What Is a Silent Cello?

by Genevieve Van Wyden
Use a Silent Cello to practice scales without disturbing the family.

Use a Silent Cello to practice scales without disturbing the family.

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The cello produces a loud, deep sound when the bow is pulled across its strings. If you live with others, you don't want to disturb them, but in order to achieve a high level of musicianship, you need to practice every day. The Silent Cello offers a way to practice without disturbing your family.

Practice Cello

When you practice your actual cello "live," it makes noise and reverberates. If someone is busy, wants quiet or is resting, you don't want to disturb her. This is where the Silent Cello comes in. It is not the real instrument; instead, it is a stripped-down version of a cello. What makes this instrument look, well, "different," is the lack of an actual wood body. It has no back, which means you can't lean it against your chest as you practice. Since there is no wood around the strings and center wood piece, you can't hear the strings' vibration as you practice. The Silent Cello is equipped with a sound jack cable and headphones so you can hear yourself practicing -- but nobody else can, according to Silent Cello's website.

Silent Cello's Components

The most important part of the Silent Cello is the battery-powered built-in amplifier pickup and the headphones. When you plug the headphones into the Silent Cello, you can hear the notes you play as you practice. Because the strings are not surrounded by wood, but instead send the sound through the pickup, the sound won't be as rich as you are used to hearing. This could take away from your listening pleasure as you practice scales and compositions. Even if you plug Silent Cello into a larger amplifier (with or without the headphones), the sound won't be the same as with a real cello.

Suitable for Travel

Don't worry about leaving your practice cello behind if you have to go out of town -- it comes with a carrying case so you can take it with you. This means you have no excuse for skipping your practice sessions. Because you're the only one who hears the sound of your cello when you plug the headphones in, you can practice in the privacy of your hotel room and you won't disturb the guests trying to sleep in the rooms on either side of you. You may want to leave the optional external amplifier at home.


Visually, the Silent Cello is a tall, thin piece of spruce with cello strings and tuning pegs. It is made up of one central piece of wood that begins at the fingerboard and stretches down to the tail piece. Because the practice cello has no wood body to rest against your body, you have to get used to leaning a small rest against your chest as you play. This is not comfortable, says cellist Marvin Ayres.

About the Author

I have always loved to write (developing an idea, research, putting the people, situations and setting onto the paper or keyboard). While I chose social work as my first career, I have always maintained the dream in my soul of writing "someday". My social work career ended, and after some years bouncing around in different fields, I decided to follow my old dream and returned to school. I earned my Journalism degree in December, 2006. I am currently in the process of outlining my first book and eagerly grabbing every chance I can to practice my craft. One of those opportunities is to submit a short story -- I am modifying the beginning of my book into a suitable short story, and I hope to submit (and see it in print) before very long.{{}}

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