Carlo Giuseppe Testore
Testore is by many of the double-bass connoisseurs in the top ten of the bass makers, a thought that is shared by Gallery Strings. Born is Novara, Italy in 1660, went to work in Milan in c1683, where he worked with Grancino, another of the great Italian makers. Testore made many instruments including of the string family, but to bass players he is the players maker understanding very well the needs of the musician. The strange thing about Testore's double-basses is that he never ever seemed to have decided on a form for his instruments, making basses that varied in shape and sizes. But all the basses that have been attributed to this fine maker and been through the workshop of Gallery Strings, all have been great playing instruments. This though is the best we have had to-date. This is a violin cornered flat backed bass, made from slab cut pine on the table and a not to pretty figured maple back and ribs. It was often the case that Testore never bothered to select really fine grained wood, or heavily curled figured maple, preferring rather plain uninteresting looking wood instead. But what matters is the sound, and they all seemed to work well. The varnish is a golden reddish brown. A wonderful sounding good looking instrument. It is also interesting to note that this instrument was also one that was reputed to have been owned by the great player Bottesini, brought to England on one his tours and left for others to use. This instrument was also owned by many fine players before going to Japan with Takehisa Aiba (in the photo), who now plays it in he Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo.
Mr. Takehisa Aiba works and lives in Japan. He is the principal double-bass in the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. He is one of Japans great solo come orchestral players. Over the last fifteen years or so he has visited Gallery Strings on many occasions and bought several very fine basses. He has bought several really fine instruments for the orchestra including the above said Testore, also a very interesting bass made by Richard Sprackley, who was the court maker for Queen Victoria. Also bought was a very fine bass attributed to the maker Antonio Maggini, also known as Pietro Santo Maggini, whom was thought to have been related to the great Paulo Maggini but in fact probably just made up the name to cash in the the masters reputation. For himself he bought a Paul Bailly, which was made in the period when he worked and lived in London. Takehisa Aiba is a great musician with many fine instruments.