The contrabassoon, also known as the double bassoon or bass bassoon, is a larger version of the bassoon, sounding an octave lower. Its technique is similar to its smaller cousin, with a few notable differences.
The reed is considerably larger, at 65–75 mm in total length (and 20mm wide) as compared to 53–58 mm for most bassoon reeds. The large blades allow ample vibration that produces the low register of the instrument. The contrabassoon reed is similar to an average bassoon’s in that scraping the reed affects both the intonation and response of the instrument. Fingering is slightly different, particularly at the register change and in the extreme high range. The instrument is twice as long, curves around on itself twice, and, due to its weight and shape, is supported by an endpin rather than a seat strap. Additional support is sometimes given by a strap around the player’s neck. A wider hand position is also required, as the primary finger keys are widely spaced. The contrabassoon has a water key to expel condensation and a tuning slide for gross pitch adjustments. The instrument comes in a few pieces (plus bocal); some models cannot be disassembled without a screwdriver. Sometimes, however, the bell can be detached, and instruments with a low A extension often come in two parts.
Price: $10,899.99 – $30,661.00
About the Contrabassoon
The Happy Farmer