Drum Roll Please...A Salute to Olivier

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Don Higdon, Sep 17, 2001.

  1. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Well, I'm still here, which means I didn't fly to France Saturday night, but I want you all to know the following:
    I had sent a PM to Olivier, saying I was coming to Paris, and was interested in visiting luthiers. He responded with a list of 5, complete with addresses, phone numbers and the names of the nearest subway stops. His next response was a link to the Paris subway system so I could view the map.Then I mentioned that my French bass is attributed to the workshop of Georges Apparut. Olivier went out and found two more luthiers who apprenticed with Apparut. Bear in mind that Apparut died 50 years ago. Then he offered to call them and make appointments for me to see them. Then he offered to take a day off from work to take me to them and, certainly, translate for them as they viewed my pictures and measurements of the bass. Then when I said that Perrin was my first choice, Olivier replied "I'll call him in the morning."
    Olivier signed his last e-mail "Fellow bassist". Rather modest, I'd say. I salute you, Olivier, and I want all of TalkBass to know why.

    So, friends, if you're ever in Paris and you run out of cash, or maybe you just want money for a great investment opportunity, e-mail me, and I'll send you Olivier's home telephone number.
  2. olivier

    olivier Guest

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    The contrebasse is my great hobby, so I'm always willing to meet and help people who share this passion. It has been easy for me to find the info that Don mentioned, really. I could track down this pertinent info thanks to my friend François Bonnier, luthier himself, trained in Cremona and also with maître James Chauvelin. This made me realize that ample parts of the history of double bass making will be forgotten forever when these older guys will pass away. Of course, this applies to many fields besides double bass (check the recent Buddy Colette biography, for instance). Their are various projects on the recent history of French lutherie... and I am still saving some bucks to buy Paul Brun's book, which is on the expensive side since we are a rather small bunch of potential customers (I don't know if a version in French exists!). Anyway...
    I am frustrated that the opportunity to meet Donosaurus has been postponed, but the world has some much bigger problems that need to be dealt with.
    Many thanks to Don for putting me in the spotlite, but I think it's normal to give a hand to a fellow bassist. I do not give my e-mail because, like Ed (any news from him?), I use my work computer. Don and others can always send me a private message thru TalkBass if you have some double bass related inquiries I might help you with.
  3. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Olivier, I assume you are probably more familiar with the current top French bass makers than anyone else I have encountered. I am interested in a good bass in the US $10-20k range, and at the current exchange rates, the work of the top French luthiers is within reach. The same money here won't cover the costs of an Italian bass, though it will buy a decent to good older german bass, most of the contemporary American basses, good modern English basses, and some older French basses.

    Unfortunately, I have not seen or heard any of the modern French basses, because not many seem to make their way to this side of the Atlantic.

    I'm looking for a bass that has a big orchestral sound, that is very responsive and easy to bow, that's easy to navigate in the thumb positions, and that will stand up to the normal wear and tear (IOW I want what everyone else wants).

    How do the top modern French basses stack up against that "wish list"?
  4. olivier

    olivier Guest

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    :) Don made it to Paris, I went to get him at his hotel, and we strolled thru the city trying to solve a "who-did-what" enigma. This gave us the opportunity to shake hand with some (a few were missing) of the most highly regarded French luthiers dedicated to bass repair and construction. Please (be patient) stay in tune for Don's rendition of this memorable adventure.
    Thanks Don for this nice day I had yesterday.