Sub-great bass recorder

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The sub-great bass recorder, also known as contra great bass and contrabass (Lasocki 2001), is a recorder with the range C–d1 (g1).[citation needed] It is manufactured in both bent ("knick") and square designs. The design with a square or rectangular cross-sections was first patented in 1975 by Joachim and Herbert Paetzold. They are made from plywood and have a doubled-back bore like a bassoon, which reduces the exterior length of the instrument. They also have wooden keys (Lasocki 2001). Through this special and proprietary design, the instrument can be played with a very short bocal.

The English recorder player Michael Barker has combined a Paetzold contrabass recorder with two computer-controlled synthesizers to create what he calls a "midified blockflute" (Lasocki 2001).

The sub-great bass recorder was developed by Herbert Paetzold in Ebenhofen. Today, this recorder size is produced and distributed by the workshop Kunath under the brand name "Paetzold by Kunath".


  • Lasocki, David. 2001. "Recorder". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.