Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Anyone know anything about Olivo basses (w pic)?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gerk, Aug 23, 2004.


  1. Gerk

    Gerk

    May 18, 2004
    Toronto
    Hey all

    I asked this question a couple of years ago (*blushes*) and figured it would be nicer to open a new thread with the pic instead of digging up a 2+ year old post. If this is not proper I apologize in advance :)

    I picked it up used, have only seen reference to one other one online (which was solid in taiwan on ebay heh). Does anyone know anything about these basses?
     
  2. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    Sorry I'm so late in responding. I once owned serial number 0-2 back in the late 70's.

    These were made by some guy named Olivo Chiliguenga. He worked for J.K.Lado in Toronto and struck out on his own making basses and guitars. At the time, these instruments sold for a lot of money.

    Like many well made unique one of a kind instruments, I took a bath on reselling it.

    Well made, neck through body, Bartolini Hi-A's, Schallers, badass, padauk rosewood, etc. Nice
     
  3. Gerk

    Gerk

    May 18, 2004
    Toronto
    Thanks for the info bmc ... I sent Joe Lado a picture of this bass a few years ago and he claimed he knew nothing about it or any person named olivo .. it looked an awful lot like a late 70's early 80's Lado to me as well.

    Maybe it was just bad eggs between him and Olivo ;) I've heard a couple of disparate stories of these basses now though too. The 12th fret (a shop here in Toronto) had one of the Olivo guitars a while back and claimed that he was actually a semi-famous south american luthier who lived on southern ontario for half a year or so back in the day and decided to make a small run of electric guitars and basses for fun.

    Thanks for the info! These do appear to be rare beasts at the very least. Plays like butter and sounds great, I love it :)

    Gerk
     
  4. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    The one I had looked identical to yours but the body was padaul with birds eye maple running through it....just like a Lado. Very well made. I recall it having a five position preamp knob. Brass nut, etc. It was fairly heavy and a full two octave neck. In many ways, a very accurate Alembic clone.

    I ended up trading it and CAD 300 for a 1975 maple fretless precision at Mothers Music in Calgary back around 1992. I remember walking into the store about a year later and it was still hanging there marked down to $195. Another sad case of "it ain't a Fender so it's crap".

    I bought the bass the first time in Montreal at Richard's Music on Sherbrooke Street in the late 70's. Home recording gear was hot at the time and the store started focussing on those product lines. Recognizing that most buyers of such gear are musicians, they had three instruments in a galss showcase: a Martin acoustic, some high end PRS electric, and the Lado. I guess their reasoning was "listen to how good this gear sounds with a high end instrument". I walked into the store when they were selling off these instruments. I stupidly sold a well worn broken in 1966 Jazz bass to buy that Olivo. I ended up trading the Olivo for an Ampeg B-15 and 1976 Precision. Both of these were sold off and I got the bass back again on another gear swap. I never really bonded with it like I did with the old Jazz, so back in the early 90's I decided to find an old jazz and stop this buy/sell song and dance.

    Glad to see you respond so quickly. You have a really nice high quality bass on your hands that would cost a lot of money to replace today. Easily $2500-3500 in my view.

    Say hi to Hog Town for me.
     
  5. Gerk

    Gerk

    May 18, 2004
    Toronto
    Thanks bmc

    Yep I agree. I got mine for $350 w/ a brand new gig bag from a friend. He picked it up a couple of years before that in a pawn shop in London, ON for $350 (at the time I told him if he _ever_ wanted to sell it I was his man). Lo and behold a few years later he mentioned offhand that he was selling it (trading it in at work - he works at a big music store). I told him "no you're not, you're selling it to me." So he sold it to me for what he paid for it and tossed in a gig bag.

    Love the bass, you're right about eh alembic thing, it feels like a cross between a Lado, sounds like an alembic/ken smith and plays like I dunno what. I'm happy I'm not the only one that appreciates them. I found a couple of other people over the years that have had other basses, and even one of the matching guitars.

    A luthier buddy of mine took a look at it recently and was very impressed by the workmanship. I won't be getting rid of this one, it's part of the permanent collection now :)
     
  6. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    I have a picture of mine somewhere at home. I'll try to scan it. Just before I sold it, I was using the Olivo and a pretty Kramer Ferrington that was red with cream binding. Very smart looking acoustic bass.
     
