PART 2: RETURN TO MONEYPIT SOUTH - 3/28/2004
It was back to Paul Santo's house in late March 2004. Paul had managed to land himself a sweet little machine.
This is one that Paul more or less tripped over in his travels, and he brought #1428 home from Long Island in the back of his Volvo wagon. Upon returning home, Paul gave me a buzz, and we made arrangements for me to head on over to have a look at this beastie.
Outside it's great. The former owner restored the finish on the outside, and it's a very nice looking machine. This machine had been cared for and used quite a bit, but overall it is in decent, clean shape.
Some of the weirdness with this machine included two 1/4" jacks in the front, one for the volume pedal and one for the output which the owner moved from the back to the front. Unfortunately the output jack is in a place that bends the rightmost pin on the tape frame when it's inserted into the machine. That jack will have to be moved at some point. The other weirdness was the installation of an internal amplifier and speakers. Although these are now gone, the back cover had holes cut in it, now covered up and refinished.
Inside, however, there was one of those waiting...
...yes, a dreaded CMC-10 motor controller. Paul told me that this machine needed four hours (!!) to warm up to be recordable, the pitch was mostly stable but not really, and there was a whine and some motor noise. Yep, all due to the CMC-10. I didn't even bother powering it up to check. Paul asked that I grab the SMS-5 and power supply from the EMI, and I made the hardware changes necessary to move the SMS-5 to the spiffy new M400. We powered on the M400 with an SMS-5, and the pitch was fairly solid, and all the noises were gone. Warm up time went from hours to a few minutes, if even that much.
BUT (nawwww, couldn't be as easy as replacing the CMC-10, could it?) during keyboard adjustment I noticed something else rather interesting...
...many of the pad arms and pinch rollers had "afros"--you know, the tall, bushy hair style? As is normal, the glue dried out on the felt pads that cushion the keyboard adjustment screws, and some of the pads were nowhere to be found. The former owner decided to replace this felt, usually about 1mm or so thick, with something 4-5 times thicker and really bushy! Unfortunately this left next to no adjustment on several of the pad arms and pinch rollers.
After this was corrected, I set about to adjust the machine (never a quick task with all 35 keys needing some help). Every now and then I had to shoo away Larry, Paul's cat, who was most curious about the tapes rising and falling in the tape frame columns. It's not a good idea to have a kitty with claws inside a Mellotron!
When I was done adjusting the M400, Paul came over to give it a try. The verdict? He's very happy, and it has already been used on the Rocket Science CD. It's a wrap!
Please excuse the poor quality of the photos. Unfortunately my digital camera's flash decided to give up the ghost.