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 Contra bassoon
Author: Jaysne 
Date:   2006-11-15 03:19

I'm curious about this wonderful instrument. What companies make them?

What is a typical selling price range for a new horn?

Do people ever have used contras for sale? What do they usually go for?

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: Sebastian 
Date:   2006-11-17 03:02

LOTS of companies make Contras. I'd suggest a Fox or Heckel. They have a huge variety of costs but usualy I think about like 28 thousand Canadian dollars (like 25 thousand US) but like bassoon they vary, and also depends what extras you want on it.

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-11-18 07:22

If you want a good contra that is indeed good value for money (and a lot less than all the others), you can't go wrong with an Amati contra.


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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: DressedToKill 
Date:   2006-11-19 17:25

I second that. The Amati instruments have come a LOOONG way, and their contras are actually very, very, very nice.

I would also recommend that you consider trying an Adler, as they are also absolutely fantastic.

If money's no issue, or we're talking fantasy contrabassoons here, I'd go for the Arlen Fast-designed Fox contra, a Mollenhauer (THE gold standard for contras, as far as I'm concerned), or *insert swoon here* a Wolf Contraforte.

I'm trying to figure out what internal organs I can sell to get a Wolf.

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: John Chance 
Date:   2007-01-08 04:23

I own a special order Fox with two aux Ebs keys and two additional vent keys but it is not a Fast system. I also ordered the same configuration in a Moosmann Contra. I own a Moosmann 200A bassoon. I have only been playing bassoon in the last ten years and have been told that the Moosmann brand haqs improved substantially. I would not sell my Moosmann basoon for anything. As for the Wolf contrforte, I think they are only 21 K and I paid 25 K for each of my contrabassoons and I know quite a few people who would differe with you about alling a contraforte a contrabassoon. Just because it canbe used to play the same part, that would be like saying a bas oboe and a Heckelphone are the same because you can use either in the Planets. I own a Loree bass oboe and a Heckelphone and they are no more the same as a contrabassoon is to a contraforte. I personally don't like the contraforte and you don't se any in any major symphony, I'm willing to bet that it will never make it to the symphony. That is not to critize Wolf's work. I own one of his baroque bassoons and a modern Fagittino in F. I just placed an order with Wolf for his baroque oboe by Lempp.
Jon Tim Chance
PS: If you want to through your money away then purchase a cheap Amanti or Adler contra. You can always use it for firewood.

Jon Tim Chance

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: leigthom 
Date:   2007-01-11 17:32

I agree with Chris.P. I bought an Amati contra as a retirement present about 2 years ago. I've always wanted a contra even though I am an oboist and an occasional bassoonist. I have used it several times in concerts and everyone has commented on the appearance and sound of the instrument. In value for money terms it is unlikely to be beaten.

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: sandy 
Date:   2007-03-15 06:25

hi fellow contra mates!

i have never tried an amati contra but i have been playing on a fox for a few years and have just experienced a mollenhauer contra and its awesome!!! you dont even need to use special fingerings for the high register just use the same with octave keys!!! i must admit i found the tone quality is not as good as the fox but intonation and keywork makes life easy... and about the moosman bassoons, i do agree they have come along way but they need to find a way to make the middle F#'s not sharp in pitch!!!! i'm so frustrated from it...


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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2007-03-19 04:08

Before rejecting the Wolf ContraForte, you really, really need to hear it --particularly, as I did, playing a duo with a conventional contra. You like music with expressiveness, you'll note the stunning improvement.

I should mention that in this demo, the conventional contra was played by no slouch, Dr. Lynne Feller-Marshall.

The improvement is astounding --but the reed looks like a whiskbroom.

Bob Phillips

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-08-26 14:18

I've now got an Amati contra and it plays effortlessly and the tuning is excellent. Definitely the best value for money contra - though I haven't compared it to the more expensive ones to see how the tone quality and response differs. But I'm perfectly happy with this one as it looks, sounds and plays like a contra.

Also, for me it's loads easier to play than a bassoon (in terms of the more logical fingerings for the upper register notes) and I've just been rattling off the Gran Partita contra part without too much trouble!

A pro orchestral player tried it out before I picked it up, and he thought it's a great instrument - and that's coming from a Mollenhauer contra player.

