The Mellotron is back, now in compact FX pedal form, thanks to the new Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine.
Mellotron - Brief History
The Mellotron keyboard is one of the most iconic instruments in rock. In a way, it could be considered a precursor of synthesizers and samplers - using tape loops of real instruments, such as flutes and strings, played via keyboard. It was famously used by The Beatles in the intro for 'Strawberry Fields Forever'.
Other early users include The Rolling Stones and the Moody Blues. But bands such as King Crimson, Yes and Genesis turned the Mellotron into one of the quintessential "prog-rock" instruments, too, thanks to tracks such as 'Watcher of the Skies'.
After Oasis used the Mellotron for the cello sounds in 'Wonderwall', it became more in vogue once again, and since then has been used by many other acts, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead and, more recently, Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe.
An original Mellotron is quite expensive, but thanks to this renewed interest, its sounds have been available in many different forms, such as software plugins or as Nord keyboards' sound library. Now, however, it's the first time the Mellotron resurfaces as a FX pedal.
Meet the new Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine
If you are familiar with Electro-Harmonix C9 Organ Machine pedal, you'll know it features a pretty great "Mellotron flues" setting. But the new MEL9 Tape Relay Machine is another beast altogether, as it's a dedicated Mellotron-inspired pedal, reproducing all the classic Mellotron sounds such as cello, orquestra, strings and, of course, flutes, besides many other classic sounds.
One of the great things about this miraculous little pedal, is that because it's not sample-based, there's no tracking problems. It can be used with guitars, bass guitars or even keyboard - turning any of those instruments into a very realistic-sounding Mellotron!
- Pays homage to nine of the coolest Mellotron® sounds: Orchestra, Cello, Strings, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Brass, Low Choir and High Choir
- Works on guitar without modifications, special pickups or MIDI implementation and tracks bends, slides, even whammy dive bombs!
- Also works with bass guitar down do the open A string as well as keyboards
- Includes independent Effect and Dry volume controls so you can create the perfect mix at the Effects output
- Dry Output jack outputs your input signal at unity gain
- Attack control sets the volume swell speed. As it’s turned clockwise the notes fade in more gradually
- Sustain control adjusts the release time after a sound is stopped. As it’s turned clockwise, the fade out time increase
Release date TBC.