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Discography Introduction

Here's a list of recordings and musicians that use ukelin, violin-uke, marxolin, marxophone, pianolin and some related instruments. The ukelin is by far the most popular fretless zither, followed by marxophone.

I find ukelin use to fall into one or another of two categories: Traditional or Progressive.

- Traditional seeks to play the instrument as originally intended: with numeric notation, melody strings bowed and chord strings accompanying. (Pop Spencer, Catheryn Wellner, John Doan, Katherine Rhoda). On occasion this charge has been headed by old-time fiddling great Garry Harrison, who's collection of fretless zithers is unparalleled.

- Progressive has no restrictions on method of playing. We find alternative tunings (modes, microtones, just intonation) . We find alternative playing methods (bowhammers, two bows, plucking). We even find the ukelin used to make a larger instrument (Corpus Callosum's The Willard Van Orville Quinn). The ukelin is in genres ranging from pop (k.k. lang, Mathew Sweet) , contemporary classical (Philip Glass, Duane Pitre), celtic (Loreena McKennitt) to religious (The Living Truth). I'd like to make special mention of the acid-folk genre, where the ukelins's haunting and evocative character has found a home (P.G. Six, Nick Castro, The Ten Thousand Things, MV& EE with the Bummer Road).

Most ukelinists share an eclecticism, including multi-instrumental abilities that defy categorization (Carla Kihlstedt of Tin Hat, Molotov Arc, John Sandin). It can be safely said that ukelinists are an interesting lot.

To be clear, there is no professional musician who plays ukelin exclusively at this time. The ukelin is a secondary instrument at best, usually a novelty for effect. I have long hoped for a ukelin revival on the magnitude of the ukulele. This is far from happening at this time.

However, I have conducted interviews with professional musicians who use the ukelin in a section I'm calling The Ukelin Five.

It's quite telling that these discographies are small. The ukelin world is still so tiny that one page can list every known recording. This list would make for one strange CD collection.

Please tell me of any and all ukelin and ukelin-related instrument recordings that you unearth. Rest assured, if someone plays a ukelin out there, we'll find them.


Ukelin and Violin-Uke Discography Index


The Greater Binghamton Ukelin Orchestra
Fiona Apple
Cary Berger
Fred W. Baue
Bob Buzas
Nick Castro

Bill and Rosi Caswell
Chad and Jeremy
Cloud Chamber

Phil Cohran

Corpus Callosum

Wes Covey
John Doan

Edison Suit

Dale C. Evans

Eric Gaffney
Andy Goessling
(with The Secret Admirers)
Pat Gubler
Garry Harrison
James Rufus Hartman
Sam Hinton
The Holt Twins
Paul Kalbach
k. d. lang

Carla Kihlstedt
Jaron Lanier
Brett Larner
The Living Truth
Michael Masley
Maureen May
Debbie McClatchy
Loreena McKennitt
Christian McShane
Gregg Miner
Molotov Arc

Shawn Mullins

Kurt Munkacsi (Philip Glass)
J. and H. Murphy
MV & EE with Bummer Road
Thomas Newman Shawn O'Brien
Of Cabbages and Kings
P.G. Six
The Perth County Conspiracy
Duane Pitre
Hal Rammel

Katherine Rhoda
Sally Rodgers
John Sandin

Chris Sayer
The Singing Saw Gazette
Pop Spencer

Strapping Field Hands
The Ten Thousand Things
Joe Tunis

wax ghost
Catheryn Wellner

Barry Wood

Misc. Ukelin Shout-Outs
Misc. Related Instruments


Marxolin Discography Index

Barbara F Gregory Frank Pahl
(with Luc Houtkamp)
Pneumershonic Survivalists


Marxophone Discography Index

Tyler Bates
LD Beghtol
(with Moth Wranglers,
The Three Terrors, Flare)
LD Beghtol
(with The Magnetic Fields)
Cary Berger 
Rob Burger
(with Tin Hat Trio)
T Bone Burnette 
(with Julia Darling)

Mike Campbell

(with Tom Petty)

Carlene Carter

Jude Cole
Rob Crow
(with Pinback)

John Doan
The Doors
Forest Fang

Mitchell Froom

(with Bonnie Raitt)

Funderburk Minor

Andy Goessling
(with Railroad Earth)
Ian Kearey
Larry Klein
(with Anne McCue)

Lev Liberman

Michael Lockwood
(with Aimee Mann)
Kirsty McGee
Stephin Merritt

(with The Magnetic Fields)
Brendan O'Brien

Ray Pohlman
(with Ian Whitcomb)

Steve Scholbe
(with Biota)
Patricia Shih
Patrick Warren
(with Aimee Mann)
Warren Zevon

Misc. Marxophone Shout-Outs


Pianolin Discography Index

Stephen Merritt
(with The 6ths)
Claudia Schmidt Steve Tibbetts


Ukelin and Violin-Uke Discography

Artists The Greater Binghamton Ukelin Orchestra
(Left to right) John Kleske, Alda Kleske, John Thomson, Johanna Masters, Nancy Lee
Instrument Ukelins (4!)

Kelly Williams reports on a Ukelin Band loose in New York State:

"A Ukelin Orchestra had some brief existence, some time in the past 10 or 20 years, in Binghamton, NY. A fellow named John Kleske was instrumental in its formation. I saw him a year or two ago at the Cranberry Dulcimer Gathering, held in Binghamton, and he had a Ukelin Orchestra T shirt, which, as I recall, featured earmuffs rather prominently."

