Kontragitarre Players

Our "Harp Guitar brothers and sisters" across the pond
Updated August, 2010


Q: What is the difference between a kontragitarre and a harp guitar?
A: "Harp Guitar" is both a specific name for certain instruments and also the common name for a huge family of newly classified instruments that
all fall under this definition.  "Kontragitarre" (German; "contra-guitar" in English) is the common name for certain generalized forms of Viennese and German harp guitars  - typically with anywhere from five to eleven sub-bass strings, built for gut (nylon) strings or sometimes silk & steel.  I haven't yet come across a specific date or instrument that first used the term - it likely became gradually accepted over some distant period just as "harp guitar" has done in more recent times.  Similarly, the term "bass-gitarre" - sometimes used to refer to even earlier 7-, 8-, 9- and 10-string harp guitars has no clear provenance, currying favor sometime after the 1850's.  Kontragitarres are sometimes referred to as bass-gitarres as well, though perhaps more commonly colloquially called Schrammelgitarres - after the form of music (Schrammelmusik, popularized by the 1880's Schrammel brothers quartet).  Most of the "harp guitarists" shown below play some form of Schrammelmusik, be it a "folk" version, a "classical" version - both of which would be considered "popular" (it may perhaps be just the manner of dress!) - or something original.  (Audio examples can be heard here) Virtually every listing describes the instrument as a "kontragitarre."  More on the confusing nomenclature and my organology of these instruments can be found here


Geoffrey Sisley, Contra-Guitarist
From B.M.G. magazine, May, 1962

Note: The entries below are in roughly alphabetical by either performer or ensemble. I don't have the benefit of firsthand knowledge of most of the performers or groups below.  Thus I do not differentiate between full or part-time professional players and more casual players, nor separate styles of music.  This list is condensed from Internet searches.   It is only the tip of the iceberg - there are dozens of other performers and CD listings that come up during a Google search.  I limited this (for now) to those with decent images and readily identifiable performers.  If you happen to find yourself on this page, please say hello!  If you think you should be on it, or have a new web link, just let me know.  - Gregg Miner

Also see the Music page.

Harpguitars.net is not affiliated with, nor endorses the music of, nor necessarily shares the
philosophical, political or religious views of any of the artists on this page.

Martin Blazek
Performs in a duo with button accordionist player Christian Tesak
Manfred Chromy
Performs with Oliver Gruen (Dobro, Guitar) as Texas
Andreas David

Performs with Katja Brauneis. Andreas is the first kontragitarrist to perform at the Harp Guitar Gathering

Jean Deschênes

Performs in several groups, including: Ensemble Johann Schrammel, Trio Kaffeehaus, and Transatlantik Schrammel.

Josef Focht Daniel Fuchsberger

Ensemble player

Glasscherben Quartett Emmerich Haimer Peter Havlicek
Performs in several duos and groups, including Walther Soyka Trio, Reinfried Schießler, Traude Holzer, Agnes Palmisano and Roland Sulzer
Peter Hirschfeld

Original kontragitarrist with the Philharmonia Schrammeln

Franz Horacek

Performs with Herbert Bäuml, Vienna Schrammeln and other groups

Heinz Hromada
One of the founding members of the Wiener Thalia Quartett, Hromada now performs with the Philharmonia Schrammeln
Georg Koller Rudi Koschelu

Performs with several groups

Robert Kotter

Performs wih Zornedinger Zithermusik

Liechtenthaler Quartett Malat Schrammeln

Melodia-Trio Die Metropol Schrammeln

Features Eveline Mörth on kontragitarre

Susanne Mohr

Performs with her brother and sister

Oberdoarfar Zithertrio Stephan Paryla-Raky Franz Pelz  Peter Rauscher

Performs with Cremser Selection, Schrammelconsort Crems and Monas Melodiste

Richard "Ricci" Reinberger Scherrzitherduo Lipp Paul Skrepek

Performs with Kollegium Kalksburg and other groups

Duo Stadlmayr-Kroupa 

Klaus P. Steurer

Performs with Patrick Rutka on accordian

Heinz Stoiber Wolfgang Straka

Performs with Margit Pitamitz

Günter Strasser

Performs in several duos and trios

Kurt Tischlinger

Georg Weilguny Wiener Art Schrammeln

Features Kurt Obermair on kontragitarre

Wiener Donauschrammeln

Features Peter Heiling on kontragitarre

Wiener Frauen Schrammeln Marion Zib

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