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@RDP We found a cello in a pawn shop thy was terrific. After I decided I had too many cellos, I dinted it to a high school orchestra about 7 miles from here. That one cost me $75.
We found another in a music store that dealt more with your typical band instruments. We were looking for viola and cello lesson books, which they did have. When we were leaving the owner took us to the back room. Apparently, a while before we went there, someone traded a cello towards one of his line of instruments. He dis not do cellos and just had it taking up room in his store room, and cellos take up a lot of room. It needed work, but the body was sound. Needed pegs, sound post, etc. We got that for $50. We got it fixed up and wow, that was a good German made cello, from 1970 something, if I recall correctly. That was donated the same day to the same high school.
So, check around. So, check around.
There are deals out there for sure. Goodwill Online has a Scherl and Roth 500E4 in 4/4 size for $10. Looks very nice but needs attention. BUT, it's in Las Vegas and they won't ship - pickup only. 6 hours 1 way would almost cost me more in gas than buying a new one.