I wrote John Kleske and he sent me the photo above of The Greater Binghamton Ukelin Orchestra from their premier (and possibly only) performance. Note that Ms. Alda Kleske (second from left, not a group member) expresses anti-ukelin sentiments by sporting earmuffs and a tee-shirt bearing the red 'no-no' symbol through the ukelin.

Here, at long last, is the full story of The GBUO.

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artists Fiona Apple
Instrument Violin-Uke(?)

James writes about a Violin-Uke sighting:

I noticed in the booklet of Fiona Apple's 1999 "When the Pawn..." album, there's a picture of the studio and sitting on a piano is a violin-uke! It's not explicitly mentioned in the instrument credits, but it sounds like it's being plucked near the end of the song "The Way Things Are".

Good eyes (and ears) James!

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top


 Artist  The Perth County Conspiracy | Fred W. Baue
Instrument Ukelin
Album Does Not Exist (Columbia ELS 375, Canada 1970)
Out of Print - No Reissue

 The Canadian band The Perth County Conspiracy was a progressive psychedelic band, and this was their "awesome acid folk epic". They have been compared to Nick Drake, The Incredible String Band and CSN&Y.

A review in Lysergia tells us the album ends with an "inventive use of a ukelin to provide the lead as this masterpiece of melancholy draws to its inevitable close".

Fred W. Baue wrote in!

I had a fling with the ukelin back in the Sixties/Seventies. I'm from St. Louis, and one day in 1968 I was in the old Hunleth Music Store downtown and saw this wierd thing behind the counter. What is it? I asked. A ukelin. OK... so I bought it for $10 or so, took it home, tuned it up, and started to work up some tunes on it. Sounded like a dying cat at the bottom of a well. I was playing a lot of coffeehouses and folk festivals in those days, and I must say when I brought this thing out it caused a sensation. Ended up in the Detroit-Toronto folk circuit in 1969. People heard me play, one thing led to another, I was invited to the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1970 and 71 where I participated in the Unusual Instruments Workshop. Also I was involved in those days with Cedric Smith and Richard Keelan in a music group/theater troupe/hippie commune called The Perth County Conspiracy. Their regular gig was at the Black Swan in Stratford, Ontario. They were recording their first LP at that time and invited me to play my ukelin on the record... the main song, in fact, called "Crucifixion Cartoon." You can hear this on YouTube. And yes, that's me on the ukelin, aspiring to high art with a lowbrow instrument.

The summer of 1969 I played my ukelin as part of a two-man combo (myself and artist/musician Ken Wolverton) called "The Olde Gazornenblatt Revue." Old San Francisco folk music pal Debbie McClatchy [also in the Ukelin Discography], who is still active in music, dubbed my ukelin "the Gazornenblatt" when she first heard it. Ken and I played all around Colorado--Denver (Harry Tufts' The Green Spider), Boulder, Aspen (The Jerome Hotel), Snowmass, Colorado Springs (Nemeth's El Tejon), Pueblo, etc. Ken Wolverton is a muralist these days and lives in Santa Fe, NM.

When I relocated to Detroit and began playing gigs in Ontario, I was good friends with Eric Nagler, who ran the Toronto Folklore Center, songwriter Bruce Cockburn, singer Mose Scarlett, and luthier Jean-Claude Larivee, who was just starting out back then. those guys all still remember me, and we keep in touch.
Just a thought... back in the Sixties were rediscovering all these decrepit old bluesmen who had been minor figures in the music scene of the Twenties. Seems to me that the time is about ripe for the kids of today to rediscover a decrepit old folkie like myself who was a minor figure in the music scene of the Sixties.  Please pass this information on to the Newport Folk Festival... (ha!).

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Bob Buzas
Instrument Ukelin
Album Soundtrack for the Motion Picture: Investigating Sex

I, your genial ukelin host Bob Buzas, can be heard playing ukelin (and irish harp) on Ulf Skogsbergh's soundtrack for Alan Rudolph's independent movie Investigating Sex. I used the ukelin to evoke surrealism, especially the intriguing mix of the sensual and the cerebral / subconscious. The ukelin added a spooky strangeness that's pure Andre Breton. I loved playing beneath Julie Delphy (who I adore) and Alan Cumming (who ran away with the show), not to mention the rest of the fine cast. The movie, sadly, has yet to be released. The film is edited and completed, and, outstanding onscreen performances notwithstanding, has yet to find a distributor. Here's The New York Times review from the U.S. premiere at the 2001 Seattle Film Festival:

