I've been playing one of Stefan's basses for 12 years. It's got a big open sound in every register with depth down low and brilliance up high. I love it!
Matthew McDonald, principal bass, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
solobass made in 2003
Stefan Krattenmacher, Kontrabassbauer in Münchweiler/Ettenheim, hat meinen Kontrabass "Stefan Thumhardt 1836" umfassend restauriert und mir eine massgenaue Kopie dazu angefertigt.
Mit beiden Arbeiten bin ich äusserst zufrieden. Der "Thumhardt" klingt seit der Restaurierung noch stärker, Anspracheprobleme sind verschwunden.
Die Kopie von Stefan Krattenmacher vermittelt von Korpus und Mensur her absolut das gleiche Spielgefühl, auch der Klang entwickelt sich mehr und mehr in die gleiche Richtung.
Für ein neues Instrument bietet dieser Bass eine sehr schöne Klangqualität und hervorragende Spielbarkeit.
Danke für die tolle Arbeit ! Professor Matthias Weber
Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart
" Before I saw Stefan's bass, I thought new basses didn't sound well in the orchestra.
Some new basses have great sound but their sound are too edgy to play in the orchestra.
But it was wrong, Stefan's bass has a warm, dark, strong and profound sound.
The interesting thing for me is Stefan's bass sounds better when I play in the
orchestra than when I play alone. I always enjoy to play Stefan's bass. Bravo, Stefan!"
Hiroshi Ikematsu (former Principal Bass, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, principal bass Tokyo opera )
Der bass von Stefan ist bei weitem die beste Investition meines Lebens
Konstanze Brenner (Principal Bass, SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart)
I have three Krattenmacher cellos. I have been playing them all today comparing them. To be honest I don't want to see any of them go as they are all so good and I have put a lot of time into them...and not surprising they all have a similar sound quality...the very distinctive 'Krattenmacher Sound'.It must be difficult for you Makers to put so much of yourself into such beautiful instruments and then let them go.
Frank Schaefer, freelance cellist London, UK
I am the happiest woman on earth! The bass is fantastic! My colleagues say I look like I'm in love, because I have a silly smile on my face all the time!
Lena Rönér, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Sweden
Stefan, your Bass sounds really easy in the Orchestra, so much so that colleagues have asked during the break why I sound so good today, before realizing I have a new instrument.
It gives me the tonal security that a Bassist so much needs and rarely finds, and the tonal spectrum is so rich that there are no unfulfiled wishes left.
I have shown my new Bass to a Luthier whose comment was that he had never seen such a beautiful and well built new instrument: The all workshop scrutinized the instrument, played it, measured it, as if it was a miracle. What for an Instrument!
Korneel Lecompte (Principal Bass, Brussels Opera House)
“Stefan’s family background of fine craftsmen, his joy in working with wood, love of playing the bass and listening to music add up to the best possible understanding of how a double bass should be, how it should sound and feel. And I’ve got one - Wicked!”
Neil Tarlton (Principal Bass, Philharmonia Orchestra, London)
Stefan has built such an amazing bass for me. This 5 string bass has got a dark and strong sound, but I use it for my solo repertoire as well. I have tried a few of his basses before I got my own, and all of them had this comforting dark sound, which you find very seldomly. The bass responds really well and is easy to play. It is made of amazing wood and shows a great craftsmanship. I love to play it in the orchestra. Stefan has fullfilled all my expectations and his listening to sound and people, his availability and his trust are of a rare kind.
Thierry Gavard (Principal Bass, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg)
"I have had many smaller repairs done by on my instruments, always to my full satisfaction. I eventually decided- not without fear- to ask Stefan to restore my Giovanni Battista Grancino, which was in a very bad shape. I trusted his expertise as a violinmaker, a restorer, but also as a bassist.
The huge amount of cracks meant the work was a real puzzle. All along the patient work, I could witness Stefan' s love for detail and exceptional care. The result is better than I could have hoped for. The bass sounds in all registers bigger, more equal and free. It has however kept its wonderful character. No one could have done better! Thank you, Stefan!"
Ulrich Wolff (Bassist, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)
Even after we got four new 5 stringer basses in the Budapest Festival Orchestra and I am having a solobass from Stefan, I still find it hard to understand how these basses have a mature, warm and deap sound like a good old bass, despite the fact that mostly the varnish wasn´t even dry when we got them!?
Zsolt Fejervari (Principal Bass, Budapest Festival Orchestra)
"After a long long process of looking at old cellos and then newer modern ones, and just not really finding a solution, i chanced upon Stefan's work at the RNCM and completely fell in love with it. It felt right under my fingers and the depth of sound really resonated with me. It felt trustworthy and just easy to play. After ordering the cello styled on the 'de Munck' Stradivarius of which one of my favourite cellists plays on, i went to visit the workshop - then in london - on several occasions to be part of the process of the making of it. It was very interesting and i played to show what kind of sound i was looking for. My preferred sound is an open one that is very deep, warm, bassy and one that quickly responds.
