The story

The Marxophone is a fretless zither played via a system of metal hammers. It was invented by Charles Marx in 1912. It features two octaves of double melody strings in the key of C major (middle C to C”).

I bought my instrument from a pawn shop in Philadelphia. It was made between 1915 – 1920 by the Oscar Schmidt Company in Jersey City, NJ. I had to do some work on it to get it back into a playable state (replacing zither pegs and strings), but I think it was worth it.

NOTE: My instrument is “technically” not a Marxophone because the Oscar Schmidt Company didn’t own the rights to the Marxophone name until they merged with the Phonoharp Company in 1926.


– Hammer: The classic Marxophone sound
– Pick: Picked with a guitar pick. A classic fretless zither sound.
– Pick – Unison: All Pick samples being triggered at the same time.
– Hammer Swarm 1: The Hammer sound from above, but 4 voices simulatenously looping.
– Hammer Swarm 2: The Hammer sound from above, but 15 voices simulatenously looping.
– Hammer Swarm 3: A media composer pad: the Hammer sound from above heavily processed to create a cinematic pad.

Formats: Kontakt 5.8.1, SFZ

Reviews for Mandolin Guitarophone (Marxophone)

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Where does he get those wonderful toys..

    Thank you again David for another personal favorite. The recording itself is fantastic on this, but the versatility of the different patches... I think my favorite might be the Hammers patch, it has that pluck sound that I can use for melodies or arpeggios, but it has this fantastic harsh edge to it. The Plucks are also great, but it was a really good idea building a Swarm style instrument out of this. I'm starting a new project this weekend and I'll be using this in it if I can. The 15 voice swarm, I found that I have to be careful how many notes to play, either single notes or very simple chords work the best. But the ability to switch 4 and 15 voices it awesome! Lastly, the Shimmer Blackhole is a really special ambient pad, almost having an element of metallic air. Fantastic instrument whether as a solo instrument or something really abstract.

    Ada MaskilSamplist 07 November 2021
  • Simply Amazing

    This is such an awesome instrument, one of my favorites on the site and finds its way into most of my work, even if it only appears for a few seconds. The swarms are so amazing and you get all the options you need, from clearly hearing each pluck of the string to something that almost resembles a pad and everything in-between. I love ambient types of music and swarms are the best. When you hold down a chord with these swarms you get such an awesome effect. This is so well done. As far as the single plucked instrument goes i much prefer Joshua Meltzers mandolin. It has very distinct round robins and sounds so much more interesting and realistic. I think the swarms in this library make it really special and again its one of my most used an favorites

    septemberwalk28 October 2021
  • Very detailed sampled, nice library!!

    It gives many selections - hammer with multiple voices. Sound quality is excellent and it is a lot of fun to play with!

    Asuka Amane25 October 2021
  • Currently My Most Used Pianobook Instrument

    The music I love to make includes many acoustic stringed instruments, this instrument is a fantastic texture to sprinkle in.

    TrooperBooper12 October 2021
  • The swarms got me good!

    The single instrument is sampled really well with no apparent noise, but it lacks dynamics and character in my opinion. You will find ADSR options but I think in this case they are not needed. The unison patch adds some more to it for sure, but the real fun begins with the Swarm patches! If you combine them carefully together, you can achieve some amazing soundscapes, but that's all programming by you.

    Alex Raptakis16 October 2021
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