Investigating Sex. A group of bohemian intellectuals struggle to have an intelligent discussion of perhaps the world's most emotional subject in this comedy-drama from director Alan Rudolph. Edgar (Dermot Mulroney) is an artist living in Paris during the 1920s who believes that sex is a subject of vital importance, but almost no one discusses it with the gravity it deserves. With this in mind, Edgar gathers together a panel of fellow creative types at the home of a wealthy tycoon (Nick Nolte) and his oddly accented spouse (Tuesday Weld) for an evening in which they will discuss their erotic lives without self-serving wit or exaggeration. Joining Edgar for this experiment is an artist from Germany (Til Schweiger), an arrogant film director (Jeremy Davies), a self-obsessed painter (Alan Cumming) whose fey personality may cross the boundaries of Edgar's prohibition of homosexuality as a topic of conversation, and a student from England (Terrence Dashon Howard) who has attracted the eye of a lovely French girl (Julie Delpy) with whom Edgar has fallen in love. Certain that a number of profound thoughts will be shared with the group, Edgar hires a pair of stenographers to record the proceedings, but the presence of the two young and beautiful secretaries -- innocent Alice (Neve Campbell) and provocative Zoe (Robin Tunney) -- has an unexpectedly strong effect on the group. Investigating Sex had its U.S. premiere as the closing night attraction of the 2001 Seattle Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Nick Castro (right)
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Ukelin Suite
Album A Spy in the House of God
  The ukelin an apt sound for psych-folk. On Ukelin Suite Nick Castro combines mulitracks of bowing and picking, creating a haunting mood with a melody that gets stuck in my head.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Bill and Rosi Caswell
Instruments Ukelin, Mandolin-Guitar, Bell-Harp, Tremeloa
  This duo plays zither hybrids in their Old-Time Variety Show as seen and heard on Austin City Limits, Hee Haw and A Prairie Home Companion.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Chad and Jeremy
Instrument Ukelin
Recording Of Cabbages And Kings

This 60s British Pop-Duo tuned up and turned on the ukelin along with plenty-o-strings.

In an parralell ukelin universe, a group named Of Cabbages And Kings also uses the ukelin. Look here.

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Phil Cohran
Instrument Violin Uke
Album Interplanetary Music
  Read about Phil Cohran's cosmic playing here: Contemporary Milestones: The Schillinger System and Ancient Tuning Systems.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Corpus Callosum
Instrument The Willard Van Orville Quinn
Piece Alice

What happens when you mate a ukelin with an industrial-sized musical saw? The members of Corpus Callosum tell us:

The Willard Van Orville Quinn is an instrument engineered on the sudden collaboration of Mr. Burke and Mr. Tran-Caffee. Ultimately, it is a mating of an oversized rectangular singing saw and an antique ukelin held together by clamps: the ukelin is affixed to the top of a human-sized piece of sheet metal (a neck extends from here), while the bottom of the metal is inserted into a groove in a stomp pad.

Standing with a foot on the stomp pad, the quinnist cradles the neck under her left arm, positioned about at the fifth or sixth rib, and bends the top of the sheet metal outward while letting the lower portion buckle towards her shins. The weight of the contraption will generally maintain this S-curve with a minimal amount of effort. The quinnist bends the metal either sharp or shallow, then strokes the right-hand edge at a node with a heavy bow (we use cello or bass) to create a note. In this manner, the WVO Quinn is capable of melodica pitch change by altering the degree of the curve, similar in mechanics to the singing saw. The ukelin's chord strings will resonate with the metal, adding an eerie echo. The immense width of the metal allows for an amazing range of harmonics, lending mostly to producing monstrous shrieking, sighing and tearing sounds. This is peculiar to a piece of metal it's size (three feet by five feet) and gauge (fairly thin), and is something that saws lack in their meek harmonic ranges. Secondly, the quinnist can bow the zither strings of the ukelin, creating scratchy, hallow violin tones. The sheet metal provides crude, metallic amplification, resonated by the strings. The curve of the metal can be thereafter altered, bending the resonated tone.

The WVO Quinn is currently being used in the song Alice to imitate the sound of two giant clockwork elephants. We have only built one to date, but aspire to refine the design as the opportunity arises: ideally, the metal should not be squared, but tapered (like a saw), to provide more precise control over the melodic manipulation. Also, the use of heavier gauge metal may improve the volume and tone. Either modification, however, will undoubtedly alter the harmonic range. We have also toyed the idea of stringing the metal from tip to toe, with a bridge at the belly, and playing it similar to a wash-bucket bass.

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Wes Covey | The Ten Thousand Things
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Untitled Ukelin Demo

Wes Covey plays a processed psyche-folk ukelin on his piece Untitled Ukelin Demo, listen to it now on his myspace page.

Be sure to read his Ukelin Five interview.

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist John Doan
Instrument Ukelin
Album Wrapped in White

John Doan plays harp guitar with ukelin and other instruments on Wrapped in White:

The short musical introductions you hear in this collection are presented on an assortment of authentic instruments that speak of the innocence of music making just for the love of it that fueled amateurism across America at the turn-of-the-century and brought delight to many homes. Back then, people were each others greatest asset in passing the time, and what seemed to matter most was that they shared part of themselves when they played music together

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Dale C. Evans
Instrument Ukelin
  "Homemade music is like homemade biscuits," ukelin performer Evans tells audiences. "There's something special about it."
Pass the butter.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Eric Gaffney
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Played on cover of Rebel Walt | The Clash
  London Calling, Ukelin answered. Perhaps the world's first case of Ukelin Punk. We hope it's not the last.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Andy Goessling | The Secret Admirers
Instrument Ukelin
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist James Rufus Hartman
Instrument Ukelin
Piece The Lamentation of the Angular Beast
  Hartman composed a ukelin lament for a wee highland terrier named Angus. This piece is played on 11 stringed archguitar by John Marsh Bigelow on his album Fantasy. Angular Beast was a term of endearment for Angus the terrier.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Sam Hinton
Instrument Ukelin
Piece La Paloma
  In 1937, Sam had the distinction of being the first (and perhaps last) person to play a ukelin on a coast-to-coast broadcast: The Original Major Bowes Amateur Hour. Read his account here.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Garry Harrison
Instrument Ukelin, Fretless Zithers

Garry Harrison was nothing short of an Old Time fiddle great. At an early age he learned fiddling straight from local Illinois old timers, preserving a tradition. His group, The Indian Creek Delta Boys, was voted the Official State String band of Illinois.

