List of keytars

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Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater playing a Zen Riffer keytar alongside guitarist John Petrucci

A keytar is a keyboard or synthesizer hung around the neck and shoulders, similar to a guitar.

List of keytars[edit]

  • [no grip] ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ — keyboard model without control grip.
  • [opt grip] ^ ^ — keyboard model with optional control grip.
Dates Model Type I/F Notes
1795 Orphica[1] acoustic piano a portable miniature piano in horizontal harp form.
1963 Weltmeister Basset[2] electric bass piano using struck reed an electric piano bass, similar to Hohner Bass or Rhodes PianoBass, used by dance bands in East Germany probably late 1960s.
1966 Joh Mustad Tubon [de][3]
(in the UK: Livingston)[4]
electronic bass organ tube-shaped monophonic electronic keyboard instrument with guitar strap.
Used by Ralf Hütter of Kraftwerk on the album Kraftwerk (1970),[4][5] Swedish and Finnish bands during the 1970s, including Lådan.[6]
1977 Hillwood Rockeyboard RB-1[7] synth piano with VCF & volume pedals[7] influenced by Edgar Winter's style of hanging a keyboard from a neck.
Used by Haruo Chikada (The Vibratones).
1977[8] Powell Probe controller (CV/Gate) Roger Powell's keytar by Royalex
1979 PMS Syntar[9] synthesizer (CV/Gate) an earliest synthesizer keytar product, prior to the Moog Liberation in 1980
1980 Davis Clavitar controller (CV/Gate) used by George Duke, Herbie Hancock in 1980.
1980 Moog Liberation synthesizer CV/Gate
1980 Royalex Probe controller (CV/Gate) Jan Hammer's keytar by Royalex, ca. 1980.
19821982 Dynacord Rhythm Stick (Jamma)[10] percussion controller MIDI & CV/Gate used by Michael Jackson (1996-7), Billy Ocean, Sabrina Salerno (1988), Manu Katche, and Curt Cress.[11]
1982 Roland SH-101[opt grip] synthesizer CV/Gate control grip was optional.
1982 Sequential Circuits Remote Prophet controller SCB controller for Prophet-5 synthesizer using proprietary serial interface.[12] Used by Geoffrey Downes of ASIA and Dave Stewart.
1982 Yamaha CS01[no grip] synthesizer with optional breath controller BC1 or BC2 CV/Gate used by Chick Corea in the early 1980s.
1983 Yamaha KX1 controller MIDI used by Herbie Hancock in 1983, George Duke in 1983.
1983 Korg Poly-800[no grip] synthesizer MIDI
1983c. 1983 Yamaha CS01II synthesizer with optional breath controller BC1 or BC3 CV/Gate
1984c. 1984 Korg Poly-800 MkII[no grip] synthesizer MIDI
1984 Casio CZ-101[no grip] synthesizer MIDI a medium size keyboard with strap pins
1984 Korg RK-100 controller MIDI
