"Through a combination of fine training, practical experience, and keen instinct, Gael has developed great skill in string lutherie. Among all of his fine work, I have been particularly pleased with his ability to meet my very discriminating demands with set-up, playability, and sonic adjustments. He listens carefully to what a player wants, observes intently how one plays, explores thoroughly the capabilities and qualities of the instrument, and then responds in a way that marries his extensive knowledge with the unique requirements and possibilities for each situation. It is an absolute pleasure to work with Gael and I highly recommend him."
- Scott Pingel
Principal Bass, San Francisco Symphony
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Faculty, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
"In the relatively short time Gael spent in the Bay Area, he became an indispensable resource for double bassists -- our loss is truly a gain for France! He completed a number of significant projects on my old Italian instrument; most recently an eye-catching French polish that truly enhances the beauty of the bass. Prior to that work, a new fingerboard, bridge, and a great deal of modification on my thirty year old extension. The set-up improved considerably, and the tone of the instrument increased in clarity and projection. I recommend his exceptional work without any reservations."
Principal Bass, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra
Principal Bass, Berkeley Symphony
Former Principal Bass, Lyon Opera Orchestra
"Gael is a meticulous and conscientious luthier. Not only does he do great repairs and setups, but he carefully listens to what the player wants from an instrument, and does his very best to make that happen."
- Jeremy Kurtz-Harris
Principal Bassist, San Diego Symphony
"Gael is one the most knowledgeable and skilled bass repairmen to ever work on my basses. He is passionate about getting the best possible sound out of your instrument and is committed to getting what you need. As an added benefit, he's a player and can really address specifics that make a difference to serious players. Thanks Gael - you are the BEST!"
- John Brown
Director of the Jazz Program, Duke University
"For the last several years I have entrusted the care and maintenance of my 1735 Hornsteiner-Mittenwald double bass to Gael McKeon. He is a craftsman of great thoughtfulness and detail, a luthier of great aesthetics and artistry, and a person of great humility and kindness. His work is absolutely first-rate, and my bass always sounds better after a visit to his shop. That his rates are reasonable is an added plus. Instruments are our children, so to find someone like Gael to care for it is such a comfort and a relief. I recommend Gael McKeon to any bassist who needs work done."
- Scott Faulkner, M.M.
Principal Bassist, Reno Philharmonic
Principal Bassist, Reno Chamber Orchestra
Associate Director, Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar, League of American Orchestras
Former Executive Director, Reno Chamber Orchestra
"After two different people recommended him, I took my Juzek bass to Gael McKeon. I was surprised at the tremendous work he did. I will definitely recommend him to all my friends."
- Victor Wooten
"Gael McKeon has worked on several of my basses over the last few years, performing various repairs and general set-up work. I’ve been very pleased in all regards. Gael’s work is thorough, clean and done in a timely manner. And, he has a knack for finding an instrument’s optimum playability while also being responsive to each player’s individual needs."
- Larry Epstein
associate principal bass, San Francisco Symphony, retired
"I was introduced to Gael by Scott Pingel, when I presented my Amati double bass copy to them both. Gael’s insight and expertise regarding the set-up of the double bass was invaluable for the final stage of refinement and calibration particular to the instrument. He worked quickly and accurately, in a manner that only comes with years of experience. I felt perfectly comfortable entrusting the bass to him, and Scott and I were both very happy with the outcome. So much so, in fact, that I’ve invited Gael to help me in my double bass building projects here in Europe, as well as those undertaken by W.E. Hill and sons, of which I am co-director."
- Robert Brewer Young
"Gael McKeon has been my luthier for the past seven years. Gael’s deep insight into the upright bass and
incredible skill make him a true master of his craft. In addition, he has a great ability to listen to and translate
what the customer wants done for their instrument. We will really miss him in the San Francisco Bay Area and wish him the best in his new endeavors in France."
- Glenn Richman
"It has been my pleasure to have Gaël McKeon work on my Prescott Double Bass. He is an
extremely gifted and talented Luthier. His skills are founded in tradition, yet he is not
averse to trying modern techniques. He is able to repair and set up my Prescott to keep it
powerful, while maintaining a dark and rich tone. Gaël has made an exquisite and
extremely functional Low C Extension for my Prescott. It is sturdy and eloquent and, best of all, it plays in tune! The capos are of his own design. They look great, feel good and fit my hand properly."
- John P. Spuller
Principal Double Bass, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra
Principal Double Bass, Carolina Chamber Orchestra
Instructor of Double Bass, Appalachian State University and Wake Forest University
“Gael’s ability to achieve the best that every instrument has to offer is a rare talent that is not easily found. I have trusted Gael
with all of my basses for years and I have come to appreciate his excellence in craftsmanship and persistence in matching the playing style of the individual performer to the set-up of the instrument.”
- Bill Ritchen
Bassist, San Francisco Symphony
"Talk about a luthier that goes above and beyond for their customers! Gael McKeon helped me out with emergency bass repair when I was in a tight situation, and he made a couple adjustments that made my bass sing like never before. I went back for more extensive set-up work, and I’m thrilled with the playability and tone of my Jakstadt bass after Gael finished working on it. He’s a dedicated, professional, and responsive luthier. Highly recommended!"