Later Garry and Jo Burgess preserved local Illinois Old Time music in a project called Dear Old Illinois: 3 CDs, a songbook/tunebook, and a comprehensive website.

Garry also created many original old-time fiddle tunes, notably the CD Red Prairie Dawn, which was voted best fiddle CD in the prestigious County Sales annual "Best of the Year" list.
His band The New Mules that included his daughter Genevieve, took the Traditional Band award at Clifftop.

In the late 1990s he took up what he came to call Fretless Zithers. Together with Jo Burgess and another ukelinist, he built an all-ukelin-and-fretless-zither-band in Bloomington, Indiana. He recorded material for a CD which, alas, was never released.

Garry wrote to me about hi requirements for instrumentation used in his Fretless Zither group:

1. Must be tuned with piano pins/wrench
2. Must be American, preferably from c.1890's-1940's (though later ones are acceptable, as long as the other requirements are met)
3. No stopped notes, open strings only
4. Designated four-string chords and gaudy gold decals a plus

Garry had the largest collection of Fretless Zithers. He generously donated his collection to Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) of Pheonix, Arizona -- scholars of these instruments take note.

Garry was truly a very talented musican and a good friend, and we're honored to have had him champion the fretless zither cause. He will be deeply missed.

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist The Holt Twins
Instrument Ukelin
  We're still unclear if one of both of the twins play ukelin, but they are one sassy pair!
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

 Artist Paul Kalbach
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Aeolian Dream
A pre-recorded aeolian (or wind-powered) ukelin was included as part of a longer tape delay performance piece.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist k.d. lang
Instrument Ukelin
Album All You Can Eat, 1995, Warner Bros. CD 46034-2
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Carla Kihlstedt of Tin Hat (formerly Tin Hat Trio)
Instrument Ukelin
Piece The Sad Machinery of Spring
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Jaron Lanier
Instruments Ukelin, Marxophone
Piece Thinning of the Veil: The Interpenetration of Realities
  Virtual Reality pioneer Jason Lanier includes a ukelin and marxophone in his performance battery of piano, saxophone-driven virtual world, ba wu, seljefloyte, quena, nishakusanzen, khaen, lu sheng et al. Using Virtual Reality-related stage effects, this piece was shown as a work-in-progress at the Kitchen, New York.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artists Brett Larner
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Meeting At Off Site Vol.
  The ukelin has reached the far side of the Pacific rim! Brett Larner plays an amplified ukelin with the Japanese improvisationalists NAKAMURA/TETUZI AKIYAMA, TOSHIMARU.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist The Living Truth
Instrument Ukelin
  This Christian group includes a ukelin in the lineup. Heaven or Hell?
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Michael Masley of Cloud Chamber
Instrument Ukelin
Comments Michael Masley applies to the ukelin a system of eight "bowhammers" and thumb picks that enable him to pick, bow or strike the strings in any combination.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artists Steve Lehner and Maureen May
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Ballad of the Buffalo
The Cherry Tree and the Bee
  For music to "capture and communicate in song the very soul of the great prairie", there's Steve Lehner and Maureen May's Ballad of the Buffalo. Maureen's ukelin "doesn't shout for attention . . . instead, it speaks with a quiet passion of the love for life that all people who are close to the earth know." Our ukelin, poet of the everyman. Who knew? Listen to the track The Cherry Tree and the Bee to hear hear a tradition, unadorned ukelin.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Debbie McClatchy
Instruments Ukelin, Tremoloa, Marophone.
  Folk singer Debbie McClatchy wrangles these assorted "lost" instruments.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Loreena McKennitt
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Moon Cradle
Album Parallel Dreams
  The ukelin contains a haunting quality befitting Loreena, first lady of esoteric instruments. In an interview she claimed her ukelin was an "Appalachian experiment". Who knows, maybe hers was.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artists Christian McShane / Charlie Parr
Album Rooster
  On Charlie Parr's fourth album Christian McShane plays "the devil’s own ukelin". Finally, we find out the ukelin's true inventor! We suspected this all along.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Gregg Miner
Instrument Ukelin
Album A Christmas Collection
  Just in time for Christmas (is it?). The ukelin and all stringly things tune up and turn out on Gregg Miner's album A Christmas Collection (set of 2 CDs or tapes, with a 52 pg booklet). Check out his amazing collection of instruments on The Miner Museum of Vintage, Exotic, and Just Plain Unusual. Sexy ukelin shot with it's relatives on the zither page.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Molotov Arc
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Reticence
Album The Ones Who Keep The Machines Functioning
  Violent-ambient soundscapists Molotov Arc's piece Reticence is a "nanotet for massed ukelins. some splicing involved..." download the mp3 here.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Kurt Munkacsi
Instrument Ukelin
  "Sound designer" Kurt Munkacsi used ukelin (and other instruments) in a Philip Glass digital opera to evoke a sound "redolent of desert heat and spices".
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Shawn Mullins / Matthew Sweet
Instrument Ukelin
  Shawn Mullins of The Thorns plays ukelin while Matthew Sweet sings. Listen to the songs here.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist J. and H. Murphy
Instruments Ukelin, Autoharp
  A 1973 field recording of J. and H. Murphy playing the ukelin and autoharp can be found in the World Soundscape Field Recording Library from Canada.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist MV& EE with the Bummer Road
(Matt Valentine & Erika Elder)
Instrument Ukelin
Album Mother Of Thousands
  MV, EE and BR play "the usual assortment of mystic strings" for a sound like "rural raga vibrations, and big woozy doses of haunted folk-blues".
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Thomas Newman
Instrument Ukelin
  This composer included a ukelin in his atmospheric soundtrack for the movie In the Bedroom.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Sean O'Brien of I See Spots and Alice Despard Group
Instruments Ukelin / Bass Guitar
Album Cantilevered / I See Spots Arlingtone Records
  Cantilevered has an "as-seen-on-Antiques Roadshow ukelin" that lives within the context of "a subtly insinuating tunefulness".
Alice Despard Group plays jangly guitar-driven folk rock with electronic squiggles.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Of Cabbages And Kings
Instrument Ukelin
Recording Basic Pain, Basic Pleasure (Triple X records)
  Background info: they're from New York and have connections to The Swans. Thanks to Russ Reid for this information.
In an odd twist, there's an ablum called Of Cabbages and Kings by the group Chad and Jeremy's.
Check it out.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist P.G. Six / Pat Gubler
Instrument Ukelin
Pieces Old Man on the Mountain, The Well of Memory Part I, The Well of Memory Part II from the album The Well of Memory
Letter to Lilli St Cyr
from the album
Parlor Tricks And Porch Favorites