  7. Olivo, there's a name I haven't hear in a long time. I played one for a few weeks back in the early 80s in Montreal. I rented it as my Gibson Grabber had been stolen and I had some shows to play. I don't remember the specifics about it but I agree that it was well made, was fairly heavy with a long neck and reminded me of an Alembic.

    I remember it having an aggressive, metallic type tone as compared to my Grabber which was "woodier" sounding. Unbelievable that is was selling for 195 Can $$ in that music store even in 1992!
     
  8. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland

    Who did you rent it from? What colout was it? There weren't many made and mine was in the Montreal area for about 8 years.

    Gerk...what is the serial number stamped into the back of the headstock?
     
  9. Gerk....where do I know you from? I know that name from somewhere...
     
  10. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    Perhaps on a milk carton? :D

    Poster child for birth control? :D
     
  11. Sorry, I don't remember what colour it was or where it came from. If it helps, I played it around April - May of 1982.

    Wouldn't it be cool if it was the same bass...
     
  12. japtele

    japtele

    Dec 28, 2005
    I got one allmost identical tough mine is fretless no idea about the origin or value, nice piece tough curly maple , 9 piece neck thru, bartolinis, bad ass bridge very similar little curls on body
     
  13. Hello,
    I've only recently hooked up with talkbass but I've been meaning to add my two cents about Olivo for quite a while. I had a fretless built for me in the summer 1979 or 1980 and it was quite an experience. He was an older gentlemen who spoke very little english...I brought him some crazy Batman-looking design to build and he just shook his head and said No.....He then proceeded to do a drawing of his own which he pointed to and said BEAUTIFUL....I pointed at this drawing and said NO and drew another responding with BEAUTIFUL....this went on for about two hours until I gave up in frustration. We met again a few days later and picked up where we left off and by the end of my second visit we had agreed on a design that we both liked It took about six weeks to complete and It turned out great. A few of my buddies still mock me for having a bass made that was everything bad about Basses of that era (Too Heavy, Active Bartolini's Gold Hardware, Padauk) At the time I was proud to have a one of a kind Bass but Don't you know just before he disappeared back to Brazil he had made a second Bass (fretted) just like mine!!! I couldn't afford to buy it at the time but you can be sure if I ever see it around I'd jump on it...I'm posting a pic so you can see the differences (however slight) in design...

    Thanks,

    Terry Murphy
     
  14. Gerk

    Gerk

    May 18, 2004
    Toronto
    Wow ... ever so cool. Thanks guys.

    Still rocking with my Olivo .. thanks for dropping me the email through the board Terry .. I wasn't getting notified on this one. That bass looks great. If I found the fretted version I'd be hard pressed to not buy it for myself :D Well I might trade you for it, for your fretless version :D

    Loki: collaboration central? :) That bass looks might familiar to me as well as your nick hehe, think I've seen it in a thread there, but completed :)
     
  15. dbok@comcast.ne

    dbok@comcast.ne Guest

    Aug 2, 2007
    Hi,

    I know this thread is very old, but perhaps someone is still here. I bought the fretted olivo mentioned above around 1980. I loved that bass, but I sold it to a friend in the mid 90's because I switched to 5 string and it really was heavy to lug around. Also, I had always treated it like a museum piece, and I was doing a lot of gigs at that point, so I wanted something more practical. Someone recently complimented the sound of the olivo on some of my old recordings, so I was looking them up which is how I found this thread. I'm checking to see if the person I sold it to still has it. Anyway, thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    dave
     
  16. Ruggles

    Ruggles

    Oct 30, 2007
    Hello all,

    I stumbled across this thread by accident and was excited to see people talking about Olivo basses.

    Yes, Olivo had a workshop on Sorauren Ave. in Toronto for a few years in the early 80s. I heard that he had previously worked with Lado, but I never asked him about it directly. His basses do have a number of Lado characteristics of the time. I wouldn't be surprised if that's why Lado wouldn’t acknowledge him later.

