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Thompson Cellos

The new Thompson cellos are exclusively made for and by the String Emporium. Because of the great quantities of premium upright basses that we produce and sell, we are in a great position to also get fantastic cellos at the lowest prices. These beautifully hand made Thompson cellos come in an assortment of bows and/or case packages. We're sure that when our customers compare apples to apples, you'll find that our cellos and cello set combinations are of the highest quality and most affordable. (Click on any individual photo for a much larger, detailed look.)

Thompson Cello (click for larger photo) Thompson Cello (click for larger photo)

Thompson Cello (click for larger photo) Thompson Cello (click for larger photo)

Thompson Cellos are made to perform on a very high level. These instruments, while priced for the upcoming cello student on a budget...play, look and feel like a cello that one normally sees in the country's most prominent shops for double or triple our price. We thought that the best way to show our customers these qualities is to actually show the cello in an actual performing venue. (If you can, it's best to use good quality headphones rather than the usual computer speakers, to fully appreciate the depth of sound, the tonal spectrum and nuances of this cello.)

Here, a well known piece, The Swan by Camille St. Saëns is performed on a typical Thompson cello by Ms. Laurie Stearns Selby. (Thank you Laurie!) While 'The Swan' is a very demanding piece, it also requires the player to use the full expressive range on a cello from the lowest notes on the cello to the highest, 'singing' registers.

It is also keeping with our general philosophy here at the String Emporium, to incorporate something educational for the player. This performance not only shows a wonderful player, but also how beautiful the new Thompson Cellos play as well. In addition, this video provides a great reference tool for cellists studying this piece: The video can be played, stopped and replayed as often you like. Here you can see the varied nuances of bow speed, vibrato speed, dynamics as well as some good fingerings to see and learn from.

Laurie Stearns Selby, Thompson Cello

While we are understandably pleased with the sound and performance of the video, we also include some actual "still" photos of the cello. No matter how hard we tried, the video lighting just didn't do enough to capture the actual detail of the lush varnish color and beauty of the Thompson cello. On this page, each individual photo can be clicked to get the same photo, but at a much higher resolution and detail. The still photos are much more 'true' and better represent the actual quality and color on the instrument.

Workmanship and Materials are what makes the Thompson cellos so good! Obviously the two most important requirements of a good quality, dependable cello is the material used and the workmanship. These cellos are made just outside of Beijing, China and are made under our direct supervision. We personally select each piece of wood that makes each and every cello.

Maple is king!
The neck, back and ribs are traditionally made from seasoned, hard maple. While the maple is not super flamed, it is (aged) and well seasoned. This is an important factor that will keep the cello stable for years to come. Still though, the medium grained wood on the Thompson cello is very attractive. As is the tradition, the top of the cello is always spruce tone wood. The fingerboards, hand picked, AAA quality ebony.

Should we care about the strings and what kind of bridge goes on this cello? Yes! All of the small parts make the sum total of one great 'fiddle'. A cello that has good quality parts (the bridge, tailpiece, tuners and strings) not only combine to make a winning instrument sound and play its best, they are slow to ever break down or need replacements later on. We use the best, premium Despiau and Aubert French bridges specially imported from France.

Strings: Strings do make a difference and there is also a wide range in cello string prices. (See our sister site: Cello-Strings to see what we're talking about here.) While we still offer the lowest string prices on the planet, a set of strings can start at around $50 (Preludes) on up to around $210 for the most common, professional level Spirocore Tungsten C and G, with the Larsen solo A and D combinations. We can put any strings the customer prefers to use, but if you are trying to save money, and still get an amazing sounding cello, we've got some great winning sets to match your new Thompson cello. We offer quite a vast range of choices, but all combinations start with a good, Thompson RM-150 cello. Here we have a price chart so that our customers can shop and compare. Later on this same page, we even offer our favorite combinations and pointers to help you choose a cello to ship out on trial.

How to order: Our preferred way of taking orders is still by phone rather than clicking on the shopping cart. This way we can better serve and personally attend to each and every customer's needs. Because of the many variables, such as string choices, types and colors of cases etc... we just want to make sure we get the right combination to help our customers as much as we can. You can also choose your desired cello and combination here (by internet shopping cart), but we will be in contact by phone almost immediately making the shipping arrangements and talking about the finer points of the individual cello that we are shipping to you. It's a personal thing...use our staff to help you get the right cello. You can call us anytime (800-600-2689).

Our trial period: All of our cellos come with a two week trial period. We do not charge shipping unless the cello is returned. (If any cello is returned, we're still very nice because we know that it's an important decision for most folks, though most are so happy with the way the cello looks and plays, we hardly ever get a return. Even so, shipping is usually around $60 each way. How you can ship and audition a cello.

Temporarily Sold Out!  Due to the high demand of our Thompson Cellos, we are temporarily sold out until mid to late June, 2013.  While our prices are surely going up, we will keep this 'old' pricing here until our new shipment arrives and we have settled any backorders.  So if you would still like to order a cello, we can take the order, hold on to it until our cellos are here and then send you a nice cello...at these old prices.  Once the cellos are here, the new higher prices will then be posted.  We would not charge you until the cello is shipped  to you. Should for any reason you decide to change your mind, or cancel for any reason, we simply cancel your order and remove your name from the list.

Simply call us to give your information and to be placed on our Thompson Cello Waitlist.

800-600-2689 call us!