Our incredible stringed ukelin lends a hand to an Incredible String Band-esque P.G. Six, a sonically diverse virtuoso upstate New York artist. His ukelin-ing "sounds like he's fiddling with the innards of an old clock", a sound we know and love.

Be sure to read Pat's Ukelin Five interview.

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Duane Pitre
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Comprovisation for Justly Tuned Ukelin

Duane Pitre has the distinction of being the first artist to tune his ukelin to the musical system of Just Intonation. Duane sometimes opens shows with his piece Justly Tuned Ukelin (hear it on his myspace page). A prior guitarist for The Camera Obscura, Duane is creating some haunting tracks.

Be sure to read Duane Ukelin Five interview.

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Katherine Rhoda
Instruments Ukelin, Pianolin, Marxophone
Albums Katherine Rhoda
Music in the Air: Boston Street Musicians Vol. 1

Katherine Rhoda plays "joyful tunes and songs of freedom, struggle, and spirit... mixed with the beauty of traditional forgotten instruments such as the ukelin, the marxophone, and the violin-guitar." As the handwritten note on the cassette case says "Buy it naked! Boycott excess packaging!". Right on. Send $5-10 sliding scale (pay what you can) + $2 post. to Katherine Rhoda, PO Box 563, Bethlehem, NH 03574. CDs now available! Just add $5.

Be sure to hear the ukelin clips on the recordings section of her site.

  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Sally Rodgers
Instrument Ukelin, found on an album she did with Claudia Schmidt.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist John Sandin
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Golconda
  John Sandin, formerly of the experimental group LARD, has a complex relationship with his ukelin. LARD consisted of John Sandin and Steve Sweigart heard on four tapes of experimental "difficult music" created between 1983 to 1985 on Religious Records and Manor Multimedia label respectively. (For all you in the know, it's NOT the Lard founded by beloved Dead Kennedy member Jello Biafra, but an entirely different LARD, so let's get it straight.) Here is an mp3 of John Sandin's ukelin piece entitled Golconda. (Golconda © copyrighted 2000)
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Chris Sayer
Instrument Ukelin, Harp Zither, Mandolin Guitar
  This Singer/Songwriter somehow manages to play all these instruments and sing.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist The Singing Saw Gazette | Hal Rammel
Instrument Ukelin
  It's only a matter of time before someone combined the eerie sound of the bowed saw with the eerie sound of the ukelin. Check out the tracks Ukelin Saw and Ukelin and Saw Duet on the myspace page to hear these bowed buddes together.
  Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Artist Pop Spencer
Instrument Ukelin and Fretless Zithers

Pop Spencer, (pictured left playing the marxolin in signature bow tie, suspenders and bowler hat) is the grandmaster of these stringed hybrid instrument. He collected instruments and information long before the advent of the internet, and deserves recognition for keeping the torch lit. He writes:

"I have been playing the ukelin for 25 years, I have played 15 different ones. The first ones were made in East Boston Mass. I have one that was sold to the first owner with the contract dating June 6 1926. I have a musical act and I have 17 different musical antiques I play. Also there is 4 other similar instruments which is played the same way , a Hawaiian art violin -banjolin- guitarolin-and violinuke. Many of these were sold by sales men going from door to door. I have a 9 minute video of my act showing how I play them. $10.00 I will ship. Pop Spencer 1343-3 Hecker Road Waterloo, NY 13165." Or email Pop at

Here's part of what has to say about Pop Spencer. Be sure to read their complete review of his "Old Memories" DVD.

Elder statesman of the fretless zither Harold "Pop" Spencer spent his working life as a building tradesman and car and truck mechanic. These skills show in his relationship with the instruments he plays, as he had to restore and in some cases completely rebuild some of them. Now 76 years of age, he grew up during the latter part of the fretless zither's active production lifespan and thus represents a living link to that time. In that regard, he may well be unique.

Pop Spencer is one of those rare individuals who is possessed of the right combination of resourcefulness, independence, musical aptitude, and reverence for both things historical and things odd and unusual...all the things a player of fretless zithers is made of. And indeed he does play them. He shares his collection of fretless zithers and his performances on each of them in a video recording entitled "Pop Spencer's Old Memories."

