Adjusting and Fixing

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Adjusting and Fixing
What We Learned
Mark VI
More Machines
For You

Adjusting and Fixing

Chris Dale Installing Tapes
Chris Dale lacing up a tape frame in the Mark VI

In addition to the camaraderie and fun, we occasionally get some work done. 

For most of us, that means adjusting keyboards and lacing frames.

Dennis Keldie has a go at threading the 3/8" stuff.

John Bradley and Martin Smith of Streetly Electronics tackle the heavier stuff, such as wonky motor controllers, twisted frames, motor realignment, head problems, and so on.  Hey, I'd rather leave the tough stuff to them.

Martin Smith

Does this look like a Mellotron keyboard assembly line or what?

Terry Conheady has a go at lacing some tapes.
Below - Dan Miso offers words of support.


All the way from the UK...
John Bradley!!!

JB in action!

Also helping out with Mellotron repairs:
The Mellotron Professor Jerry Korb

John Bradley and Jerry Korb.  These two guys scare me.  John used to work for his father Les Bradley at making 'trons, and he's been fixing them now for years.  Jerry built the beautiful JK-MK6, maintains an M400 he bought new, has rebuilt an M300 bodged by someone else (and trashed in transit to make matters worse), and he's restoring a Mark I ("Julia").

So if you need the most bizarre problems in a 'tron fixed, call John.

And be watching for pictures of "Julia" at a later time so you can see Jerry's fine work (if the JK-MK6 wasn't impressive enough  :-)  ).


Mike "The Bodger" Rivers lends a finger as Pierre digs into a keyboard.

Pierre "Mellotron Demonstrator" Veilleux lends his talent to help set keyboards straight.

bulletInspect pinch rollers.  Oil a little if they're not turning right.  Give them a light buffing along the side of the face if it's rough and interfering with the flow of the tape.  Clean with alcohol to get the crud off!
bulletInspect key return.  Use the crimper to make sure keys spring up OK.  (See the 'tron pics from last year for the crimper.)
bulletInspect the felt on the pad arms.
bulletAdjust key height and key tension.
bulletAnd, finally, adjust pressure pads and pinch rollers (a delightful sound).

A word about pinch rollers:  Streetly is currently looking into having pinch rollers produced, so stay tuned.  (New pinch rollers are currently available from Dave Kean if you need them now.)  John and Martin report that they are experimenting with a few designs and materials to see what works best, and then they'll make them available.

One of the problems with Mellotrons is the tape stock.  At the time of the design of the original machines, tape stock was much different.  In addition to sonic quality changes, the tape formulations have changed, and the coating on the back of the tapes isn't quite the same as before.  New tape drive mechanisms have kept pace, but our ol' Mellotron mechanisms are unchanged and are at the mercy of the tape stock.  So Martin and John will be experimenting and will try to come up with something to keep the tape flyin' through our trons.




Yeah, it happens.  When you're lacing tapes, it's easy to cut the tape at the start mark for the sound rather than at the cut mark.

One in Philly, now one in Toronto.



Frank Samagaio (author of The Mellotron Book)
laces up a tape frame in Dan's EMI machine

We got a good deal of work done during the weekend, and then John and Martin had a few boxes to finish up while they were still milling about Toronto.


Martin provided me with a quick update on the machines that were fixed during the week:

We had our work cut out with these and made them sound as good as we could in the limited time.  They all need new rollers, pad arms, bearings etc. etc. but they were a lot better.

Sounds like good news, and I'm sure the owners of those machines were pleased.

Thank you for the update, Martin!


The air raid siren sound effect Chris Dale discovered on his new set of tapes came in handy...for all of us...