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Electro Harmonix Mel-9 Mellotron Pedal

Some of my favorite music, going way back, features the sound of the Mellotron, a keyboard instrument that used tape loops of actual strings, choirs, flutes, and cellos to provide orchestration for a working band. This is the sound of the Moody Blues, Beatles, King Crimson, and Genesis among others. You could hear it on songs like David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and Led Zep's "Kashmir."  Mellotron keyboards were notorious for breaking down and they weighed a lot. Taking one on tour was a lot of frustration for many of the bands listed above--but that SOUND! It would give you goosebumps on top of your goosebumps!

Years ago, I had a Roland guitar synth (the G707/GR707) that I could get some orchestral sounds out of, but the tracking was horrible, and nothing got that cool choir sound. I gave up on pitch-to-digital conversion using hex pickups and 25-pin cables. Now, many years later, Electro Harmonix worked out all the bugs and put the sound of the Mellotron into the Mel-9. Plug any guitar into this and you have a Mellotron that tracks your guitar perfectly. You can play chords and single notes and this thing will blend with your guitar sound or you can have it go to a PA channel of its own for mixing. It tracks perfectly because it's not doing the usual MIDI conversion thing. It's witchcraft I tell you, witchcraft!

I use it on my ambient recording projects. You can hear a sample of that here, starting at around 5:30 into this video. (Click here to listen to "One Night" by Chehalis,) You can even use it on acoustic guitar and 12-string. If you were to try to use it on a bass guitar, it tracks down to the A-string. It's amazing, almost addictive. I sometimes use it on fingerstyle acoustic instrumentals and it really blends nicely, adding depth to the performance if you use it subtly.

Here's a few links to Mel-9 boxes on eBay that are live now. Check them out and add one to your rig.

Mel-9 #1

Mel-9 #2

Mel-9 #3

Just for grins, here's the EHX demo from YouTube. This guy who demonstrates it is phenomenal.