Mike Walter’s Mellotron

Before gadgeteers could get affordable (or any) electronics for polyphonic sound synthesis or sample playback, they dallied with tape playback devices that would link each key to its own tape mechanism that played a pre-recorded tape loop at the keyed pitch. They called it a Mellotron, and yes, an 88-key piano would require 88 tape mechanisms.

Mike Walters’ home-made Melloman uses walkman-style cassette players wired to a two-octave keyboard in that snazzy-cool case. He has to rewind the 60 minute tapes manually, as gapless looping cassettes are hard to find/make.

He has musical samples at his site, including Mike Lewis’ performances of Strawberry Fields, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and Penny Lane.

I wonder who’s going to build a MIDI capable Mellotron now?

Thanks to Engadget for the link.

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One thought on “Mike Walter’s Mellotron

  1. Amazing !
    I’ve had the same idea long ago, but I never dared starting to build mine.
    Congratulations !
    I think that you can find on ebay some stocks of endless K7 tapes for answering machines.
    it will be easier than rewinding each tape each hour.



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