I purchased the SOLO Paetzold Contrabass and soft case from the Early Music Shop online 9 months ago. I had been playing a wooden Paetzold contra for several years on-loan in my recorder orchestra in California, USA, and decided I would buy one so we could have two Contras playing in the orchestra. I love this instrument, even more than the wooden Paetzold! The best things about it are a) the light weight, so much lighter than the Maple instrument and that makes it easier to play; b) the sound carries much better in large auditoriums and in larger ensembles than the wooden one; c) the price makes is affordable for pretty much anyone who is a recorder lover. The only criticism of the instrument is that it plays flatter than the wooden one. It took me about 2 months to get used to that and to be able to play at 440 pitch. I don't know if it was me learning the instrument, or the instrument "breaking in", but I was ready to return it after the first week because of that. I'm glad I didn't! It's certainly a keeper. One other note -- I was amazed at the service from the Early Music Shop. I was a little nervous purchasing an instrument in England all way from my home in California. But the staff at EMS were great at answering questions, and shipping was FAST (it took longer to receive an instrument I ordered from VonHuene in Boston than it did to receive the Paetzold from UK to California!). I'm glad I had a chance to finally write this review after enjoying the instrument for 9 months!