Mellotron News VST

Mellotron: A Tale of Two Countries

Mellotron: a cool tape keyboard that sounds like a mini orchestra! Born from a Chamberlin, loved by rock stars, and now available as a Force-ful plugin.

The Mellotron is an instrument that inspires affection. Endorsed in its heyday by the Moody Blues (think Days of Future Past) and Manfred Mann (think Semi-Detached) and even the royal herself Princess Margaret.

Perhaps it’s the simplicity of its design. The ingeniousness of its mechanics or rather quite simply it was the right sound at the right time. Whatever the case, the Mellotron wasn’t original. It has a precursor and that precursor was the American made Chamberlin.

Harry Chamberlin was 😡

Wisconsin resident Harry Chamberlin invented this clever tape-based keyboard instrument and entrusted a window cleaner named Bill Fransen to go over to the UK and flog this new and novel instrument. However, once Bill had arrived on British shores, he started to think differently…

“I’m going to sell this and tell everyone that I invented it!”

Travelling over the pond Bill found a small band of brothers who believed not only in the concept itself but also that it could be improved upon.

Some legal back and forth went down between Bill and Harry and ultimately, they both came to the arrangement whereby each party would manufacture two separate tape-based instruments. One called Chamberlin and the other under the moniker of Streetly Electronics.

That’s it! The rest you might say is history. The lovable Mellotron disappeared into legend and remained a fond memory of vinyl playing old rockers for evermore…

The End.

Mellotron in force

Just kidding! The Mellotron is still in use today, making appearances via such acts as Radiohead, Oasis and more recently on the 2021 release Adele-30.

Specialist outfit G-force software have taken painstaking efforts to collect and organize the most comprehensive Mellotron libraries available. And incorporate them into their own M-Tron Pro IV emulation.

Image shows screenshot of M-TRON PRO IV VST by G-Force software from the article Mellotron: A Tale of Two Cities by

There are other emulations and VST’s of course – both paid and free. But G-Force software stands out for its meticulous and original efforts to bring as many as possible of the libraries of this wonderful instrument into the modern DAW working environment. Even purchasing rare Chamberlins and restoring Mellotrons to create the most authentic emulation available.

The M-Tron Pro standard includes over 200 tape banks amounting to a 3.5 GB sound library, whilst the M-Tron Pro complete includes over 500 tape banks amounting to a 11.3 GB sound library. Priced currently at £149.99 and £333.00 respectively (+VAT).

What became of the Chamberlin?

Well, Harry continued to improve the Chamberlin instrument in the late 1960s and it found its way onto a good many albums too, even achieving licensing deals along the way. But aside from a brief revival in the 1990s, the Chamberlin is generally remembered as the precursor to the Mellotron, ultimately not enjoying the level of fame as its later incarnation.

If you enjoyed this light hearted look at the Mellotron and would like to read more – here you go!

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