I recently received an email from a cellist who asked me for tips on places or stores in Amsterdam where she could try out some electric cellos, and brands that are on the not-too-expensive side that I could recommend.
Hm, I thought. Great question regarding electric cellos. When I was looking to buy an electric cello, I discovered that unfortunately Amsterdam is not a good place to “try before you buy”. The music stores I know mostly stock guitars (Dirk Witte, Dijkman) or the big retailer Bax has a lot of guitar stuff and equipment for the studio like speakers, microphones, DJ gear and much more online, but no electric cellos.
So I struggled to find a store that had any electric cellos to try. There are no dedicated "string retailers" in Amsterdam. They mostly are ateliers who do repairs, and probably selling only classical cellos. Many years ago in Amsterdam I hired a Yamaha electric cello, but I'm afraid I don't remember which shop anymore.
The BEST recommendation I can give is to shop online at Thomann, which is a German online music retailer. They ship to The Netherlands. Unfortunately they do not have free returns, but their customer service is always very good! Here is a link of the electric cellos they have on offer: https://www.thomann.de/intl/electric_cellos.html?partner_id=81398
Here are my top picks from their website:
MOST NATURAL SOUNDING - NS DESIGN CR SERIES -
I have an electric cello from the brand NS Design, and I bought it from Thomann. NS Design has electric cellos ranging from 950 Euros to 3500 (from cheapest to best: WAV, NXTa and CR Series). Mine is the more expensive one (CR series). I like it because it sounds just like a classical cello and you can play standing up, which was my dream. I have a 5-string cello, and it’s also possible to buy a 6-string. If you'd like to try mine, please get in touch. (Read my review on the CR Series cello here)
MOST LIKE CLASSICAL CELLO - YAMAHA SILENT SERIES -
If you can afford something mid-price and prefer a brand well known, then go with a Yamaha cello, which range between 1600-2600 Euros. The cello shape mimics the shape of a real cello, so, it has the least barrier to entry. Many years ago, I tried a Yamaha electric cello (I think the SVC-110) and I didn't like the sound. it sounded very tinny and metallic. I haven’t tried the SVC-210, but since it is the best of the range and many famous cellists use it, I assume it sounds nicer. I preferred the sound of the NS Design cello much more than the SVC-110.
The cheapest one on the Thomann website is Harley Benton, but I don't know this brand.
MOST INTERESTING NEWCOMER - SBIP - https://sbip-instruments.com/sbip-cello
I saw a newcomer to the market: "sbip", which is around 1000 Euros, and I found someone in Amsterdam who has one of these cellos, so if you want to try his, then I can you can contact him: https://mrvanwalsh.com/. I contacted Stefan Beyer, the owner of sbip and he said that his cello comes with a magnetic pickup (not piezo like most others) and is supposed to be the electric guitar equivalent of the cello, therefore, you can expect a different sound and not trying to sound as close to the traditional classical cello.
In summary, I hope this helps, and I’m sorry that there is no “good” solution to trying an electric cello in Amsterdam. Let me know in the comments below if there is any tip you can give me!
Link to buy the same electric cello as I have on Thomann: https://www.thomann.de/intl/ns_design_cr5_co_pb_low_f_cello.htm?partner_id=81398
Link of all Electric cellos on Thomann: https://www.thomann.de/intl/electric_cellos.html?partner_id=81398