This is a vintage 1972 Chamberlin M-1 keyboard. This particular example, serial number 86112, is in excellent original condition. More importantly, it has meticulously restored to perfect function condition, it sounds amazing and includes a set of original tapes. The Chamberlin is the, better and more advanced, predecessor to the Mellotron which has better sounding recorded samples resulting in a better, more dynamic, instrument. Due to the original premium purchase price, the Chamberlin M-1 was produced in very limited quantities (around 100 total), and have since become one of the rarest and most coveted of vintage keyboards.
The previous owner purchased this Chamberlin in the mid-1990’s from a private owner in Southern California. It has not been confirmed, however, it was said that the person he purchased it from had bought it from Garth Hudson of The Band. While it was playable at the time, it hadn’t been well-maintained, so the new owner sought out original builder Richard Chamberlin, son of inventor Harry Chamberlin to refurbish and update the machine. It was sent to Richard’s So Cal shop in 1999 and he carefully mechanically restored it over about one year’s time during 1999-2000. It was delivered in June of 2000. He signed the inside of the case upon pickup at his workshop, and has remained in the owner’s personal smoke-free studio ever since. It has only been lightly used over the past 14 years as a recording instrument only, and the included road case facilitated delivery from the owner to Richard’s shop only. It has been carefully cared for and maintained ever since.
Richard’s mechanical refurbishments and adjustments included all NOS replacement parts all of which came from his SoCal workshop stock where the original instruments were made. Even the new aluminum pucks were made on the original lathe. Richard did the following mechanical refurbishments: demagnetized the drive shaft, new capstan pulley, replaced pressure pads with new felt, replaced a few key assembles that were worn out, new braces on keys as needed, adjusted all pressure pads and rollers, replaced tired pinch roller assemblies, replaced fatigued springs and nails, remade the selector system, installed a variable pitch control (not originally available), adjusted/replaced brass tape guides as needed Installed brand new side wood blocks (needed as the innards had been moved to accommodate the new motor), hand tooled a 440hz AND (spare) 446hz drive puck, installed new 4 post bracing system for the internal components (which upgraded the machine to 1980 bracing specs) and Richard installed a brand new drive motor.
After Richard executed this intensive refurbishment, a custom preamp was designed and installed. The stereo pre-amp was assembled around 2010 by Los Angeles engineer Paul DuGre and features a discrete op-amp DC servo circuit. He designed a clean top-plate with mini-toggles and simple volume/tone controls made by Apollo Engraving. It has 2 mono power supplies mounted in the front right.
Installed Tapes: The installed tapes are a custom set given to the previous owner by Chamberlin-ist Patrick Warren that he had originally made for himself. Patrick owns the Chamberlin tape masters and these are an essentially a new set, cut from that original master reel sold to him personally by Harry Chamberlin when he liquidated his business. These are vibey, loud and clean recordings on very good tape stock.
Currently installed sounds: 3 violins, Cello Flute, Steel, Guitar, Alto, Saxophone, Male Voice, Mandolins, Piano
Original tape set sounds: Male Vox, Female Vox, Trumpet, Trombone, 3 violins, Cello, Flute, Vibes, Mellotron
Archives sounds: Vibes, 3 Violins, Cello, Steel Guitar, Clarinet, Flute, Male Vox, Female Vox