About Us

Specialists in the sale of professional quality old double basses and bows.

Located in the UK, we are a company passionate about the double bass. Our aim is to offer you an instrument of unquestionable authenticity and structural soundness – an instrument that will complement you’re playing and prove in time to be a worthy investment.

We know exactly what type of instrument musicians are seeking.

Over the years the The Contrabass Shoppe has acquired an international reputation for meticulously presented instruments that possess the most exceptional levels of both volume and tone. On offer is a truly mouth-watering inventory of fine Italian, English, French and German instruments with a price range starting at about £5,000 and rising to investment quality instruments in the £300,000 region.

We pride ourselves on the fact that each double bass is presented in the finest playing condition possible.

So that each instrument can be tried and tested without compromise, all of our instruments have been meticulously overhauled or rebuilt by restorers of the highest calibre utilising only the finest of seasoned woods and fittings.

Above all, should you be considering buying, selling or part exchanging an instrument or bow at this moment or at some point in the future, our ethos is focused on providing you with a friendly service and as much support and advice as you require.

You will definitely find your dream double bass here.

Anthony Houska, Director of The Contrabass Shoppe Ltd.

Anthony studied double bass at the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded both the Stainton Dalby Scholarship and in two successive years the Martin Musical Scholarship. He gained his professional certificate in July 1981.

Anthony has a wide experience of orchestral music from playing as a freelance musician with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 1989 Anthony became a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra where he was privileged to work under such eminent conductors as Sir George Solti, Sir Andrew Davis, Bernard Haitink, Klaus Tennstedt, Zubin Mehta, and Kurt Masur to name but a few. Struggling to combine the demands of the orchestra with his rapidly expanding instrument business, Anthony relinquished his position with the LPO at the end of the 1995 season.

Brought up in a positive art and antiques environment and with skills in both woodwork and metalwork, Anthony took a strong interest in the history, construction and trade of old violins, making his first serious violin purchase in 1980 at the age of twenty. His articles published by Orpheus Publications Ltd in both the “Strad” and "Double Bassist" magazines have been well acknowledged. They reveal the true extent of his passion for stringed-instruments and his experience in the profession.

In 2018, Anthony was acknowledged for his assistance and generosity in allowing a number of his company's exceptional instruments to be included in the publication “The English Double Bass” by Thomas Martin, Martin Lawrence and George Martin. When added to the fine and rare instruments featured in the book that were sold through his hands in the past, the combined total of eleven represents a significant proportion of the book. Anthony is further acknowledged by the authors for his hard work and support in helping compile and research the chapter on “Other Makers” and for his proof reading of the publication.

Anthony gains much pleasure from the many exciting facets of running what is a highly specialised business and most especially when a badly neglected double bass or bow is restored to its original glory and returned into the hands of a player for him or her to make music.