Logan / Hohner String Melody

Hohner String Melody Image

The String Melody is an Italian string synthesizer from Logan Electronics, first released in 1973. At first, success was lukewarm as Logan Electronics was relatively unknown. But in 1977 a slightly updated ‘mark II’ model was released and Logan Electronics began to see some commercial success from the sales of this instrument. As a result, almost all String Melodies floating around out there today are the ‘mark II’ version, as the original is quite rare. Also of note: outside of Italy, the String Melody was distributed by Hohner International, so you will find them labeled either the Hohner or Logan String Melody.

There are three basic sounds available: ‘Violin’, ‘Viola’ and ‘Cello’. These three sounds are actually all the same sound, just in three different octaves. The keyboard is permanently split in the middle, with the lower half called Bass and the upper called Treble. There are three drawbar volume sliders for each of the three sounds in the Bass region (the red sliders), and another three sliders for the three sounds in the Treble region (the blue sliders). This allows you to mix in as much of each sound in either section of the keyboard as you want for some really customized string combinations!

But wait, there is more! There are another two additional sounds on-board: ‘Bass’ and ‘Perc’. These sounds are only available in the Bass region of the keyboard (the yellow sliders). The name of the ‘Perc’ sound is a little misleading though, as it is still a bass string sound—it’s just that it is a percussive sub-bass sound with a fast attack.

The only other control sliders are for two sets of Attack and Release (called ‘Sustain’ on the String Melody). One set controls the Bass region and the other allows for independent control of the Treble region. In back there is a single 1/4 inch mono audio output and a volume control pedal input. But that is it—no CV or Gate options here.

On the ‘mark I’ there is a button called ‘Orchestra’ which acts sort of like an ensemble effect Preset, recalling its own mix-levels and attack/decay settings in which all the tone sliders are at full volume. This is where the ‘mark II’ version differs from the original—it added four new ensemble effect Presets: ‘O’, ‘ACC.’, ‘SOLO’, and ‘ORGAN’. You must have at least one of these effect Presets on at all times - it uses those old-fashioned push buttons where engaging one button disengages whatever button was previously engaged, so at least one button is always engaged. The ‘O’ setting is a subtle chorus effect. The ‘ACC’ (Accordion) is the closest thing to no ensemble effect, leaving the strings sounding their driest. ‘SOLO’ is a vibrato-like effect with some chorusing. ‘ORGAN’ is a really nice chorus that’s almost phaser-like.

The String Melody is a pure string synth, and has a really great sound. Being Italian, it sounds quite different from similar types of string synths from Roland (Japan) and ARP (USA), and many would say the String Melody has the best sound of them all! It may not have as much editable flexibility as the others, but it sounds so good—it truly does what it was meant to do, and does it just right! It is built into a durable heavy flight-case with wood paneling, a handle, and even a cover! Considering that it is a niche instrument, they seem to maintain a relatively low second-hand market price. Which means if you can find one, you’d better jump at the chance to acquire it, because samples still can’t beat the real thing!

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23 Visitor comments
Nick
July 24, 2013 @ 8:25 pm
I would be grateful if someone could post some multi note samples of this synth on a few different settings. You don't even need to chop the notes up into multiple files, I can do that.
Buddy Freebury
February 25, 2013 @ 2:59 am
I have just discovered after reading this article that I own a Hohner MKI version although I have absolutely no intention of selling would be interested to know what sort of value it has for insurance reasons.
Alex
February 10, 2013 @ 2:06 am
The reason why the sliders are in "reverse" is because Logan is still thinking in organ terms, on organs with draw bars when you pull them towards you the sound gets louder , when you push them away the sound gets softer. It is kind of strange to do that with sliders though.
Monte
February 5, 2013 @ 12:03 pm
I bought one too but it seems that the ensemble effect is not working for some reason.
Micke
November 21, 2012 @ 1:46 pm
The Logan string melody has been used by Nick Magnus (with Autumn & Steve Hackett band), Claudio Simonetti/Goblin, Neuronium, Yello, IQ, Rational Youth, The Twins (German duo), Cosmic Overdose, The Enid (live), Hawkwind, David Ferguson/Random Hold, Kaipa, Lustans Lakejer and (early) New Musik.
 
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Rated 3.76 (229 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 49 notes
  • LFO - No user controls
  • Filter - None
  • Envelope - Attack / Decay (Sustain)
  • Effects - Ensemble effects (mkI has 1 ensemble effect; mkII has 5: O, ACC., SOLO, ORCH., and ORGAN)
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - 49 keys
  • Memory - None
  • Control - Volume Control Pedal input
  • Date Produced -
    mkI 1973 - 1976
    mkII 1977 -1980
  • Resources & Credits
  • Original images from Wikipedia

    Reviewed January 2011

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