For some of their most recent releases, Electro-Harmonix has been bringing all sorts of piano and organ sounds down to stompbox-size, including the incredible Key9, B9 and C9. Where does EHX go from there? The New York-based pedal company has released the Mel9, which captures the classic pre-recorded tape sounds of the Mellotron.
Created in Birmingham, England in 1963, the original Mellotron accessed pre-recorded tape reels stored in the keyboard's body to play a wide range of sampled instruments. By pulling the tape across a head, the Mellotron unleashed oddly quirky sounds that would come synonymous with the hits of The Beatles, The Moody Blues, David Bowie and more.
With the Mel9, EHX has captured the sound of the Mellotron in nine distinct preset settings, including Orchestra, Cello, Strings, Flutes, Clarinet, Saxophone, Brass, Low Choir and High Choir. All of these sounds will work on guitar, bass (down to the open A string) and keyboards without any kind of mods, special pickups or frilly accessories. Here are some descriptions of the presets available with the Mel9.
Orchestra: This sound represents a full orchestra—including an octave below the normal guitar—and produces a gigantic, full sound.
Cello: This sound of a solo cello includes the cello’s natural vibrato.
Strings: Presenting the sound of a small four-piece string section, including natural vibrato.
Flutes: This preset presents the classic solo flute sound heard on many recordings.
Clarinet: This sound of a solo clarinet sounds great both as a solo (played monophonically) instrument and when playing chords.
Saxophone: This funky vintage British solo saxophone sound is perfect for playing Beatles-like rock lines. It blends great with an overdriven guitar.
Brass: This preset is a trumpet-like sound, and when playing chords it produces a great brass section sound. As noted earlier, the ATTACK and SUSTAIN knobs work differently for this preset than for other presets. The ATTACK knob controls a filter sweep for brass synthesizer sounds and the SUSTAIN knob adds the “lip buzz” characteristic of trumpet/brass sounds.
Low Choir: This sound is a full low-voiced choir made up of many voices.
High Choir: This sound is a higher-voiced choir made up of many voices.
Vintage King's Dustin McLaughlin put together an awesome demo of the Electro-Harmonix Mel9 that demonstrates the many different voices of the pedal on guitar and synthesizer. Check out the full demo below and witness the power of this fantastic pedal.