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Mellotron Mark II
General Specs
Keys: (2) 35-key keyboards
Voices: Recorded on 3/8" tapes, 6 banks of 3 voices each
Amplification: (2) 12" built-in speakers, a tube preamp, two transistor power amps
Controls: On/Off Switch, Rhythm Track Selector, Rhythm & Fill Sound Bank Selector, Fill Track Selector, Rhythm Volume Control, Fill Volume Control, Pitch Control, Reverb Control, Master Volume Control, Lead Instrument Sound Bank Selector, Lead Track Selector
Retail Price: $1624 US
Quantity Manufactured: Approx. 300
Dimensions: 51"W x 39"H x 27"D
Weight: 350 lbs.
Years Used: May 1972- February 1974
John Paul Jones used the Mk.II for the beautiful string arrangements in The Rain Song from Houses of the Holy. The Mellotron violins are strangely haunting, and have limited fidelity. They are also difficult to play smoothly, as the sounds begin and end instantly. To overcome this, Jones used a volume pedal to swell the entrances and exits of the string lines to make them more realistic. In an interview specifically for this article, he describes his process for recording a simulated orchestra with a keyboard: "The secret of successful keyboard string parts is to play only the parts that a real string section would play. That is, one line for the First Violins, one line for Second Violins, one for Violas, one for Cellos, one for Basses. Some divided parts [two or more notes to a line] are allowed, but keep them to a minimum. Think melodically."

Many people consider Kashmir to be Led Zeppelin's greatest song. It's heavy Arabic flavor was incredibly unique, and very well executed. The blend of hard rock and orchestral instruments was perfect, and remains a classic example of a brilliant arrangement. Jones arranged Kashmir for both real strings and Mellotron strings. It is difficult for many to hear the difference between the "real" and simulated strings, which is a tribute to Jones' clever performance and arrangement. The Mellotron strings are most easily heard on the bridge, during the Gm and A chords.


Mellotron Mark II
From Mellotron Mark II Service Manual

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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

October xx, 1968 - Led Zeppelin is recorded
October 19, 1968 - Final performance as the New Yardbirds
October 31, 1969 - Led Zeppelin II is released in the US
October 17, 1969 - Bonham is thrilled to play Carnegie Hall where Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa have performed
October 23, 1970 - Led Zeppelin III is released in the US
October xx, 1970 - The press lash out at the band over the Led Zeppelin III acoustic content
October xx, 1971 - Page and Plant venture around Thailand and India after the Japan tour
October 18, 1972 - Zeppelin rehearse at the Rainbow Theater for a UK tour
October xx, 1973 - Each member performs an individual film sequence for their concept film
October 31, 1974 - Swan Song hosts a party for the launch of its UK division
October xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin decide not to tour and concentrate on recording new material
October 20, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same premieres at New York’s Cinema One
October xx, 1977 - Jimmy starts assembling a Led Zeppelin live album from recordings as far back as 1969
October xx, 1978 - Jones and Bonham record with Paul McCartney at Abbey Road Studios
October xx, 1978 - Rehearsals for In Through The Out Door in London
October xx, 1979 - All nine Led Zeppelin albums enter the Billboards Top 200 -- no other band has ever achieved this
October 10, 1980 - A private funeral is held for John Bonham at Rushock church in Worcestershire
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