MELLOTRON M400 #1037: THE MOUSEOTRON
Still in the Protect-O-Muff since it was retrieved from Toronto, #1037 was put in the car and trundled back to Vermont to be worked on over the weekend. In early March a package arrived from Streetly in the UK containing a motor and SMS2 motor controller and a few other items. The MONEYPIT gathering was the perfect place to work on the machine.
Jerry and I disassembled the M400. Disassembly of an M400 is easy. Just a few screws, and the frame is out. We listened to the capstan bearings very closely, and we determined that they weren't in bad shape at all, so we left them alone.
We installed the new motor...
...and got the holes drilled for the SMS2 motor controller...
...and then went and had dinner.
The more astute observers will notice the wrong belt in use in the picture with the motor. Martin has since sent it along. Thanks, ol' man.
Along the way it was fun to do a little archaeology, and inside the preamp case is a good place to find interesting things written.
Anyone know who "Bill S." is?
By mid Saturday afternoon M400 #1037 was reassembled, the switch was clicked on, and the machine spun up---no issues at all. The motor controller was adjusted for pitch, and then it was time to begin dealing with the keyboard.
The tape set I brought with me was---unfortunately---much more knackered than I originally thought, so by the time I departed on Saturday night, less than half the keyboard was adjusted, and it wasn't sounding all that good. Darn tapes...Wish these things were digital sometimes...(gasp!!!)
Ken and I joked around during breakfast at the B&B. "Ya know, Ken, how much do you want to bet that Jerry has #1037 all adjusted and everything?" Sure enough, when we arrived back at the Korb Residence, #1037 was plugged into the JK MK6's amp and purring away, all set to go.
It's 6AM. Picture, if you will, Professor Korb wandering from his bedroom in his slippers and pajamas, checking his e-mail and the weather forecast, then disappearing into the basement to inflict a case of Mellotronists Hunchback upon himself. He took out the tape frame I had in there (the one with the knackered tapes) and put in one of his own (a set from 1979, I believe). A few minutes later #1037 had gone from a screeching cat to a machine that was very stable and fun to play.
I was really astonished to hear how clear #1037 is. The new motor and motor controller are really stable. Yeah, there are some pinch rollers that'll need work, but by and large the machine is a bit of a jewel that had been tucked into a basement and lived in by mice for over a decade.
I'm going to spend some time refinishing this beastie, and it'll be just great.
Thanks for the assistance with this machine, Jerry! I think we've got a keeper!