Mandolin Guitarophone (Marxophone)

A Marxophone sampled in a variety of styles, and "Swarm"-style pads....

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


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

  • 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
  • Pick Your Own Sherlock Score

    I'm sure you'd pay good money for something of this quality. I've not had the chance to use it on any projects but its one of those I know I have in the locker if I ever got the call for a Victorian Detective series.

    Jim Sanger17 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