Within the last few years since Amati had improved them from what they were, they've only gone and improved them even more since then! This one has an aux. Eb for the right thumb (above the Bb key) and an alternative Ab for the right thumb as well.

The left hand has rollers for the C and Eb keys to make sliding easier. The choice of better materials such as compressed felt for silencing linkages (replacing cork and low quality red felt as previously used) and good quality pads is also a plus. The action feels positive under the fingers, though the aux. Eb key (either for RH finger 1 or RH thumb) does tend to feel a bit on the sluggish side, though it does work.


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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: martinbaxter 
Date:   2009-01-10 15:55

I play a Gebr. Monnig (now taken over by Adler I think). Does anyone have experience of the Adler contra?

Phone 01229583504

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: Ian White 
Date:   2009-01-10 16:18

I owned an Adler contra made c12 years ago, until seduced by a Fox, & found it a very good instrument both quality of manufacture & intonation.
Having worked on many Adler & Amati instruments I do not understand how anyone can lump these two brands in the same league - without exception the Adlers, both bassoon & contra, are head & shoulders above the Amati. I have not played the latest models of either brand or Monnig though.

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: Lizziebeth 
Date:   2010-08-21 09:08

I'm looking to buy a Moosmann bassoon... for a intermediate student level.. would you reccomend it? Is it better than say a Fox or Schriber??


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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: super20bu6 
Date:   2016-10-11 07:20

So...I know this is an old post....but I "oppose" some of the comments about Amati Contra's. As others have said...these Contra's aren't bad. I have NO experience playing a Heckel or Fox or Mollenhauer.... I've only played this Amati Contra and have absolutely no complaints about it. It's in projects well.....and I've gotten many compliments on it's look and it's sound production. I know that many people dislike something that is not from one of the well known makers.....but I, for one, can not afford a Fox or Heckel Contra. So since I haven't played a Heckel or a Fox, I do not feel qualified to comment on if you haven't tried an Amati Contra lately, don't knock it....I do think you would be pleasantly surprised. As Chris P said 9 years ago, this Amati has the extra Eb touch and the Ab touch for the right thumb.
The case is well built.....metal "protectors" on each corner.....a handle on the end and 2 wheels on the opposite end. I'm a competent bassoonist and am still learning this Contra....but word is out that I, an amateur, have this Contra and have been hired more than once to play with a community orchestra to cover the Contra part.
My Amati may not be a Heckel....but it's what I could afford and I have absolutely no regrets with my decision.
Mark T.

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: Jaysne 
Date:   2016-10-28 18:55

Hey Mark,

I'm the OP (from 10 years ago!) and just happened upon your recent comment. Thank you! I have also heard good things about the Amati. I will never be able to afford something more expensive, so it's nice to know the Amati is around if I choose to go the contra route.


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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: super20bu6 
Date:   2021-11-18 01:41

Years later...and I still have loving this Amati Contra. I DID have an alternate C# for the left thumb added. But otherwise, not a single issue with this Contra. I've had great luck with Contra reeds by Kristopher King and some luck with Brundage Contra reeds. I also got a Leitzinger bocal when I got the contra...although the 2 supplied worked well, the Lietzinger just makes this Contra sing.

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 Re: Contra bassoon
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-12-17 00:29

I'm currently hiring my Amati contra to the local university for a production of 'A Christmas Carol' where I'm also playing cor anglais in, so it's good to hear the contra player has really taken well to my contra. He's definitely rattling the building with it!

The last time he had use of a contra was in a concert where we played Beethoven's 5th in February 2021 before the world ground to a halt, but that contra was a tired old Adler belonging to the county and it was lucky I brought my contra reeds along with me as I had a go on it and the LH main action wasn't working well due to a missing key cork. This was just before the concert and the only thing I could to to get it working was to pull up a piece of carpet thread and wrap it around the linkage so the split LH1 mechanism worked.

I had a glance at the current cost of contras and the Amati has shot up considerably. Also the Fox contra is far more expensive than the Mollenhauer.

I'm not sure of the current cost of Adler, Moennig, Moosmann or Wolf contras, but here's the current UK prices from Howarth's site from low to high:

Amati - £10500.00
Mollenhauer - £28650.00
Fox 900 - £36795.00
Fox 920 - £41075.00
Püchner -£43395.00


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