That - I have to say is a pretty big request. Fortunately this
gorgeous instrument by Luigi Ferrarotti ticks all the right boxes.
It has a length of back measurement of only 107.5cm, a string length
of only 103.6cm and possesses a volume and quality of sound that
is sure to out perform and out class many instrument of much larger
dimensions and costing much, much more.
Yes - the overall condition is pretty exceptional.
What appear to be cracks on the front are in
actual fact "fake" or "simulated" cracks.
It is most probable that these "shallow score lines" were
deliberately put on the instrument by the maker in an attempt to
make it look older. It is quite possible that this somewhat crude
form of "artificial aging" was done at the request of
the original buyer.
No it wasn't necessary. As previously mentioned
- they really are only "surface scratches".
To make your playing experience as pleasurable
as possible we have fitted a new neck and the peg box has been
adorned with a stunning set of "Italianate" style cogs
that have been imported all the way from the USA.
A few tweaks and improvements have been performed.
We fitted a new bass bar of the correct length and depth. It allows
the table to flex and vibrate properly which in turn helps the
instrument produce the wonderful sound that it does.
A company called "Ferrarotti Chitarre" is still in existence
today (April 2011) and is run by direct decedents of Luigi Ferrarotti.
It produces classical guitars, semi-acoustic guitars, mandolin,
mandola and a laminated "studio" double bass. According
to the web site Luigi Ferrarotti was born in Robella di Trino in
1878. Robella di Trino is a province of Vercelli in Northern Italy
- some 30km to the east of Turin.
Luigi started his working life as a farmer. His enthusiasm for
music led him to play in the town band. At the beginning of the
year 1900 he moved with his wife and three sons to Turin where
he combined carpentry with teaching music. He began to make guitars
and mandolins and in 1911 entered some into the International Turin
Exhibition. An award at the Exhibition gave him incentive to set
up a workshop in Turin and become a full time string instrument
With the assistance of his son Dionigi the business grew and in
1954 they were forced to move to bigger premises. During the years
1965 to 1980 the business continued to grow and prosper. Today
(April 2011) - due to the pressure of instruments coming from the
Far East - the Ferrarotti company is the only firm that remains
in Italy that makes classical guitars.
It still (April 2011) operates under the direction of the sons
Dionigi and Roberto from the same premises in via Thures 10, 10142
Turin. The firm also specializes in the repair and restoration
of all stringed instruments.
The Dictionary of Twentieth Century Italian Violin
Makers by Marlin Brinser (Published by Marlin Brinser ISBN 0-9602298-1-7,
second printing 1982) rates Luigi Ferrarotti as a one star maker
(good) and writes "Professional Maker. Member ANLAI - 1966 (Ass'n
National Liuteria Artistica Italiana)".
Hi. I am Luigi Ferrarotti. In 1953 I was only 17
but with my father I have made the contrabass that you show on
your website. I would like to know if the paint is original or
not. I really like the photos - they remind me of my youth. With
my son Roberto we make handcrafted classical guitars.
Yes. The dates given for Luigi on their web site
and those just provided by Mr Ferrarotti somehow didn't quite match
On 02/03/2012 Shoppe director Tony Houska wrote
Thank you for your interesting mail. I am a little
confused by what you say because on this page on your web site
http://www.ferrarottichitarre.it/storia.asp it states that you
were born in Robella di Trino in the year 1878. If you were 17
in 1953 that would make your year of birth 1936 and your current
age 76. Did you have the same Christian name as your father?
Re Paint. We call it varnish; When I bought the instrument it had
been covered with something much darker. The original varnish was
still intact underneath the darker layer. The two varnishes had
reacted badly with each other and had turned all sticky. It took
nearly three weeks to take this top layer off using Tripoli powder.
On the inside back there was a raised patch
on which the soundpost sat. Presumably guitar making technique
or because it saved time by not having to fully graduate the
back. My restorer took it out and inlaid a new patch that looks
more conventional. At the same time we also replaced the bass
bar and put in a new neck.
is the second of your instruments that I have had over the years.
This one - I bought directly from Italy.
Mr Ferrarotti replied the same day as follows;
Luigi that was born in Robella di Trino (VC) was
my grandfather. My father was Dionigi. My name is Luigi like my
grandfather (I was born in Torino) and my son is Roberto. 100 years
Thank you for the information and sorry for
my English (my son helped me to write) - Luigi Ferrarotti.
Yes indeed. It's a big, big thank you to Mr Ferrarotti.
There are lots of things to like about this instrument. The simple
model, unfussy lines and subtle choice of timber are most refreshing.
My absolute favourite aspect of the instrument however is the scroll.
It has the most beautiful shape and proportions and a boldness
and forward poise that shout out that the maker knew exactly what
he was doing and knew exactly where he came from. Splendid stuff
Yes. It is always nice to see a makers brand on an instrument.
The oval brand reads in capitals FERRAROTTI TORINO.
Yes - the original label in hand written black ink
reads Ferrarotti Luigi fece in Torino l'anno 1953.
Yes - we sold a near identical one in September 2004 to a young
Yes. In terms of a pure financial investment we would have to
say that the return has been good and for the future remains promising.
Obviously for most - this isn't the primary reason for purchasing
an instrument. However it is still reassuring to know.
This really is the perfect instrument for somebody who is of smaller
stature or simply has small hands. The instrument sits very comfortably
against ones body and the feel and position of the neck is simply
delightful. If you want to know about the sound this is best described
as positive, clear, projecting, warm and as effortless to produce
as any contrabass instrument can be.
A small Italian instrument by a well recognised maker,
an impressive sound and just so, so easy to play. This really has
to be a dream come true.
LOB (length of back) - 107.5cm (42.30in)
Width across upper bouts - 50.8cm (19.95in)
Width across middle bouts - 36.0cm (14.20in)
Width across lower bouts - 63.8cm (25.13in)
Depth of lower ribs inc both plates - 21.0cm (8.25in)
Body Stop - 61.1cm (24.00in)
String length - 103.6cm (40.80in)
Anthony Houska - MD The Contrabass Shoppe Ltd.
03rd April 2011.