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Going Home

PINDERTRON / "Sharayah": Mellotron Mark II #134

There was a buzz around the Korb Compound on the first day of Spring 2004.  We were all anxious to see the restored Mark II #134 revealed to its new owner!


#1037 takes a back seat during the unveiling
of "Sharayah" at MONEYPIT 2004


Mellotronist Frank Samagaio (The Mellotron Book) was made to wait all night before he caught a glimpse of the "Pindertron", which Frank has named "Sharayah".  So---was the wait worth it?

BUT just before the covering was pulled off the machine, Frank handed out a gift to each of us in preparation---caps with the Mellotron logo---and put one on his head as well.  Very nice, Frank---thank you!  We were now properly dressed for the occasion.



With the top repaired and edging all new, the front board beneath the keyboards reworked, the veneer on the lower right side and the back, the touchup of the flowcoat on the remainder of the machine, and the new back panel, it's a fine transformation from what was before to a machine that not only looks (and plays) great but also preserves that "pedigree" that Frank Samagaio wanted.  Yes, you can still see some of the cracked flowcoat and dings on the sides, but it's all part of the machine's history.

Jerry, Ken Merbler, and Frank
have a look at Sharayah

When the machine was revealed, Your Webmaster was manning the video camera, so there aren't any photos of that part of the event.  But what shows in the videotape is amazing.  Frank Samagaio was speechless.  I think I heard, "Oh my..." a few times, though.  He took a good look at the front of the machine, then dove around back to look inside.

The insides are nicely refinished, and the wires are tidy.  Everything is labeled (and documented) to make future work on the machine easier.

Have a look inside the Pindertron by clicking on the images to the left.

(And, yes, that's a big bright decidedly non-60s red LED in that last picture, looking very out of place...;-) )

Restored Mike Pinder preamp
in situ

A while later I realized something was amiss.  From behind the video camera I remarked, "Hey, it's too quiet in here!"  These guys were so caught up in how the machine looked that they forgot that it actually did something that was audible.  Jerry had the Pindertron's outputs plugged into the amps on the JK-MK6, and #134 was fired up and began making some beautiful sounds.

When compared to Julia, Jerry's Mark I, the sound differences are staggering.  If you play 3-violins on Julia, you hear King Crimson with bright violins.  On Sharayah you hear the Moody Blues with a somewhat compressed and duller sound larger in the lower end.  Jerry explained that the other Mellotrons have a built in equalization curve to brighten up the higher end, but the Mike Pinder preamp does not.  Thus, the Moody Blues right out of the box.

Compiled from Ken Merbler's Minidisc recordings of the goings on
Julia That familiar King Crimson sound.
1:20, 314KB
Sharayah No, this is the Moody Blues!
(The thunderous intro to "Higher and Higher" at the end is actually Jerry's M300, but everything else is Sharayah.)
2:51, 671KB
Julia and Sharayah Compared The difference in EQ curves is readily apparent.
Also listen to the "Bungalow Bill" intro played on both machines at the same time.
3:05, 908KB
Peak Hour Frank Samagaio gives us a few bars of "Peak Hour".
I think that's #1037 in there adding the 8-voice choir.
1:43, 504KB

Jerry and Ken lay down some chops!

Yeah, it was worth it.  Eh, Frank?

Click for the saga of the bumpy ride home...