Stefan made me a cello that not only looked beautifully hand crafted in all the nooks and crannies, but had such a way of artistry about it. The wood grain was beautifully chosen and pronounced in deep colour and contrast; and the crucial sound quality was just how i wanted it, and it developed so quickly under my tuition(!)
I would have another one if i could afford it.wink wink. My cello is mine and no one elses."
Semay Wu (freelance Cellist)
"For a number of years, I have been following with great interest the work of S.J. Krattenmacher. His instruments are based on their extraordinary sound properties as well as beautiful design and excellence of craftsmanship.
I am also totally convinced by his rare gift in the field of restoration.
His perfectionism, his attention to detail, as well as his esthetic intuition are exemplary, and I would warmly recommend any bassist to trust the capable hands of this violinmaker."
Michael Rieber (Principal Bass, NDR Hamburg)
“I am playing for the past year on the smallest Solo Model from Stefan Krattenmacher. I am very impressed by the workmanship and it is very beautifil to look at. The sound is strong and centered, surprising loud for such a small body, and his qualities are very convincing. Of course, this is no instrument for the orchestra, but there are other models to choose from..."
Stefanie Rau (Co. Principal bass, Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin)
"Stefan has made a wonderful copy of my Thomas Dodd bass. It was fascinating watching Stefan tackle such an ambitious task, and the outcome exceeded all expectation. I can now leave the original Dodd at home whilst travelling abroad and still be playing on an instrument that feels familiar. Stefan's ongoing interest in the instrument's development and his continual tweaking of the set-up is a huge bonus."
Paul Sherman (Co-Principal Bass, English Chamber Orchestra)
"It is really exciting playing such a fine new instrument and hearing it change and develop all the time. The cello has a striking sound, its tone is warm and extremely clear. The upper registers are very even and the strings are quick to respond."
Pauline Dowse (Principal Cellist, Scottish National Orchestra)
"I had the great pleasure and fun to play concerts on 2 of Stefan's basses. I enjoyed them both very very much. Stefan's basses sound just great. You can't say if they are old or new. The 2 weeks old bass which I played on lately sounds as if it has already been played a lot. They are beautiful to look at. Great art work. They are very solid and strong. They have a lot of power with big, fat, round sound. They are great fun to play and the most important - They got charcter and sound fantastic. I thank him for that."
Yaron Stavi (Jazz, Classical, World Music and Rock musician. Double Bass and Bass Guitar Player)
"Stefan's work combines a meticulous attention to detail with outstanding aesthetic judgment and a rare instinctive touch. He is unquestionably one of the foremost luthiers and specialists of the double bass in Europe and inspires the utmost confidence."
Leon Bosch (Solo Bassist & Academy of St Martin in the Fields)
"I had the chance to play Stefan's bass in the famous Paris exhibition "Musicora". I just had a sound impression - round, full bodied and brilliant too. Then I organised to play the same phrases with two other so-called "great names". As in a blindfold test for wine, everybody there could hear and feel the projection and the balance of the sound, no matter if it was in the lower or higher registers. I tested arco playing as well as real-true pizzicato, being a jazz basslines walker. That model I would recommend for orchestral playing, chamber music as well as jazz combo performing. Added to that, I would say that us musicians are too much mentally locked onto old instruments. Stefan is one of the very few today who is very conscious of the magnificent art of violin making, but at the same time is a man living in the present. Keep doing it!"
Pierre Boussaguet (Pupil of Ray Brown and Bassist with Cedar Walton and Diana Krall)
Chi-Chi Nwanoku (Principal Bass, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment)
"This man has produced some of the finest basses I have ever played.
The only problem is that the instruments are only around for a couple of weeks before being snapped up by some of the world's finest players.
It is rare to find self determination and human ambition pushed at that level..."
Roy Babbington (Jazz Bassist, BBC Big Band, Soft Machine...)
"The cello Stefan made for me looks and sounds big, bold and beautiful. It combines provenance, vision and flair - qualities that I aspire to in my own work. We're having a great time."
Matthew Sharp, freelance Cellist
"I have had the pleasure of using a Krattenmacher Bass whilst performing in London on several occasions, set up with both steel and gut strings, and I can say that it is the most evenly responsive, clear, warm and powerful modern instrument that I have ever played. The calibre of the players placing orders speaks for itself. These are excellent basses!"
Robert Nairn (Bassist with the Florilegium and Professor for Double Bass, Penn State University, USA)
"Stefan's basses display rare craftsmanship matched with superb tonal quality".
Iain Crawford (Co-Principal, BBC Scottish Orchestra)
Nicholas Jones (Head of Strings, Chetham School of Music and Cellist)"Stefan did a masterful job on the restoration of my original Fendt. It actually sounds better and has acquired greater balance and quality of tone since undergoing extensive operations and now projects sublimely. One would hardly know that the instrument has been repaired, such is Stefan's expertise in the art of restoration. I am simply overjoyed to have my Fendt back and to be playing it once again on a daily basis."
John Law (Principal Bass, Welsh National Opera)
"Stefan's basses produce a big and powerful sound. I was surprised to have new instrument which I could use straight away in a way in a gig. Everybody commented on its quality!"
Dave Green (Jazz Bass player)