Electro Harmonix have really pushed the boundaries of effects recently with their range of organ and keyboard simulators for guitar. The B9, C9 and Key9 series have opened doors for guitarists that they didn’t know existed before.
Each pedal in the series has been received with with crazed excitement, but also with the feeling that surely this is as good as it can get. So it was with something akin unbridled lunacy that the guitar community reacted when EHX announced their latest addition to the series.
The Mellotron defined a generation of Progressive Rock, and laid the groundwork for the popular success of synthesis. So it’s strange that the instrument never fell to cheap reproduction and the mass production of copy cat brands. Instead it became an instrument you need to take out a second mortgage to own; still in production Mellotrons are now the best part of £3000 for a custom build and a further £1000 will just about buy you a set of spare tapes on eBay.
Now we all love the unique sound of the mellotron, used to great success by the likes of King Crimson and The Beatles, but we don’t need one all the time, and we certainly don’t want to lug a £3000 real tape Keyboard from show to show just for it’s uniqueness. EHX to the rescue. Enter the Mel9; a Mellotron in an American made aluminium effect pedal chassis.
Capable of the full range of Mellotron tones, including the Orchestra, Strings, Cello, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Brass and most importantly both a High and Low Choir, the Mel9 is every guitarists’ dream come true. Now we can dip in and out of the wild tones of the classic 70’s Prog machine without having to buy a real Mellotron or learn how to play a Keyboard.
The sheer extent to which EHX have nailed the tone of the instrument is staggering. Tracking perfectly and allowing your clean signal to blend with the sound of the Mellotron or be removed completely, the Mel9 is surely destined for every self-respecting guitarists’ board.