7 thoughts on “Restoring a Mellotron M400”

  1. Allison, Good evening!

    First of all let me say that you are amazing at what you do! I learned more about the mellotron in 5 minutes from you than I did reading somewhere else about it! Here’s my nagging ongoing dilemna: Howard Leese former guitarist for Heart used a mellotron on ” Barracuda” .
    The sound I hear on “Barracuda” is a mellotron but the 3 three sounds you expertly described on the M400 do not reproduce this particular sound. Do you think another model of the mellotron was used? I am really curious to how that sound was achieved! Did Howard Leese pre – record guitar feedback sounds and transfer them over to the mellotron OR: Was a mellotron with a removable disk used?
    Al Greenwood (Keyboardist} from “Foreigner” was known for using this type of idea too!

    I was introduced to the mellotron and various other keyboards from a Rick Wakeman (Yes) solo concept alblum called ” The 7 Wives of Henry The 8th” I took it upon myself to learn other various musical instruments so I wouldn’t be a “limited musician”

    Thanking you in advance for your input , expertise and information!

    Sincerely Lloyd Sarno / Cleveland , Ohio Musician 30+ yrs / I play lead & rhythm guitar , bass / some keys / some mandolin / and sing backing vocals.

    1. Hi Lloyd! Thanks for your kind words and I’m glad you found the video informative. There were actually multiple sets of tapes available with different sounds at the time that the Mellotron was made. My understanding is that this one had the basic sounds they would give you when you bought it, but the other sounds, like the famous “human voice choirs” for instance, were only available on different tape sets that had to be purchased separately. It was also possible, though pretty uncommon due to the difficulty of recording on the 3/8″ tape that the Mellotron used, to record your own tapes. Today, many different sets of sounds are available including some that have been recorded recently.

  2. The Mellotron sound on Barracuda is the “eight voice choir” that interestingly wasn’t available until the M400 was created.

  3. Really interesting blog and video!

    Thank you for this, I’m starting a M400 restoration right now and it’s really helpful!

    I have a quite specific question. When you said that you did correct some ground loops in the power supply, what have you actually done? Is there any easy way for you to explain what I should do with mine to fix that problem?

    Thank you!


  4. Restoring an m400 now and in way over my head. Got it for a G tho so hard to complain. Has everything except the tape heads and tape. Do you know where I can get the heads? Thanks for your video and article!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *