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Posted by Alexander North on June 11, 2001 at 16:38:13:
In Reply to: Patrick Charton posted by Pete G on June 07, 2001 at 03:10:39:
I was in France 2 years ago and visited the shops of Charton, Jean Auray, and Joel Mentec (Charton and Auray both got their start as apprentices in Mentec's shop). I think they all make incredible instruments, way higher quality and craftsmenship than most U.S. makers. Mentec and Charton are very much into studying and mastering traditional Italian method, Auray is a lot more willing to experiment and has some original design ideas. All of their instruments sell for between 16 and 20k, at least they did back in '98. In my opinion they each make amazing model. Charton's "soloist"? (the one that Marrillier plays) sounds beautiful and has easy shoulders, it is a little less sweet sounding than Mentec's "etude" which also has sloping shoulders, the "etude" plays a little easier but is a heavier instrument not that that matters much. Auray made a bass for Charlie Haden which I played. It sounded huge and sonorous as a jazz instrument but was a little tight for me, probobly just right for Haden, he likes to do custom jobs. If you're a classical player you would probably prefer Mentec and Charton. By the way, they all use the same hardware. I ended up buying Mentec's bass and along with every luthier who has seen it am blown away with what a beautiful instrument it is. A part of the reason I didn't go with Charton is that their was a one a and a half year waiting list. It's definately worth a trip over to meet them and check it out yourself. The money you save on exchange and the fact that you get all of the sales tax back pays for the trip.
: If anyone has played a bass by this contemporary French maker, I'd be interested in comments about the sound and "playability" of the instruments.
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