    Anyhow, I really liked Olivo's early basses so I had him custom-make one for me in 1980. It’s a fretted 4-string model, padauk with maple neck-through very similar to magickalpig's fretless.
    Mine is the Double-eagle design with Bartolini's, Schallers, Badass bridge, brass nut, etc. The only custom addition is that I got him to inlay my initials at the 12th fret. (In retrospect, I kind of wish I’d had him put mother-of-pearl eyes in the eagle heads. We talked about it, but…)

    Although the design, and certain hardware and components are now a bit outdated, it's a beautiful instrument and it still sounds great. And despite the fact that pedauk and maple are heavy woods, I still play it occasionally and wouldn't want to trade it.

    There was an all-maple one hanging in one of the downtown Toronto music shops for months and months in the late 80s. I think they wanted $695, or $795 for it. I went in one day and made them a low-ball offer, hoping to get a deal, but they weren't biting. I now wish I'd just bought it.

    I'd love to hear from anyone who knows anything more about Olivo, or has one of his instruments and wants to share info.

    Ruggles
     
  17. Gerk

    Gerk

    May 18, 2004
    Toronto
    Thanks for the Reply Ruggles ... I'm still around. Every year or so someone else stumbles into this thread that had an Olivo. :)

    Joe denies that he knows him at all, I spoke with him personally and he saw pictures of my bass. Said it looked good, but he didn't know anything him. I read on the 12th fret site a while back a bit more info about him, that he generally made concert/spanish type guitars and while living in the Toronto area (for the short time he was here) he built a limited amount of basses and even a few electric guitars, but ended up going back to South America(?)

    I still have my Olivo, and still play it for certain types of stuff when I record. It was my main live bass for several years, but I replaced it for my live stuff with a Stingray 5 and it hasn't left the studio since.
     
  18. Ruggles

    Ruggles

    Oct 30, 2007
    Hey Gerk,

    Good to hear from you. I wasn't sure if this thread was dead.

    Maybe the whole Lado connection is just a rumour then, due to the similarity of construction. I'm a bit surprised though that he's doesn't know about Olivo at all.

    I did see an electric 6-string guitar that Olivo was working on for someone when he made my bass, and I saw another one in one of the Toronto music shops about a year or so later. I played it for about half an hour or so and was very tempted. I've wanted one of those ever since I heard Philip Catherine play one on his 1978 duets album with Larry Coryell, titled, "Splendid". If I'd had the extra cash, I almost certainly would have bought it.

    Anyway, yes the pedauk and maple basses are really too heavy to lug around for gigs - not to mention the potential for back strain! I pretty much stopped using my Olivo for gigs in 1990 when I got a Modulus Graphite, but I still use it for recording sometimes. It's got great tone and the neck is still one of the nicest I've ever played!

    The only thing that bothers me (besides the weight) is that the finish cracked when the bass got frozen in the back of a van on a cross-Canada trek in the winter of '88-'89. Would love to have it sanded down and refinished or oiled or something, but I'm concerned about how that might affect the tone. (I don't know much about that sort of thing, I'm afraid. Maybe I'll post elsewhere for advice on that as it's still something I'd like to do.)

    Anyway, great to hear from you, Gerk. Keep grooving!

    Ruggles
     
  19. firebirdguy

    firebirdguy

    Nov 25, 2007
    Well, I'm a guitar guy in a bass forum...Anyway, I am very happy to finally find some info on Olivo!

    I happen to be the proud owner of #0-14 Olivo six string. It is easily the best playing guitar in my mini-collection. This thing came to me by way of Barrie, ON Canada about 8 years ago (to the Philadelphia PA area). It also came with an appraisal from Long and McQuade Limited. It appraised in 1997 for $2500 and say "features and like quality of Paul Reid Smith". there is also a Long abd Mcquade warranty card - from its purchase in Feb. of '89 - though I have to believe the guitar is older than that.

    I've been considering swapping out the Bartolinis for passive pickups as they are entirely too hot, and burns through 2 - 9 volts in about 2 hours. But I hate to mess up this guitar...

    I can post a pic or two if any of you bass folks are interested.
     
  20. Gerk

    Gerk

    May 18, 2004
    Toronto
    If the electronics in the guitar are anything like the bass, the bartolini's in it are already passive. It was a super easy mod to remove the active stuff in my bass. There was an active preamp (not needed) and an active "tone" control (the 5 way rotary), also not needed. My bass sounds a LOT better without them. Those bartolini's are nice sounding passive pickups!

    A pic would be cool. I've heard of a couple of Olivo guitars now but only seen one pic.