1984 Yamaha KX5 controller MIDI a medium depth keyboard
1985 Lync LN1 (The Lync) controller MIDI
1985 Roland AXIS controller MIDI
1985 Yamaha DX100[no grip] synthesizer MIDI a mini keyboard with strap pins
1986 Casio AZ-1 controller MIDI
1986 Siel DK70[opt grip] synthesizer MIDI control grip was optional
1987 Korg 707[no grip] synthesizer MIDI a synthesizer with strap pins
1987 Yamaha SHS-10 electronic keyboard MIDI
1987c. 1987 Tyco HotKeyz toy keyboard a toy keyboard
1988 Lync LN4 controller MIDI also Jan Hammer signature model existed.
1988 Yamaha SHS-200 electronic keyboard MIDI
1989 Tsumura JD21[13] percussion controller MIDI
1990 Lync LN1000 controller MIDI
1990c. 1990 Formanta Mini synthesizer (MIDI)
1991 Junost 21 synthesizer (MIDI)
1992c. 1992[14] Baldoni MIDI Accord[15] accordion controller ? MIDI Strap-on keyboard controller in the keytar style, with the chromatic buttons on the left-hand, and piano keyboard on the right-hand.[16][17]
1993 Roland AX-1 controller MIDI
1994 Zendrum percussion controller (MIDI)
1995 The Drumstick percussion controller (MIDI) used by E. Dr. Smith[18]
2000c. 2000 Suzuki MK-3600
electronic keyboard MIDI a keyboard for marching band
2000 Lag LeKey controller (MIDI)
2001 Roland AX-7 controller MIDI
2002c. 2002 Casio SA-75 electronic keyboard MIDI a mini electronic keyboard with handsfree microphone and strap pins
2007c. 2007 Zen Riffer Solo Axe controller (MIDI)
2008 Behringer UMA25S[no grip] controller USB & MIDI
2009 Roland AX-Synth synthesizer USB & MIDI
2009 Stoneboard controller MIDI
2010 Politrep[no grip] controller MIDI
2010 Roland Lucina AX-09 synthesizer USB & MIDI
2010 Mad Catz Rock Band 3 Wireless Pro Keyboard controller & video game controller MIDI & console specific
2012 Alesis Vortex controller USB & MIDI
2014 Alesis Vortex Wireless controller USB & MIDI first keytar with wireless USB connection to a PC or laptop
2014 Korg RK-100S synthesizer USB & MIDI used by Rick Astley in 2016
2017 Yamaha Vocaloid Keyboard synthesizer USB,[19] Bluetooth LE[20] To be released in "Winter 2017".[21] First wearable prototype in 2014;[21] limited rental available in 2015 [22]
2018 Alesis Vortex Wireless 2 controller USB & MIDI
2018 Roland AX-Edge synthesizer USB, MIDI, Bluetooth LE
2019 Behringer MS-101 synthesizer USB & MIDI Clone of the original 1982 Roland SH-101
2019 Yamaha Sonogenic SHS-500 electronic keyboard USB, MIDI, Bluetooth LE Built-in speaker
2019 Yamaha Sonogenic SHS-300 electronic keyboard USB Built-in speaker
2018 Yamaha Vocaloid VKB-100 electronic keyboard USB, MIDI, Bluetooth LE Built-in speaker
2020 Korg RK-100S 2 synthesizer USB & MIDI Wooden body and new programs

