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A Viennese "Schrammel guitar." Schrammelgitarre.jpg
A Viennese "Schrammel guitar."

The contraguitar or Schrammel guitar is a type of guitar developed in Vienna in the mid-nineteenth century. In addition to the usual guitar neck with six strings and a fretboard, it has a second, fretless neck with up to nine bass strings. Customarily these additional strings are tuned from E-flat downwards. The lowest string on the 15-string contraguitar is usually tuned to G.

Guitar fretted string instrument

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.


Viennese instrument maker Johann Gottfried Scherzer developed the instrument after 1848, improving on earlier, unfinished efforts by Johann Georg Stauffer (17781853), the master from whom Scherzer had learned his craft.

This page is mainly based on a translation of the German Wikipedia article, locatedhere.

The contraguitar is heard almost exclusively in Viennese folk music, especially Schrammelmusik. Occasionally it is also used in Alpine folk music.


Schrammelmusik is a style of Viennese folk music originating in the late nineteenth century and still performed in present-day Austria. The style is named for the prolific folk composers Johann and Josef Schrammel.

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    See also

    Acoustic guitar type of guitar

    An acoustic guitar is a guitar that produces sound acoustically by transmitting the vibration of the strings to the air—as opposed to relying on electronic amplification (see electric guitar). The sound waves from the strings of an acoustic guitar resonate through the guitar's body, creating sound. This typically involves the use of a sound board and a sound box to strengthen the vibrations of the strings. In standard tuning the guitar's six strings are tuned (low to high) E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4.

    The Combolin was invented by Roy Williamson of The Corries in the summer of 1969. The combolin combined several instruments into a single instrument. One combined a mandolin and a guitar, the other combined guitar and the Spanish bandurria, the latter being an instrument Williamson had played since the early days of the Corrie Folk Trio.

    Multi-neck guitar guitar that has multiple fingerboard necks

    A multi-neck guitar is a guitar that has multiple fingerboard necks. They exist in both electric and acoustic versions. Although multi-neck guitars are quite common today, they are not a modern invention. Examples of multi-neck guitars and lutes go back at least to the Renaissance.