About Pop Spencer's "Old Memories" DVD:

In this recording, Pop Spencer performs live before the video camera on a variety of fretless zithers. Click on the instruments' names below to see representative images of each. (For best results in most browsers, close each window before opening the next one.)

Pop's assortment includes the Marx piano harp, ukelin, Hawaiian Art Violin, violin-uke, mandolin harp, Chartola, Marxophone, autoharp, and a few others.

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Artist Strapping Field Hands
Instrument Ukelin
Album Caul on The Now Sound label (Catalog Number: NOW 001)
  SFHs play a ukelin and most everything else (koto, tremoloa, harmonium, melodica, baritone horn, flute, electric motor).
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Artist Joe Tunis
Instrument Ukelin
  In performances, Joe Tunis of the three guitarist group Entente Cordiale plugs his ukelin in to play distorted loops, churning rhythms and atmospheric textures.
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Artist foxglove095: wax ghost
Instrument Ukelin
Album Moon and Sod
  Get lost in the woods with your ukelin. foxglove095: wax ghost plays ukelin "soaked in rain from the moon." The album is Moon and Sod, and it's a "journey through the rolling frontier hills of the ancient world."
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Artists Cathryn Wellner and Richard Wright
Instrument Ukelin
Piece/Albums Red River Valley / The Bull Rider's Wife
  Wellner and Wright have begun using a ukelin to tell Selche stories. You remember selches, those mythical celtic sea-creatures from The Secret of Roan Innish? I can't imagine a more fitting sound to coax a young mer-lady out of her seal-skirts.
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Artist Barry Wood of Edison Suit
Instrument Ukelin
Piece Blue Nine
Album The Ones Who Keep The Machines Functioning

Barry Wood writes:

"Edison Suit is an instrumental electronic/rock project that combines techno influences with acoustic music. The most prominent use the the ukelin on the Edison Suit album is in the song "Blue Nine" where the ukelin plays a simple whole note phrase that lingers over the top of the song."

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Miscellaneous Ukelin Shout-Outs
Look at this Grandma go! Can anyone help me identify her? Yes Jesus loves her, maybe even more with the ukelin. Too strange to be true? Have a look at this page.
Boulder Sounds has digitally sampled a ukelin for the keyboard. No tuning required.
Black Lodge is a track created for a conspiracy-themed podcast for the now-defunct experimental music collective, Infinite Sector. Created with a ukelin played with a ratting comb, an air conditioner and mic+speaker play.
We have report that spectacular bassist Mark Dresser recently bought a ukelin at an antique shop. What will he do with it?
Charles and Wilma Fish's names are up in lights for their ukelin demonstration at the Ozark Heritage Festival.
Here's the world's youngest ukelinist, Julia! Yes, she's still in diapers, and her dolly looks on while she strum the strings. Like all other stringed instruments, Julia casually refers to it as a "tar". Interestingly, this seems to be a root word for stringed instruments from the Indian Sitar to the Turkish Tar to our Guitar. Perhaps the derivation is from Kithera, Latin for a multi stringed instrument. Well done Julia!
Stan Ransom will happily demonstrate everything from the ukelin to the kitchen sink (why do ukelinists usually play everything?). He's talented and he's ready to play at your next party. Looky here.

The ukelin is found on this German website. "Ukelin: Ein Zwitter aus Streichpsalter und Zither, das in Amerika in den 30er Jahren dieses Jahrhunderts von Tür zu Tür verkauft wurde."

"Die rechte Hand streicht mit einem Bogen die einzelnen, über Bögen gespannten, Metallsaiten, während die linke Hand Akkorde zupft."

The ukelin teams up with "voix and traingle" on the track Gabriel Valse from French recording Instruments Exotiques Série III. Viva l'ukelin!
The French-Canadians get in the act! Gabriel Joyals treats us to an "Exposition d'un instrument ukelin à 32 cordes réalisé par ce luthier".
The ukelin is a prop in zany imaginary screenplay plot Zeldo Says...: "When an off-beat struggling writer and Ukelin player, meets a 7&7/8, middle dimensional interplanetary traveler, that only he can see, his life begins to change."
Ukelins have reached the obscure Dungeon and Dragons-esque role-playing game community of Armageddon. Mini ukelins are worn on Tuluki Charmstrings (sort of like charms bracelets) by a character class called the Bard. The charm signifies a Bard has mastered this instrument, and you'd better not wear it unless you mean it. Don't ask me what this all means.
The Lizard King met the ukelin? Jim Morrison is rumored to have carried a ukelin around on a stage in Paris. Proof that he truly lived on the edge of madness. More here.
Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Miscellaneous Ukelin-Related Instruments

Grego told me of his bowed-psaltery and bowed-psaltery hybrid album: MAZJA. Imagine a ukelinoid instrument playing Chinese folk songs, weaving ethereal melodies, accompanied by medieval instruments. It sounds so much like a ukelin it gives me the shivers. He tells it best:

"Without knowing it [the ukelin] ever existed I accidentally re-invented the thing over the last ten years, but with a few minor differences. For example; mine started as a bowed psaltery, so with the strings all in a row on a single plane it not only allows chord strumming but harp-like glissandos and fairly exotic picking possibilities. Also, it has a face, eight arms which hold four other instruments, and is probably the worlds smallest one-man-band.

