Tools and Parts

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Keyboard Adjustment
Lacing Tapes
Rick's SFX Console
Odds and Ends
Tools and Parts
A Few Surprises!
The Fritz Report

Tools and Parts

A variety of miscellaneous tools and parts are well worth mentioning.  In addition to two unique Streetly tools, there's a look at motor controllers and the bits out of Rick Wakeman's bolted together double Mellotron, now owned by Chris Dale.

The Crimper

This tool is used to make the opening under the front of the key a bit bigger so the key can ride up and down on the post without getting hung up.  I can guarantee you that if you have a Mellotron that's been sitting around, it needs this adjustment.  If you don't adjust the keys in this way, you will need to put extra tension on the nylock nut at the back of the key, and they keyboard will play heavier.

The Crimper

John Bradley demonstrates The Crimper

The Crimper


They tried to ban it from the 'net, but they couldn't.

Seen here for the first time anywhere...I was able to sneak a shot at some tape lacing going on, and extensive photo analaysis revealed a candid picture of the XXXXXXXX, a tool we're not supposed to talk or even know about.  No, don't even point!

The function of this tool I can reveal, but only under great danger to my own life, is to guide the tapes down over the rollers on the top of the tape frame, thus creating loops onto which the turnbuckle is snapped, creating that "W" inside the tape frame.

Apologies for the poor photo quality, as it is difficult to get a decent photograph when you are dodging bullets.


Motor Controller Boards:  Then and Now

LEFT: Then - The CMC-10, the original motor contoller, notorious for whining, pitch instability, and failures.  It generally won't allow more than four notes to be played at once without the pitch going wrong.  Of all things, this piece of wrecknology is the most notorious sore spot in giving the Mellotron its undeserved bad name.
RIGHT:  Now - Brand new SMS2 motor controller available from Streetly.  This is one John soldered up just before heading across the pond to Canada.  Rock solid, reliable.  (Also available is the SMS5 motor controller from Mellotron Archives, which offers the dual-speed option.)

CMC-10, SMS2

Oh, don't let the photos fool you.  The CMC-10 is about twice the size of the SMS2.

Wakeman's Bits

About as stable as a CMC-10, Rick Wakeman sought to do the Mellotron M400 one better by creating his own version of a double Mellotron, kind of a Mark V but more on the order of a fire hazard than a working musical instrument.

Chris Dale had some pictures of the Wakeman double-'tron (complete with boot heel mark where Wakeman once kicked it).   It's a large box into which two M400s were mounted.  The capstan in one was turned around, and it was eventually bolted to the other M400's capstan and driven from a single motor when the pitch stability turned into a problem.  Why was the pitch a problem?  Well, Rick and his friends diddled with the electronics in an attempt to somehow merge them, but it was like a horse designed by committee, with different people working on different parts of it at different times.  The unit barely ran at all, and Jerry Korb's quick analysis revealed why the power transformer always ran hot:  You shouldn't make it a habit of tying together two power taps from a transformer.  Sigh.   There's no telling what other electronic gremlins await Mr. Dale!

Wakeman's Bits
On the white box you can see the two preamps.  Two other black boxes hold some more electronics.  On the floor is the motor controller and the single motor that was used to run both sides.  Not shown is an amateurishly home-made board for mounting the pots.  Oh---a lot of the electronics were tied together using 1/4" audio hardware.  Ahem.

In Chris Dale's charge, the electronics will be reworked.  The case has already been refinished (by Hal Herzog in Windsor, Ontario), so it's only a matter of time before this beastie starts singing again!