- Jason Heath
International Society of Bassists Board of Directors
Contrabass Conversations Host
Thanks to you and Bob Beerman, the "craddock" bass now plays like a dream. In fact, so much so that it has now become my number one bass, knocking my Jusek out of the spot. Your attention to detail and sensitivity to my setup needs was exemplary. The thorough pictorial of the restoration chronicles the process of bringing this near-to-death instrument back to life, and I look forward to many years with it. In fact, you screwed me with such good work!!!!. I was planning on selling this bass after getting it repaired. Now it plays and sounds so good I just can't do it!"
- Steve Bailey
"Gael is extremely thorough and precise with all of his repair work. I can always count on him to give me a detailed account of what needs to be done and then to execute it properly. I highly recommend him for any bass repair work!"
- Sascha Jacobsen
"Gael McKeon is a wonderful young mind in the world of bass repair and restoration, and I've been very glad to get to work with him over the years. As a professional player/composer myself for over 25 years, I've always looked for a combination of imagination, experience, honesty, and wisdom in the repair/restoration folks I work with. Gael always delivered his work professionally and with great attention to detail. He was also skilled at teaching his customers (myself included) more about their instruments, while at the same time listening to the creative ideas of the players he did top notch work for. We are lucky to have him paying attention to the oversized instrument we call home. May he grace us with even greater understanding of the bass back in the US at some point in the future."
- Matt Small
I am writing to give my highest recommendation to Gael McKeon as a luthier and a person. I first went to Gael on the referral of a professional colleague, and have been going to him ever since. His work is excellent and his prices fair, and he has done work on all
of my basses. He is an expert craftsman and explains the work he does, often offering alternative solutions. I completely trust Gael and am so sorry he has moved out of the area!
- Karen Horner
Member of the American Federation of Musicians Local 6
"You should know how happy I am with the work you did on my two instruments. As I’ve been playing more on the double bass , I’ve come to appreciate how well you set it up and how beautiful it sounds. The Zeta electric plays like a race car… great action and growl!"
- Ross Valory
“Gael McKeon is one of the very best luthiers I’ve ever had the pleasure to have work on my instruments. He’s a master of his craft, incredibly easy to work with, and a nice guy and great human being too. He built a wonderful extension for one of my basses, did a great job with various other repairs and set-up work, and was super helpful in working with me on string selection and other details to get my instrument set-up as perfectly as possible for me. I can’t recommend him highly enough!”
- Dan Feiszli
San Francisco Hamilton Pit Orchestra, Freelance
"Gael is the most qualified and trusted luthier you could ask for. I’ve had many instruments repaired by his hands, one of which was in pieces. These instruments come back sounding huge and play perfectly! I’ve also bought a 1930’s German bass from him, which he restored. I’m always impressed and I can’t say enough about Gael! He’s fair and compassionate with his clients. Gael also is a willing and generous advocate of young musicians in need. Look no further if you want the highest degree of service by someone who truly cares and is a part of the music making community! Gael is your guy, hands down!"
- Michael Shiono
Fantastic Negrito, Freelance
"Gael is an extremely gifted luthier with a deep understanding of how to maximize the potential of any double bass, and he possesses an innate ability to see exactly what a player needs from their instrument. I completely trust Gael with any work on my basses, from setups to complex restoration work. Quite simply, he has helped me to make my basses sound their absolute best!"
- Jeff Denson, D.M.A.
International Touring and Recording Artist
Professor - California Jazz Conservatory
"I met Gael McKeon in 2011 and quickly came to value his skill as a luthier and his honesty as a shop owner. Gael has done a number of repairs on my main bass. I have also seen his work on many colleagues’ basses, and have sent students to have work done on their instruments. Gael’s work has consistently been top notch.
In addition to repair work Gael has come to speak at events I organize for bassist here in San Francisco that attract more than one hundred bassists participating, performing and in audience. As a player himself Gael can appreciate the value of a good set-up and the general health of an instrument. I would recommend his work without reservation to bassists of any level."
- Richard Duke
Director- Golden Gate Bass Camp San Francisco, San Francisco Winter Bass Bash
Teaching Artist- San Francisco Symphony- Music and Mentors Program.
Bassist - TangoNero - Argentine Tango Quartet.
"I have a 125 year old bass and so it has its issues. I finally took it to Gael and we had a wonderful discussion about how to fix its most tenacious problems. Gael presented many options and we agreed to a plan of action. When I picked up my bass after Gael's administrations, it was a totally marvelous transformation and at a very fair price. I was very sad about the news of him moving as it is so hard to find a really good luthier who works on basses and loves them. I would recommend Gael to any bassist as a top quality craftsman."
- Karen Zimmerman
Bassist, Santa Rosa Symphony
Principal Coach of the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Ensembles
Bachelor and Master Degrees, Juilliard School