We Make it Easy to Rent Cellos in the St. Louis Area!

Have you experienced the commission-based sales staff at other stores in St. Louis? Don’t worry: none of our team works on a commission basis! We are here to help you…

2023-2024 School Year Cello Rental Season:

If you need a cello for yourself or your child, you’ve come to the right place. Our St. Louis cello rentals start as low as about $40 a month (when paid annually), and our top-of-the line carved cellos rent for only $80 a month (when paid annually) — paying quarterly or monthly is also an option.

While this is a long page that is loaded with information, the rental form near the bottom is not complex.

When you rent online (just fill out the form lower on the page), you can choose to:

  • stop by the store to select, or just to pick up, your cello
  • or, we can deliver the cello to your child’s school (STL-area only) or ship the instrument

You are also welcome to stop by our store where you can complete the entire rental process in person.

Questions? Stop by one of our stores, give us a call, or send us an email (we respond to emails).

Another thing: we do not work on commission and we are the only St. Louis violin store that gives you a full 3 years worth of rental credit towards buying your rental instrument (“rent to own”)!

If you stop by our Maplewood store you have to meet Ted! He's one of our co-owners, and you'll typically find him at work in our workshop. Whether he's painstakingly repairing an antique instrument or setting up a schoolchild's rental cello - he loves people, music, and instruments. (and yes, in this photo he's working on a violin: that's because the day we were doing photos he was working on a violin and not a cello)

Why Rent your Cello from Top Notch?

Insurance Included!

Every rental includes insurance against theft & accidental damage! Enjoy your instrument without being stressed or worried about it.

Replacement Strings

If a string breaks (it will eventually happen), not only do we not charge any labor to replace the strings, but our rentals also include 50% off the cost of D’Addario replacement strings.

Our Rental Cellos Include:

  • Ebony fingerboard and pegs
  • Quality, American-made D’Addario strings
  • Choice of either a brazilwood or carbon fiber bow with real horsehair
  • Lightweight padded bag
  • Rockstop (your choice of color)
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Rosin
  • Insurance against theft & accidental damage
  • Us! We’re here to support you!

Available Cello Sizes

1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 7/8, 4/4

If you rent online (further down this page) we provide information to help match your child, based on your child’s height, to the proper cello size. We also provide typical ages and grades that would use the various cello sizes. If you stop by the store to rent your cello, we’ll make sure you get the right size.

Some of the Top Notch St. Louis Cello selection

Select Your Cello Series

Our 1000 series entry level cellos are carved instruments made from aged maple sides and back with a spruce top. These are a perfect choice for a beginner who is developing their ear and technique, or for someone who wants to see if the cello is the proper stringed instrument for them.

Our 2000 series intermediate cellos are carved and made from carefully aged, lightly flamed maple for the sides and back. The top is made of spruce with a hand-applied oil varnish. The 2000-series is an affordable step up resulting in a higher-quality sound.

Our 3000 series advanced cellos are fully carved and made from 5+ year old aged, heavily flamed maple wood for the sides and back. The top is made from spruce and has an antiqued oil varnish. You cannot go wrong with a 3000-series cello. While a beginner may not be able to hear the significant tone difference between, say, our 1000-series and the 3000-series instruments, as they begin to play they should be able to tell the difference within 6-12 months of playing. We recommend the 3000-series to anyone who is planning to play the cello long-term and/or who wants to stand out in their orchestra or ensemble.

What Does it Cost to Rent a Cello?

1000 Series Cello Rental


  • The annual rate translates to a monthly cost of about $40 and by paying annually you are saving 20% over the monthly plan.
  • Or pay quarterly $135 and save 10%.
  • Or pay monthly $50.

2000 Series Cello Rental


  • The annual rate translates to a monthly cost of about $60 and by paying annually you are saving 20% over the monthly plan.
  • Or pay quarterly $203 and save 10%!
  • Or pay monthly $75.

3000 Series Cello Rental


  • Due to the value of our 3000 series cellos we can only offer them as a $950 yearly rental (which is about $79/month) and we do not offer a quarterly or monthly payment option.

NEW! Rent online...

Fill out the form below...

Simpler than a shopping cart; we chose to use an easy-to-use form for online rentals.

We will then call you...

For your credit card information.


Based on what you selected in the form below, we will either deliver to your child’s school (bulk deliveries within 1-2 weeks to St. Louis metro schools are free or $15 for single instrument delivery) or you can stop by one of our stores to pick out a cello!
Fill out my online form.

What is the Process for Renting a Cello?

  1. Previously, you needed to stop by one of our conveniently-located stores in the St. Louis metropolitan area to rent your cello. Now, you can either do that or rent online!
  2. To rent online just fill out the 4-part form immediately above. You can then stop by one of our stores to pick up (or pick OUT!) your instrument. Or, you can choose to have us deliver the cello to your child’s school ($15, within 7-14 days). We can also ship your cello to your house (price quoted per instrument and address) – and while cellos cost less to ship than a bass, they’re no where near as inexpensive as a violin to ship.
  3. After you have filled out and submitted the form we will call you for your credit card information.
  4. And, as a “heads up”, the most difficult part of filling out the form is the very first field: figuring out what cello is the right size for your child. However, it’s not as hard as it sounds: next to each cello size we provide the approximate height of a child who would play that cello, as well as approximate age and grade ranges. If you aren’t sure what size – don’t worry – just select the size you think is best and mention it when we call for your credit card information.
    • What if your child ends up with the wrong size cello? Just bring it in to our store and we’ll swap it out for a different size.
Photo of Sanford in our instrument repair workshop
Sanford, one of our master craftsmen, at work in our Maplewood location workshop.

Caring for your Cello

  • We include an instruction sheet with each rental but we also want to include some care tips here on our web site.
  • The cello’s bow hair should be slightly tightened before playing, and slightly loosened after playing and for storage. The bow strings are tightened by turning the screw below the frog. Your cello teacher will help you with this, and we can also show you how to do this.
  • Cello bows need a small amount of rosin applied to the hair for sound. Don’t worry: we include rosin with your rental! The amount of rosin to apply is something your cello instructor can help you with (and you’ll get a feel for how much and how often to apply over time) – and we can also get you set with the first rosin application before you leave the store.
  • Each time you are done playing your cello we recommend gently wiping the strings and the top of the cello to remove any rosin dust. And yes, we include a cleaning cloth with your rental. Gently wiping the cello helps to avoid building up rosin on the strings or the instrument itself. Over time you will find out that not enough rosin is a problem, as it too much!

While we also sell new cellos and provide cello repair, our primary focus here at Top Notch is to provide rental instruments to members of our local community. We love seeing our cellos being used in local schools and orchestras in the St. Louis area. Yes, because that means the cello was rented from us, but more than that it means someone else is experiencing music and falling in love with it the same way we have. If you have any questions about renting or buying an instrument from us, contact us today!