Mellotron M300

INFORMATION

Years of Production1968 – 1970
Number of Units52
Original Price£871
Dimensions L x H x P107 x 92 x 67 cm
Weight113.4 kg

The M300 was created in order to reduce the Mark II’s size and weight.

It was the first Mellotron not to have built-in speakers. However, an amplifier unit, the LSA 300, was available as an option.

The M300 had an Hammond spring reverb, which could be used for the lead instruments sounds only, or with the whole keyboard. It also had a preamp and a transistor amp. The motor controller cards were CMC-4.

The M300 kept the multi station system of the Mark II but with a 52 note keyboard.
The keyboard was divided in 4 parts: 3 keys for diminished chords, an octave for accompaniments, 3 keys for rhythms, and the other keys for lead instrument.
The M300 was the only Mellotron to use 1/4″ tapes with 2 tracks. A selector allowed the player to chose the A or B track, but not the two tracks at once. There was a total of 6 banks of accompaniment sounds and 6 banks of lead instrument sounds.

The first models (s/n 01 to 25) had the following controls: Rhythm volume, Pitch control, Reverberation, Lead volume. From s/n 26, the Pitch Control disappeared and was replaced by a Tone Control for the rhythm and lead instruments sections. The controls were placed this way: Rhythm tone, Rhythm volume, Reverberation, Lead volume, Lead tone. The Pitch Control was available as an option.

The sounds were totally different from those of the Mark II. Brand new recordings had been made for this model. A first set of sounds (M300A) has been released in 1967, and was replaced by a second set (M300B) in 1969. The strings sound of M300A set was made of two violins playing in unison. This sound has been used by Gentle Giant and Barclay James Harvest. The strings sound of M300B set was a solo violin, that you can hear on The Moody Blues’ Watching And Waiting from the album To Our Childrens’ Childrens’ Children (1969).

The M300 has been essentially used by Barclay James Harvest (on their first albums), Earth and Fire (Song of the Marching Children, Atlantis) and Gentle Giant (Gentle Giant, Acquiring The Taste, Three Friends). Aphrodite’s Child also used it on their first album (End Of The World), which included the hit single Rain And Tears.
(Audio excerpts in Audio section)

The M300 had a bad reputation because of its reliability problems. These were due to a poor lubrication of the tape guides, resulting in static electricity problems and tapes breaking during bank changes.
Now, these problems are solved after a full restoration by Streetly Electronics.

PHOTOS

M300 #3-003
M300 #3-005

M300 #3-003

Photos: David Cilia – 2005

M300 #3-005

Photos: John Beresford – 2002

VIDEOS

MANUAL

M300 Service Manual
M300 Service Manual

SOUND LIST

A first set of sounds has been released in 1967 (M300A), and was replaced by a second set in 1969 (M300B).

M300A – 1967

STATIONRHYTHMSTATIONLEAD INSTRUMENT
1A. Samba
B. Bossa Nova
1A. Flute
B. Trombone
2A. PIANO*
B. Dixieland
2A. PIANO*
B. Vibes
3A. Quickstep
B. Medium Foxtrot
3A. Clarinet
B. ORGAN*
4A. Latin
B. Slow Foxtrot
4A. Spanish Guitar
B. Organ
5A. Slow Waltz
B. Viennese Waltz
5A. Organ
B. Celeste
6A. Cello
B. ORGAN*
6A. Violins
B. Harpsichord

PIANO and ORGAN sounds can be played on the 52 notes of the keyboard:

  • for PIANO: 2A Station on the left with 2A Station on the right
  • for ORGAN: 6B Station on the left with 3B Station on the right

M300B – 1969

STATIONRHYTHMSTATIONLEAD INSTRUMENT
1A. Viennese Waltz
B. Quickstep
1A. Saxophone
B. Flute
2A. Samba
B. Slow Waltz
2A. Vibes
B. Clarinet
3A. 6/8 Tempo
B. Dixieland
3A. Trombone
B. Solo Violin
4A. Pop
B. Pop
4A. Harpsichord
B. Spanish Guitar
5A. Latin American
B. Slow Foxtrot
5A. Hammond Organ
B. Vibr. Organ
6A. PIANO*
B. ORGAN*
6A. PIANO*
B. ORGAN*

PIANO and ORGAN sounds can be played on the 52 notes of the keyboard:

  • for PIANO: 6A Station on the left with 6A Station on the right
  • for ORGAN: 6B Station on the left with 6B Station on the right