“his is a very nice original Mellotron. #1618, May 1976. It has spent its whole life in homes or studios, as attested by the clean finish and known history. I’ve owned it for the better part of 10 years, and know it was well cared for through the last couple decades. The second tape frame still has its original box, it was addressed to Ocean Records in Indianapolis and the few newspapers still inside from original packing are from 1980. From any view down through the innards, this is a pretty clean machine. It has definitely never lived in a garage.
Other really good things about this Mellotron: two tape frames, the headblock was azimuth aligned by Streetly about three years ago and is singing beautifully, the SMS2 motor controller card (keeps pitch no problem with an 8 finger chord), and I’ll send you numerous extras assuming I can find them all like a copy of The Mellotron Book, The Rime Of The Ancient Sampler CD, a framed original Mellotron ad, and a demagnetizer. Yes, we spell it with a ‘z’ for the friends in the UK.
The tape frames have a bit of redundancy in the sounds. One has 3 Violins, 16 Violins, and Cello, and the other has Violins, Cello, and Flute. So what you’ll probably want to do is order at least one set of new tapes, and it’ll be a lot cheaper installing them in one of these frames than it would be to buy a whole new frame. Speaking of which, I have a couple additional new frames I’ve bought from Streetly that I will be selling separately, with first rights at a modest price to the winner of this auction. I will say of the included frames with this machine that I personally don’t hear any differences in the sound quality from the original tapes versus the brand new frames I have, although the 2nd frame with the flutes has the start marker cut at the wrong point (edge of spill box, not right over the heads).
This Mellotron is about as nice as you are going to find without buying a brand new one or one that’s been through a $2,000 restoration. It is perfectly, very nicely, playable as is and will send shivers up your spine to hear those haunting strings, and put a smile on your face every time you walk by and glance at it. The only issues are a few slightly warped keys as you can see towards the top end of the keyboard. You can play it just fine, they don’t really affect the machine, but obviously you’d prefer to have them all perfectly straight. The other thing is, as you’ll find on any original Mellotron, the action is a little stiff. Really, the only thing I think this could use at all is a little service to the pinch rollers to get them spinning a little more freely, or perhaps a new set of rollers. Then you could really lighten up the action. But, I must emphasize again, this is not a basket case. It is not bad, or abnormal. ANY original Mellotron will be just the same (or much much worse).
I have tremendously enjoyed my time as a proud owner of one of these magnificent machines, but the new way of the world (economy and all) and fatherhood compels me to sell at this value range. I salute all those brethren who lovingly care for these machines, the impact they’ve provided on the music that’s shaped our lives speaks for itself.” Auction ended. Click here to browse on eBay.