Years of Production since 2007 Number of Units ? Original Price £4,500 Dimensions L x H x P ? Weight 74 kg Twenty years after the production of Mellotrons stopped in 1986, Streetly Electronics introduced a new instrument in May 2007, the M4000. From the outside, it looks like a M400; but a peek on […]

Mellotron Mark I/II

Years of Production Mark I: 1963 – Mark II: 1964 – 1968 Number of Units about 55 – Mark II: about 300 Original Price £1,000 Dimensions L x H x P 129.5 x 99 x 68.5 cm Weight 159 kg The Mark I is the very first Mellotron model, based on the same concept as the […]


Primarily created by Opsonar, the Orchestron was an attempt at improving the Optigan, and it was intended to be used by professionnal musicians. It was David VanKoevering, a former Moog employee, who eventually produced the Orchestron with his company, Vako. Compared to the Optigan, the Orchestron was more solid (it was made of wood instead […]


The Optigan was created in Californie in 1971. It was produced by Optigan Corporation, a Mattel subsidiary, up until 1973, and by Opsonar afterwards. The Optigan was an instrument that used celluloid discs, which featured recordings of real musical instruments (especially organs) and accompaniments. The term “Optigan” comes from the words “OPTIcal orGAN”. It was […]


After a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1975, Rick Wakeman (Yes’s keyboard player) met David Biro, who lived in Connecticut. Biro showed him his invention: an instrument that could play recorded sounds without the downsides of a Mellotron (sounds limited to 8 seconds, impossibility to play fast… ). It was a keyboard connected to nineteen […]


The Mellotron directly comes from the Chamberlin (see History). In 1946, in California, Harry Chamberlin created a musical instrument that was able to play pre-recorded magnetic tapes. Somehow, it was the first sampler in history. 1948 – 1949 Model 100 Rhythmate Approx. 10 unitsIt’s the first Chamberlin. It could play 14 drum loops recorded on […]


Streetly Electronics Martin Smith and John Bradley – son of Leslie Bradley, designer of the Mellotron – restore all models of Mellotron and sell spare parts and new tapes.Since 2007, they have been marketing a new model, the M4000.Streetly Electronics is located in England, near Birmingham. Streetly Electronics mellotron tape library Audio excerpts of the […]


The Mellotron’s basic system is the same on all models. The model M400 is the one which will described in this page. Because of its simplified mechanism, the M400 should help you to understand more easily the way the instrument works. The system is basically the same as a tape recorder.Each key on the keyboard […]


Chamberlin At the end of the 40’s, in California, Harry Chamberlin invented the first instrument using tape recordings: the Model 100 Rhythmate. With its recorded loops of drum patterns, it can be considered the ancestor of modern-day samplers and drum machines. The Model 200 not only used tapes, but also a keyboard; it had sounds […]


We’re in the sixties. Imagine a keyboard that is able to reproduce the sounds of violins, flutes, or a brass section; a machine which is totally polyphonic, at a time when digital technology does not exist yet, and when the only available keyboards are pianos, organs and the first monophonic synthesizers. A forerunner of modern-day […]