Saturday, 18 June 2011

Ebay of the Day II

This one didn't stay on the bay for long. I first saw it on matrixsynth, and then it mysteriously got pulled with no bids.....

The Yamaha GX1 is supposed to be one of the best synths of all time, even though it was originally sold as part of their home organ range! This one has had three careful owners (John-Paul Jones, Keith Emmerson and Hanz Zimmer) and had a starting price of $25k

From the seller: "Here's your once-in-a-lifetime chance to own one of the most famous keyboards in rock-'n'-roll history: the storied Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer owned by John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), then Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer/Powell [ELP]), then Hans Zimmer (film composer). Seller acquired it directly from Hans Zimmer in 2003 (authenticated). Yamaha's original retail/list price for the GX-1 was US$60,000.

Provenance: John Paul Jones acquired it circa 1977/78 and used it on Led Zeppelin's album "In Through The Out Door." It was featured on tracks "In The Evening," "All My Love," "Carouselambra" and "I'm Gonna Crawl." On "All My Love," Jones performs a nice string arrangement, and the horn solo demonstrates the GX-1's expressive vibrato capabilities. On the final Led Zeppelin tours, Jones used the GX-1 as his primary keyboard, performing string, organ, clavinet and bass/synth. parts (see photo #3: Jones performing on GX-1 at the Knebworth, UK shows in '79; the last time the original foursome performed together before John Bonham's death). Jones called the GX-1 "a joy," which replaced his repair-prone Mellotron.

Keith Emerson acquired the GX-1 from Jones in the mid-'80s as a spare for Emerson's original GX-1 (used with ELP in the late '70s). Emerson cannibalized some of his original GX-1 for the benefit of this unit. He used this GX-1 most prominently on the "Emerson, Lake & Powell" album & tour in the late '80s, and in the music video of the title track of ELP's "Black Moon" reunion album in the early '90s (see photos #4 & #5; keyboard on top of GX-1 not included). "Emerson, Lake & Powell" tracks featuring this GX-1 include "Touch & Go" and his synth. rendition of Holst's "Mars: Bringer Of War." Emerson sold the GX-1 to renowned film composer Hans Zimmer in the mid-'90s, who sampled various sounds on it (see photo #6: GX-1 in Zimmer's studio; Moog modular not included). The GX-1 was also used for recording sessions by musicians including Erik Norlander on his "Threshold" album. (Note: Keith Emerson's Wikipedia entry is incorrect: his original GX-1 [painted black] was sold to a European collector, and this unit was sold to Zimmer, then to the Seller)

This auction is for the: keyboard/console (including programmable cartridges; see photo #9), separate ultra-rare Programmer Module (see photo #11), and original Anvil-style case (used by Jones, Emerson, Zimmer and the Seller). Sale does NOT include: the GX-1's bench/pedal section, two TX-II speakers, and the programmable cartridges for the Pedal section only (which were not included when Seller acquired it).

It works, but after playing it for a while, it sometimes makes a noise and must be turned off and then turned back on. Being sold "as is." Seller can refer Buyer to several qualified GX-1 technicians. [Minor] tuning/calibrating will probably be required after shipment. Copies of any manuals (User/Technical/Service/etc.), brochures and other GX-1 information Seller has will be included. Has balanced outputs (see labeled photo #12), which may be custom. John Paul Jones had the switches/LED panel added (over the Electone logo area), which may be disconnected (appear to have no effect anymore).

Secure payment method negotiable with Buyer (Seller does not want to incur ANY credit card merchant/electronic payment fees, except possibly for a small negotiable deposit). Balance payable in advance or upon pick-up. Given size/weight, Buyer must arrange for pick-up & transportation (Seller won't ship); for example, Buyer may wish to use a professional music gear freight firm like SoundMoves (unit is presently in the San Francisco Bay Area).

Bona fide Buyers may Contact Seller with questions using eBay's Message feature. Seller will post relevant Q&A. SERIOUS BUYERS WITH ESTABLISHED, EXCELLENT EBAY FEEDBACK ONLY. (Unless you have the money to buy this item, then please don't inquire!)

Comprehensive information is available on the Web about the Yamaha GX-1, its features & technical specifications, etc. For example, Google "Yamaha GX-1 OR GX1" or "John Paul Jones GX-1 OR GX1"

Here's some miscellaneous information:
- only about 27-30 GX-1's were ever manufactured and/or sold (unit's Serial Number is 0076)
- the most powerful polyphonic synthesizer in history at the time
- 3 keyboards (2 standard manuals; 1 solo manual); volume pedal; retractable knee vibrato controller
- unheard of levels of touch control (touch/velocity-sensitive, polyphonic aftertouch, etc.)
- approx. outer dimensions of keyboard console 63"(L) x 31"(W) x 46"(H)
- top area (where other keyboards can be placed) is about 60"(L) x 10"(W)
- weight in Anvil-style road case is about/over 1,000 pounds
- was the basis for Yamaha's popular CS-80/etc. synthesizers

Bid now! Seize this opportunity to acquire a piece of music history!"

Ebay of the Day

Check out this beautiful vintage phaser that just sold on the bay. It fetched a surprising £698. This is the legendary phaser used on all your favorite kraut-rock records

Here's what the seller said: "This is one of the most famous effects units that were produced in the 70´s. The Compact Phasing "A" was made in Berlin by Gerhardt Schulte, and this thing was heavily used by Krautrock bands and electronic musicians not only in Germany: Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Oskar  Sala,  Jon Lord, Rubycon, J.M. Jarre, Pink Floyd...

It´s possible to use it in a very subtle way, but it´s more interesting when you play with knobs to get more deep, dramatic and esoteric tones

This is the rare white version which i bought some years ago from the first owner. The thing is in very good condition and comes with the original footswitch. You need the switch to get the Leslie-like brake sounds as you can start and stop the LFO with it"

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Paper Face

I have just supplied pictures of my Serge Modular system to Ken Stone, he of Catgirlsynth fame. He is into the early (pre-STS era) Serge synths, which are easily recognised by their paper-faced and laminated modules. So he has put together a website which is a growing resource for these rare and beautiful beasts, with pictures of known systems, catalogs, manuals and stuff

If you have any pictures and info about other Serge paper-faces get in touch with Ken via his site

I posted before about Ken's system here

Below are pictures of:

My system
A 1974 system
Ken Stones's system
Maki Hanada's system
Don Hassler's system