Custom/rare keytars[edit]

Rare keytar products[edit]

Drum/Percussion keytars[edit]

  • Dynacord Rhythm Stick (also known as "Jamma" since 1982) [10]
  • Tsumura JD21 [13]
  • Drumitar / Zendrum (2008)
  • "Riday T91"

Custom made keytars[edit]

In alphabetical order:

Customized keytars[edit]

Based on minimoog keyboards
Based on Yamaha KX series
Based on Roland AX series


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Orphica (?Vienna, c. 1805)". Centre for Performance History, Royal College of Music. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  2. ^ "Weltmeister Basset". Archived from the original on 2002-03-22.
  3. ^ "Joh Mustad AB Tubon (1966, Sweden)". Stockholm Music and Theatre Museum. Archived from the original on 2012-04-22.
  4. ^ a b "The 'Tubon' Joh Mustad AB, Sweden, 1966". 120 Years of Electronic Music ( 9 February 2014. The instrument was manufactured by in 1966 by the Swedish manufacturer of electronic tube organs, Joh Mustad AB, in Gothenburg, Sweden and also sold under license in the UK as the 'Livingstone'. Very few of the instruments were sold outside of Sweden but one was purchased by Paul McCartney ( the original score for 'Strawberry Fields Forever' includes a Tubon intro which was replaced by a Chamberlin on the final recording) and by Ralf Hutter of Kraftwerk in the early 1970s.
    See also: photographs of Paul playing Tubon 1, 2 (at the Schloss Hotel in Hamburg, during The Beatles' last world tour), Tubon part score of "Strawberry Fields Forever".
  5. ^ Sean Albiez; David Pattie, eds. (January 2011). "Kraftwerk (1970)". Kraftwerk: Music Non-Stop. A&C Black (published 2011). pp. 100–101. ISBN 978-1-4411-9136-6. It is also worth mentioning the use of phasing and the application of ring modulator effects to the keyboard's Tubon sound, which gives the music an industrial quality.
  6. ^ "Lådan: Va i helvete har dom för sig inne i banken efter tre?". YouTube.
  7. ^ a b "Rockeyboard RB-1". Hillwood Keyboard / Synthesizer Catalog 1977. Hillwood Musical Instrument/Zen-On. Archived from the original on 2012-06-08. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  8. ^ "Blog: The Keytar - A Brief History". Sonicstate. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  9. ^ James D. Maier. "The Performance Music Systems Syntar".
  10. ^ a b "The Jamma & Dynacord Rhythm Stick official site". — including the stories, photographs, videos, technical stuffs and manuals (see below).
    • Dynacord Rhythm Stick MIDI - operating manual. Dynacord.
    • UK application 8,423,427, Jones Peter Stephab (Dynacord Electronic-Und Geratebau GmbH & Co.), "A Music Synthesizer, Especially Portable Drum Synthesizer", published 1984-09-17  (EP 0195038 A1 (published on 1986-09-24), WO 8601927 A1)
    • US patent 4,867,028, Peter S. Jones (Dynacord Electronic-Und Geratebau GmbH & Co.), "Music Synthesizer Especially Portable Drum Synthesizer", issued 1989-09-19  (a continuation of co-pending application Ser. No. 871,442, filed as PCT EP85/01927 on Mar. 22, 1986, now abandoned.)
  11. ^ Graham, Alex (2019). Electronic Drumfax. self-published. pp. 121, 122. ISBN 978-1701024229.
  12. ^ Reid, Gordon (March 1999). "Sequential Circuits – Prophet Synthesizers 5 & 10 (Retro)". Sound on Sound. Archived from the original on 3 February 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "JD21 official manual" (in Japanese). Tsumura Inc.
  14. ^ Kozak, Donald P. (1992). A Guide to Computer Music: An Electronic Music Resource. Sound Management. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-9621514-2-2. Manufactured by Baldoni MIDI Accord
  15. ^ "n/a". Electronic Musician. Vol. 11, no. 1. 1995. p. 8. ... I know of at least one other company : Baldoni Accordions . They make a whole line of acoustic and MIDI accordions , including the MIDI - Accord (a strap-on keyboard controller with ...)
  16. ^ Accordion Videos And Links (2014-07-07). "BALDONI Midi Accord". Facebook. BALDONI Midi Accord. Styled as a portable keyboard controller, the Midi Accord gives the feel and performance of an accordion. Features include a 41 note velocity keyboard, 9 channel midi transmission w/ programmable midi program & volume per channel, 256 patch memory, and +/- 12 note transposition. The keyboard can transmit on 3 poly midi channels + a 4th mono (high note priority) channel, chords on 2 midi channels, and bass on 1 midi channel. A separate midi channel can be assigned for rhythm machine as well. A master volume pedal is included with up/down type switch controls for patch changes.
    See also a photo.
  17. ^ Liberty Bellows (2017). 2336 - Blue Baldoni Midi Accord Keytar Accordion 41 120 $1195 [Demo] (demo video). Baldoni Midi Accord / Digital Piano Accordion 19" 41/120 7lbs / Reedless, Electronic Presets / Requires amp and midi module (sold separately) / Includes Strap and Soft Case
  18. ^ Smith, E. "The Drumstick". Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  19. ^ Yamaha Corporation. "VKB-100 - 仕様". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  20. ^ Yamaha Corporation. "VKB-100 - Apps". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  21. ^ a b Yamaha Corporation (31 August 2017). "VOCALOID Keyboard" (in Japanese). Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  22. ^ Yamaha Corporation. "JOYSOUNDでVOCALOID KEYBOARDと歌おう!" (in Japanese). Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Jeri Ellsworth Rocks a Commodore 64 Keytar". Make:zine. 19 May 2012. Archived from the original on 2016-04-18.
  24. ^ Jan Hammer playing Cruder in 1970s. (photo).