Double Bassist magazine: The Master’s Voice - Bottesini's bass

Testore bass scroll

Made in 1716 by Carlo Antonio Testore, this stylish double bass was once the companion of Giovanni Bottesini. Stefan Krattenmacher examines the instrument and its history, in this Summer 2000 article from our now-discontinued sister publication, Double Bassist

Like many double basses from the early 18th century. Milanese maker Carlo Antonio Testore (1693-1765) built this instrument as a three-stringer. Tuned to a-d-g, the lack of the bottom string enables greater playability and frees up the sound, having far less pressure on the table. Giovanni Bottesini seemed to have preferred this set-up and wrote his own compositions within the range of this instrument. In fact, his motto might have been: ‘Playing the bass is hard enough, therefore you shouldn’t complicate things with too many strings.’

Made in Milan in 1716, Bottesini bought this double bass after discovering it in a marionette theatre, where it had laid in a dark and dusty room since the death of its previous owner, the Milanese bassist Fiando. When Bottesini purchased the instrument it was in poor condition, but once cleaned up it was to accompany Bottesini throughout his life.

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