Introducing The Guntram Wolf Contraforte

September 13th, 2012 by

Guntram Wolf Contraforte

The contrabassoon as we know it today is nearly the same design first developed by Heckel in the mid 19th century. It was a short design process too, done at the request of Wagner for his immediate needs.

What would happen if you were to take the concept of a modern bassoon, and modern acoustical research and technology, and re-design from the ground up a new contrabassoon? The goal would be to solve acoustical problems of inconsistency in intonation and tone color, put the tone holes all facing in the same direction (towards the audience) and point the bell up for the best possible projection, modernize the keywork design with ergonomics in mind, and make the range to low A a standard. The result is the Contraforte, the new instrument designed and coproduced by Guntram Wolf and Benedikt Eppelsheim (the designer of world renowned saxophones like the Tubax and the Sopraillo).

  • Compact design
  • Very comfortable and ergonomic keywork
  • Properly located register keys allowing for 4+ octaves of playable range with simple fingerings
  • Highest quality German materials and craftsmanship

Midwest Musical Imports is proud to be the first dealer in the United States to offer this instrument to American bassoonists.

Lewis Lipnick of the National Symphony Orchestra is now advocating for the instrument, and no longer plays a traditional contrabassoon. He recently performed the Aho concerto for contrabassoon (it was written for him) in Helsinki, Finland, and gave an interview demonstrating and talking about the instrument.


  1. So which bassoon has the best sound the regular bassoon, the contrabassoon, or the contraforte?

    Comment by Charleigh — October 13, 2014 @ 2:26 pm
  2. The contrabassoon and contraforte are both solutions to a bassoon instrument an octave lower. The contrabassoon is a design from the mid 19th century and is standard for many pieces in the orchestral rep. The contraforte is a new design that has a very different bore and sound/response. Many players prefer the sound, response, and range of the contraforte as an improvement of the contrabassoon, but change happens slowly. This is largely a matter of taste. The normal bassoon is in a different category all-together, and it’s best not to compared the bassoon itself to either other instrument as “better”.

    ~Trent Jacobs
    bassoon specialist

    Comment by Trent — October 15, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

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I definitely plan to send my oboe to the repair techs at MMI in the future. I don't think my oboe has played this well since I've purchased it!