Order Number Strings Case or Cover Bow Price
RM150-1 D'Addario Helicores Padded, Cordura Cover PC-100 Brazilwood bow
RM150-2 Spirocore Chrome C and G, Jargar D & A Padded, Cordura Cover PC-100 Brazilwood bow
RM150-3 D'Addario Helicore set Chinese Fiberglass Case CFC-400 Brazilwood bow
RM150-4 Spirocore Chrome C and G, Jargar D & A Chinese Fiberglass Case CFC-400 JonPaul 'Bravo' bow
RM150-5 Spirocore Tungsten C & G, with Larsen D & A Chinese Fiberglass Case CFC-400 JonPaul 'Bravo' bow
RM150-6 D'Addario Helicore set Bobelock #2000 Case no bow
RM150-7 Spirocore Chrome C and G, Jargar D & A Bobelock #2000 Case JonPaul 'Bravo' bow
RM150-9 Spirocore Tungsten C & G, with Larsen D & A Bobelock #2000 Case JonPaul 'Bravo' bow

Now that you are thoroughly confused
on which cello/case/bow combination to choose from....let's get more into that, shall we? First of all, about our prices: In order to offer the most competitive cello prices, we pretty much only add our wholesale 'cost' when adding bows and cases to a cello combination set.

As we've noted earlier, strings can vary quite a bit in sound and cost. Some strings combinations are more affordable, but do a long way in performance. Bows and cases have a wider range in cost too, but we prefer to give a wider selection to fit the budget needs of all our customers. So which cello combination would we choose? To start to answer that, then let us describe the differences in the sound and costs of strings. Also, why not let us match the strings to your cello? If a cheaper set sounds terrific on one particular cello here, we'll tell you so and not let you pay more than you should. Other times, that expensive set of strings really do fit the personality of that cello to make it sound incredible and worth it!

Why we offer so many kinds of string choices. We thought offering multiple choices of strings here helps our customers shop and compare. Any time you can compare apples to apples, it's less confusing or easier to choose who's got the best deals and quality (we do)! If you are shopping around, always ask what kind of strings are on the cello. This can vary the price by as much as an additional $200 just in wholesale costs alone. Again, sometimes, it makes a difference and worth getting and other times, the cheaper strings sound better. (Ask us to match the cello for you.)

The most popular strings )and by far the most expensive) are a mixed set of Thomastik Spirocore Tungsten C, Tungsten G and the Larsen D and Larsen A. While Larsen offers their D and A strings in medium, strong (Forte), Solo medium and Solo forte, ordering the Spiro/Larsen combination here with the cello, we listen and play each cello and decide which Larsens sound best for that cello. (On the Emile Gillet cellos, they make for an incredible combination.)

Another winning combination string set for those that want to get the most bang for their buck is the Thomastik Spirocore Chrome and Jargar set. To us, these strings sound amazingly better than the Helicores and actually are almost the same price when ordering them with a cello. (If you compare some of these prices, you will notice that adding the more expensive sets of strings only go up incrementally to cover whatever our cost extras are.) This is a great way to save money!

About Cello Covers and Cases: Cases: With the cello cases, we add whatever our cost is, on the cello combination set. The soft padded cover is obviously the cheapest way to go. One way to look at these options is to keep in mind that you can always order or buy a hard case later on, if at this time you are more concerned about getting a good playing cello (and at the same time, save money.) The cover is padded and does a very good job, but does not protect the cello against hard knocks ...think hard cello case then. The CFC-400 cello cases are a nice deal with a cello.

CFC400 Cello Case sold only with Thompson Cellos CFC400 Cello Case sold only with Thompson Cellos

You may notice that we only offer these cases with a new cello and they are not offered separately (for those that want to just buy a case.) We stock these specially to offer on a limited basis with the Thompson cellos and they are a good deal for the money. There is no brand name on these, but we know that the same manufacturers who make these very same cases, also make the very same case for a lot of big companies that then put their own American logo or name on it. These work fine and they are a good, safe way to go. For more detailed photos of these cases, please go to the new CFC-400 Cello Case page. (Again because of limited stock, these cases are only available with the purchase of a Thompson cello.)

Bobelock #2000 Cello Cases. We can't say enough about these cases and in our separate cello case sales, we sell these to everyone and everywhere! Students, Amateurs and the Pros. They're built well, work great and are durable.

Cello Bows. Which cello bow is the best? The Brazilwood bows are good, decent bows. What is Brazilwood? Brazilwood is a hard wood and sometimes (often) confused with Pernambucco wood. (Pernambucco wood is the wood of choice for making very expensive, special ordered bows. There is a moratorium on chopping these kinds of trees now.) Brazilwood is plentiful, cheap and 'behaves' closely to how the more expensive Pernambucco plays. The quality of our Brazilwood bow is great. We only offer our Brazilwood sticks with high quality, Mongolian horse hair and bows that are nicely finished. We import these to keep the prices at the minimum to also combine with our cellos.

Next, are the carbon fiber JonPaul Bravo bows.  We first used Coda Prodigy bow, but use the JonPaul brand now.  We feel that the new JP bows offer the same quality and playability but are more affordable. 

This is a good bow and they're made out of carbon fiber. Why carbon fiber? Carbon Fiber works for several reasons. For one, we're not chopping down a tree and two, they don't break easily or warp. Most importantly though, we can make them feel and play like some of the most expensive ($3,000) cello bows! The balance, the weight and bounce action etc...are 'formed' into the stick and almost everyone of them plays the same!

The Thompson Cello Checklist:
  • Hand made, by skilled, time honored traditional luthier (violin makers)
  • seasoned spruce (for the top)
  • seasoned maple for the neck, ribs and back
  • each cello personally supervised and chosen by our String Emporium staff
  • AAA quality ebony fingerboard (planed and set up in the USA shop)
  • Imported French Despiau or Aubert bridge, custom fitted in USA shop
  • hand set up, played and custom adjusted (for each individual cello to reach optimum playing performance)
  • Wittner tailpiece (using 4 individual fine tuners)
  • 3 year, all inclusive warranty