello’s value. While this service can come at a cost, it can help ensure you set a fair and realistic price for your cello.

Step 5: Choose the Right Platform

Finally, choose the right platform to sell your cello. This could be a music store, an online marketplace, a specialized musical instrument site, or an auction house. Consider factors like the platform’s reach, fees, and the type of buyers it attracts.

Step 6 (if selling online): Write a Detailed Description

When listing your cello for sale, provide a detailed description. Include information about the cello’s make, model, age, condition, and any unique features or history. Be honest about any issues or damage to avoid disputes later.

Step 7 (if selling online): Take High-Quality Photos

Good-quality photos are crucial for online sales. Take clear, well-lit photos of the cello from multiple angles, including close-ups of any unique features or issues. If possible, use a neutral background to help the cello stand out.

In conclusion, preparing your cello for sale involves careful assessment, potential repairs, professional cleaning and tuning, and thoughtful presentation. If you’re not skilled enough to assess the condition of the cello or set a fair price, professional evaluation and appraisal can be worthwhile investments. By taking the time to prepare your cello properly, you can help ensure a smooth selling process and a fair price for your instrument.