It gets worse. Not being a real ukelin, bowed psaltery, or zither, I may end up calling it a "psalther". But what ever it is, the last thing anyone might ask for regarding any of the above would be a world music-ish repertoire featuring a fairly flabbergasting virtuoso playing style. Scared yet?

Well, shucks, you didn't really expect any sane folks to respond, did you? Have a look and risk a listen at:, and aim your mailer at"

Some sort of ukelin-ish bowed zither can be heard in the background of the atmospheric ballad Lord Baker by Irish group Planxty, found on the album Words and Music. Planxty was groundbreaking for Irish music in the 70s, yet surprisingly still sounds fresh and timeless. I'm sure this stems in no small part from the mostly acoustic, diverse and rich celtic instrumentation. I know this has little to do with the ukelin, but hats off to them anyway.
The Bowed Psaltery has a sound similar to the ukelin. Omega Strings has a nice selection of bowed psaltery recordings to give you an idea how the ukelin might sound, were it a tad more popular.
Ukelin Discography Index | Top

Marxolin Discography

Artist Barbara F. Gregory
Instrument Marxolin
  Barbara F. Gregory plays a "Vaudeville" program of marxolin and other "folk instruments" to the astonishment of people in the Sandusky, Ohio area.
  Marxolin Discography Index | Top

Artist Frank Pahl
Instrument Marxolin
Piece Only a Mother: Damned Pretty Snout
  Virtuoso improvisational saxophonist Luc Houtkamp includes a marxolin on this recording, played by Frank Pahl.
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Artist Pneumershonic
Instrument Marxolin
Albums Frequencies of the Beast
  The "tragically overlooked rock instrument, the marxolin" is found on a Pneumershonic recording Frequencies of the Beast. (Tray Full of Lab Mice, Jasper P.O. Box 20 Farmington, NH).   
  Marxolin Discography Index | Top

Survivalists suggest that the marxolin is an ideal instrument to bring along for fun during apocalypse or disaster, natural or otherwise. (You can't make this stuff up.)
Marxolin Discography Index | Top

Marxophone Discography

Artist Tyler Bates
Instrument Marxophone
  Composer Tyler Bates played marxophone against harpsichord in the soundtrack for the movie Get Carter.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist LD Beghtol | Stephin Merritt | The Magnetic Fields
Instrument Marxophone
Album 69 Love Song
  The Magnetic Fields quirky neo-folk album 69 Love Song has a smattering of marxophones, violin-ukes and tremeloas. Credit is due to mutli-string-wranglers Stephin Merritt and LD Beghtol (see their other listings on this page). The melody-double marxophone on the song The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be reminds me of a spooky old-man-bar. (Other favorite songs, albeit sans stringed gizmos, are the bluegrasss-baroque All My Little Words and the spare and heartachy Reno Dakota. Any relationship song that mentions Pantone 292 is a-okay by me.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist LD Beghtol | Moth Wranglers | The Three Terrors | Flare
Instrument Marxophone
  LD Beghtol's marxophone sure gets around. In Moth Wranglers Beghtol plays a "surf-goth whirlwind of vocal harmonies pitted against organ, sludge guitar and marxophone". With The Three Terrors Beghtol again plays marxophone, but not before first playing mouthwarper and cricketbox. Beghtol's marxophone is further included in the "arsenal of instruments" of the eloquent chamber-pop group Flare. His marxophone plays "songs of sorrow, sadness and sacrifice" on the Flare CDs Circa and Bottom.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Cary Berger
Instrument Marxophone
Soundtracks Suture | Cleopatra's Second Husband

Film composer Cary Berger wrote in concerning her work with the marxophone and ukelin:

"I used a marxophone on the score to the film "Suture" (released by Goldwyn in 1994--available in video stores and shown from time to time on Bravo and the Independent Film Channel). I also used it in the film "Cleopatra's Second Husband" which was recently shown at the LA Independent Film Festival but has not yet been released.

Although I play with my ukelin alot (really should be called a "zithalin" don't you think?) I haven't released anything with it. (Actually come to think of it I did use it on a record awhile ago (but just the chord parts--retuned to jazz chords)."

  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Rob Burger | Tin Hat Trio
Instrument Marxophone
Album | Piece Helium on Angel Records
  The marxophone lives in an "Avant chamber" jazz environment ala tango, bossa-nova and country as played by Rob Burger on Tin Hat Trio's Helium.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist T Bone Burnette
Instrument Marxophone
Piece Figure 8
  T Bone Burnette makes a marxophone guest appearance on this Julia Darling piece.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Mike Campbell
Instrument Marxophone
Piece | Album Walls | Soundtrack for the Movie She's The One
  Mike Campbell plays marxophone on Tom Petty's soundtrack for the 1996 movie She's The One.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Carlene Carter
Instrument Marxophone
Piece Little Acts of Treason
  Turns out singer Carlene Carter also has marxophone chops.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Jude Cole
Instrument Marxophone
Album Start the Car (Reprise 2-26898)
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Rob Crow with Pinback
Instrument Marxophone
  Somehow a marxophone shows up in this West Coast indie-pop band.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist John Doan
Instrument Marxophone
  John Doan has a marxophone recording available from Lark in the Morning.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist The Doors
Instrument Marxophone

Ron "Coog" Cook offers this bit of marxophone trivia on his website:

"There is actually a famous recording where you can hear this unique instrument. Think back to a little after the "Summer of Love," around 1967 or 1968, and Jim Morrison of The Doors singing, "Show Me the Way to the Next Whiskey Bar." That instrument you hear between each line is the Marxophone."

