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shanespeal

$595.00

1912 Celestaphone Instrument - Museum Quality

Image of 1912 Celestaphone Instrument - Museum Quality

From Shane Speal's personal collection and seen on his TikTok channel. 110-year old Celestaphone hammered zither, VG+ condition.

- Includes original case.
- No cracks, no restoration needed.
- Museum quality.
- A couple strings have been replaced with appropriate guitar strings.

This is the grand version of the legendary Marxophone instrument heard on The Doors' "Alabama Song."

The Celestaphone is a fretless zither played via a system of metal hammers. It features two octaves of double melody strings in the key of C major (middle C to C''), and four sets of chord strings (C major, G major, F major, and D7). Sounding somewhat like a mandolin, the Marxophone's timbre is also reminiscent of various types of hammered dulcimers.

The player typically strums the chords with the left hand. The right hand plays the melody strings by depressing spring steel strips that hold small lead hammers over the strings. A brief stab on a metal strip bounces the hammer off a string pair to produce a single note. Holding the strip down makes the hammer bounce on the double strings, which produces a mandolin-like tremolo. The bounce rate is somewhat fixed, as it is based on the spring steel strip length, hammer weight, and string tension—but a player can increase the rate slightly by pressing higher on the strip, effectively moving its pivot point closer to the lead hammer.

Shipping: $50 (ships to US only)