Effectology Vol: 8
Telstar (The Clavioline)
“Telstar” is a 1962 instrumental written and produced by the legendary Joe Meek.
The record was performed by The Tornados. It was the first single by a British band to reach Number One on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and was also a Number One hit in the UK. The record was named after the AT&T communications satellite Telstar, which went into orbit in July 1962.
The record featured a Clavioline, a very early analog synthesizer keyboard built with vacuum tubes.
The Clavioline has a unmistakable sound all its own.
Joe Meek’s Telstar was one of the first pop hits to feature a synthesizer.
Our track starts with a rocket lift-off. The sound was produced by slapping the strings of a compressed guitar near the bridge. This creates a huge explosive impulse within the Cathedral reverb.
The reverb was held in the infinite mode and processed by a MicroSynth. The MicroSynth distorted the reverb with a slow rising fliter sweep to give the sound a VERY loud rumble like a real rocket passing a microphone.
The outer space sounds and Morse code were done with a Poly Chorus in self-oscillation by turning the feedback up to 100%.
The Clavioline chain and settings are below:
The backing rhythm drum-like track was done using the white noise of a big Muff into a square wave tremolo of a Pulsar. The Big Muff uses a dummy plug in the input jack to turn the unit on without a guitar connected to it.
The IBM random note generator at the end of the video was done by hitting random notes on the guitar neck with the right hand.
The chain and settings are below:
The bass sound was the MicoSynth with the Sub Octave up and the stop Freq slider up a very small amount.
All other faders are down.
All sounds were done recording direct without a guitar amp. Adjust your amp and its tone controls for a clean flat or neutral sound when using the settings above.
Thanks for listening,