  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Forest Fang
Instrument Marxophone
Album The Blind Messenger on the Cuneiform label
  Forest Fang plays, among other things,"toy instruments" including "a spring-hammered zither" known to us as the marxophone.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Mitchell Froom | Bonnie Raitt
Instrument Marxophone
Album Silver Lining
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Funderburk Minor
Instrument Marxophone
Piece The Dwelling Place 
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Andy Goessling | Railroad Earth
Instrument Marxophone
  Andy Goessling plays marxophone in stylish New Jersey roots sextet Railroad Earth's The Good Earth.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Ian Kearey | Oysterband
Instrument Marxophone
Album Blue Aeroplanes
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Larry Klein
Instrument Marxophone
  Producer Larry Klein plays marxophone when collaborating with Anne McCue. (Psst, that's Joni Mitchell's ex. Um, Larry not Anne.)
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Lev Liberman
Instrument Ukelin and Marxophone
  Oy! Lev Liberman of The Klezmorim plays marxophone. But is it kosher?
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Michael Lockwood and Patrick Warren with Aimee Mann
Instrument Marxophone
Piece Lost in Space
  Michael Lockwood and Patrick Warren both play marxophone on Aimee Mann's Lost in Space. Warren also plays marxophone on Spirit of St. Louis by Manhattan Transfer.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Kirsty McGee
Instrument Marxophone
Album | Piece Frost | Spider Lullaby
  U.K. artist Kirsty McGee includes a "deliciously sinister" marxophone on the song Spider Lullaby.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Brendan O'Brien | Train
Instrument Marxophone
  Brendan O'Brien tunes up his marxophone on the rock-punching, pop-appealing My Private Nation.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Ray Pohlman with Ian Whitcomb
Instrument Marxophone
Album | Pieces Yellow Underground | Lucky Jim, They Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dawg Around

Bruce Brandt contributes:

"Ian Whitcomb used the marxophone on two songs on his 1967 LP, Yellow Underground -- "Lucky Jim" and "They Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dawg Around". Ray Pohlman, a rock producer of the period (Turtles, etc.), is the actual marxophonist on these two tracks. Until I was lucky enough to recently obtain a copy of this rare slab of vinyl, I had never heard of a marxophone nor did I know what it sounded like. After finding a sound sample of this distinctive sounding instrument on the 'net, it was pretty easy to go back to Yellow Underground, and pick out its balalaika-type sound. If anyone is interested, I would suggest obtaining Ian's Comedy Songs CD (both of the above tracks are included). It can be obtained directly from Ian at his website, or from many e-vendors."

  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Steve Scholbe | Biota
Instrument Marxophone
Album Object Holder
  Steve Scholbe uses a marxophone with Biota. This "half remembered dream" is "an angelic and multi-colored balance that rides on top of the textured yet highly abstract thematic developments and unusual rhythmic patterns."
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Patricia Shih
Instrument Marxophone
Piece | Album My Child's Song | Leap of Faith Flying Fish (FF485)
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Artist Warren Zevon
Instrument Marxophone
Album Wanted Dead or Alive, One Way label
  Warren Zevon played marxophone on his first record that dates back to 1970. Peace out to this good brother.
  Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Miscellaneous Marxophone Shout-Outs
I was informed John Sebastian of Lovin' Spoonful has a marxophone listed under his credits. Which one is anyone's guess.
Arrr. Marxophone showed up on a "pirate radio" broadcast of the group Pollywogg, played by percussion pirate John Breen.
Joel Hamilton produced a project called The Book of Knots with "both marxophone and tremeloa all over it."
Marxophone Discography Index | Top

Pianolin Discography

Artist Stephen Merritt | The 6ths
Instrument Pianolin
Albums Hyacinths and Thistles
  Stephen Merritt plays pianolin on The 6ths album Hyacinths and Thistles, making songs that "shimmer". Go here for Real Audio music samples. More on Mr. Merritt here.
  Pianolin Discography Index | Top

Artist Claudia Schmidt
Instrument Pianolin
Albums Midwestern Heart, Big Earful
  Claudia Schmidt is perhaps the world's most famous pianolin-ist. Using this ethereal instrument (with harmonium) she has a powerful and mysterious folk style. Check out a great pianolin music sample here on the song The Darkening from the album Midwestern Heart.
  Pianolin Discography Index | Top

Artist Steve Tibbetts
Instrument Pianolin
Albums Big Map Idea on ECM
  Thinking man's guitarist Steve Tibbetts shows his pianolin chops.
  Pianolin Discography Index | Top

Places to Hear the Ukelin

Traditional Ukelin

Garry Harrison and Jo Burgess | Columbia Stockade Blues

Progressive Ukelin

The Ukelin's myspace page | Ukelin Playlist

Duane Pitre | Justly Tuned Ukelin

P.G. Six | Old Man on the Mountain

John Sandin | Golconda©

Matthew Sweet and Shawn Mullins

The Ten Thousand Things | Untitled Ukelin Demo

The Obscuras | Skyscrapers


Intoduction | Ukelin and Violin-Uke Discography | Marxolin Discography
Marxophone Discography | Pianolin Discography | Places to Hear the Ukelin

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Ukelin photo in upper left courtesy of Ulf Skogsbergh.

The information presented on this site represents my exhaustive search for ukelin information If you have anything to add to this site, or if you find any information in this site to be in error, please notify me at